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GUEST ARTIST TALK: "Ornamentalism, Aesthetic Being" with Anne Cheng (Princeton University)

How does retrieving the ornamental logic of Orientalism impact how we think about race, personhood, and modernism? This talk offers a historiography of the minute and suggests that the superfluous ornament is often the surprising site where the stakes of modern personhood are negotiated. Advancing the concept “ornamentalism,” Professor Cheng explores how in the theater of race-making "personhood" is assembled, not through biopolitics but through synthetic inventions and designs, not through corporeal embodiment but through the performance of metonymic attachments. This talk thus tracks the critical labor of ornament at the intersection of beauty and terror, immateriality and corporeality, life and privation across a wide range of domains.
About Anne ChengAnne Cheng is Professor of English and of the Center for African American Studies, Co-Director of the Program in American Studies, and affiliated with the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She specializes in race studies, aesthetic theory, film and psychoanalytic theories, working primarily with twentieth-century American literature with special focus on Asian American and African American literatures. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Assimilation, Psychoanalysis, and Hidden Grief (Oxford University Press) and Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface (Oxford University). Cheng received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at Princeton, her Masters in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University of California at Berkeley.



Thursday, April 9, 2015. 04:00 PM


Prosser Studio in Memorial Hall


Stanford Department of Theater + Performance Studies


Free & Open to the Public