Natalie Melas: Creole Modernism? On Aimé Césaire and Wifredo Lam
from 18:00 to 20:00
|Where||Alter Steinbacher Weg 38, GCSC-Gebäude, R. 001|
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Against a model of singular and unilinear diffusionism, social theorists have proposed that we approach global modernity by understanding European modernity itself not as 'self-producing, self-referential system' but rather as 'part of a world system' and thus in dynamic, even dialectical tension with the peripheries it has produced (Dussel). Yet a model of diffusionism and unidirectional "influence" persists in comparative studies of artistic and literary modernism in the humanities, with "indigenization" as the governing concept. A critique, or style, or disposition is born in Europe, travels to the colonial periphery usually through an elite intellectual and there eventually mixes with local forms and becomes indigenized. This lecture will explore instead the idea of creolization and "transculturation" as concepts adequate to a modernism in sync with the dynamic tension of modernity as a world system and with the political edge of anticolonial modernist experimentation. My primary focus will be on the chance encounter of two pre-eminent anti-colonial artists in the Caribbean of the early 1940s, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire and Cuban painter Wifredo Lam.