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Rick Rambuss (English) will talk on “Comus Does Comus: Milton’s Masque Comes to Mardi Gras.”
Rick writes: “If we were to allow for a version of Milton’s antisensualist masque known as Comus from the sensualist Comus’s point of view, what might it look like? I propose a materialist answer in heading to New Orleans, where in 1906 the secret society Mardi Gras organization named the Mistick Krewe of Comus feted its fiftieth anniversary by staging an artful 20-float nocturnal public parade and masked society ball on The Masque of Comus. The group’s foundational aim was to reform and culturally elevate a European Catholic holiday seen to have become distasteful and dissolute in multicultural New Orleans. English Renaissance literature, particularly Milton’s poetry, provided Comus’s thematic playbook. Its carnivalization of Comus plays upon and redoubles the masque’s many structuring inversions and conversions. The men of the Mistick Krewe also refashion Comus himself, making him a son more “properly” like his festive father Bacchus than his dangerous sorceress mother Circe.”
Presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.
Oct8Virtual12:00pm - 1:30pm
October 8, 2021 | 12 pm (EDT) / 6 pm (SAST)
As Sylvia Wynter suggested nearly three decades ago, a radical rethinking of the category of aesthetics is a crucial, if woefully neglected, task for all of us who have been given to the refusal of modern catastrophe. This conversation between Denise Ferreira da Silva, Rizvana Bradley, Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Segar (of the Otolith Group), Jota Mombaça, and Gabi Ngcobo coincides with an experimental collaboration between Da Silva and Bradley, “Four Theses on Aesthetics,” published in the September issue of e-flux.
Building upon Bradley’s inquiries into the racially gendered labor concealed within the putatively autonomous totality of the work of art, and upon Da Silva’s critique of the modern principles of “separability, determinacy, and sequentiality,” Da Silva and Bradley’s essay deconstructs the framework of aesthetic judgement that has predominated since Kant. Endeavoring to rethink the relationship of the aesthetic to the organization of the modern world, “Four Theses on Aesthetics” sketches the contours of an alternative theory of Blackness, aesthetics, and the work of art.
This Sojourner Project session on aesthetics enters into the fray of these difficult problematics as a point of speculative departure, in the hopes of collectively contributing to the ongoing dissolution of the boundaries between philosophy, artistic experimentation, and abolitionist praxis.
Hosted by the Cogut Institute’s Black Visualities Initiative under the leadership of Tina Campt, and presented collaboratively with the Centre for the Study of Race, Gender & Class (RGC) at the University of Johannesburg and Art for Humanity at Durban University of Technology, with the support of the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM).
Join Sarah Schulman for a talk and conversation about her new book, LET THE RECORD SHOW: A Political History of ACT UP, New York 1987-1993, published this year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today’s activists, LET THE RECORD SHOW is a revelatory exploration—and long-overdue reassessment—of the coalition’s inner workings, conflicts, achievements, and ultimate fracture.
In advance of this event, it is recommended that you explore the history of ACT UP through the documentary film United in Anger, directed by Jim Hubbard (2014). The movie, through archival footage and insightful interviews of grassroots activities, takes the viewer through the planning and execution of a half dozen exhilarating major actions while revealing the group’s complex culture.
Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, and AIDS historian. She is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, and serves on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace.
The series “Democracy: A Humanities Perspective” is convened by Amanda Anderson, Director of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities. Through both the format and the content, we aim to showcase the forms of layered understanding and analysis that humanities scholars bring to the study of democracy, with special emphasis on current challenges in the U.S. and abroad. The events are free and open to the public.
Paola Bertucci is associate professor of history at Yale University. She has published extensively on the public culture of science in eighteenth-century Europe, and is the author of prize-winning essays on secrecy, selective visibility, and industrial travel in the Enlightenment.
Open to the public. Presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.
Daniel Strum’s research analyzes the mechanisms that promoted honesty and diligence in overseas commercial relations in the early modern sugar trade linking Iberia, Brazil and the Netherlands. He is currently working on a book project that highlights the coevolution of plural legal systems, transnational professional reputation mechanisms, and social constraints within diasporas (Sephardim in particular) against the backdrop of the Atlantic imperial rivalries and religious confessionalization. It explains how and why merchants chose different mechanisms to govern distinct types of transactions.
More information coming soon.
Presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World