Join us on Thursday 23 May from 2-4pm in Lecture Rm 1 for this month's research seminar, featuring the following two presentations:
Dr Janice McRandal (Charles Sturt University):
Dissident Prayer: On 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf'
Ntozake Shange’s choeropoem, 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf,' is a series poetic monologues accompanied by dance movements. It has appeared off Broadway, on Broadway, as a television film, and as a theatrical film. For Shange, this work is a way into the enmeshment of bodies in words and words embodied. Her dance makes words untameable, untenable, and unimaginable without her body—her hips swaying to the music that transform her epistemology. It is an embodied experience not unlike (but also not like) the ecstatic prayers of the mystics.
This paper will explore 'For Colored Girls…' as a discourse of prayer. This prayer is both a kinetic and a kenotic act, a dissident way out of this binary between norming concepts (i.e words) and appropriated bodies. Perhaps through this kind of discourse / dancing we might learn how to form a dissident prayer: a prayer of insurrection.
Dr Peter Kline (St Francis College):
God is Blackness: Mysticism of the Unowned Earth
This essay seeks to experiment with thinking theologically from blackness, which is to say, thinking theologically from the thought of abolition. Any theology forged from the thought of blackness will be post-metaphysical insofar as slavery is not simply a political or economic institution but an entire onto-theo-metaphysic, one that divinizes sovereignty and ownership. The slave-owning free man could be said to bear all those ontological distinctives whose perfect instantiation is God, above all, freedom and self-possession, freedom as self-possession. The abolition of slavery and its afterlives (the multiple ways in which black bodies continue to be spatialized and temporalized for premature death) therefore calls for the abolition of the ontotheological God and the subject whose perfection he is. This need not simply amount to a denial or repression of God, but may lead, more profoundly, to an unowning of God, inseparable form an unowning of the earth. What would it mean for theology to acknowledge the precedence and priority of blackness as prior to the logos of any possible theos? Perhaps it means that theology, against its historical performance of policing the earth, might be given to think, even celebrate, the abolition of whiteness as the unowning of the earth. That is the possibility this essay seeks to open.
All are welcome.