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GCSC KNL | Prof. Harding: "The Invisible Vanguard: Reflections on Borders, Refugees, and Contemporary Avant-Garde Formations."


Jun 21, 2022 from 06:00 to 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


GCSC (MFR) & Online (BBB)

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At the most basic level, my paper explores the concept of “invisibility” as a key register for a viable theory of contemporary political and artistic avant-gardes. In this respect, it does not take the existence of any contemporary avant-garde for granted as present or visible. Instead, I argue that that very idea of a contemporary avant-garde and a corresponding discourse for it must be distilled from contemporary political struggles and I suggest that in both the U.S. and in Europe those political struggles tend to be about recognition of those who are undocumented and who press over the borders (both physical and cultural) of accepted understanding of the nation-state. As their numbers increase, I argue, so does their political and cultural potential. But as undocumented, they remain an unrecognized and hence invisible avant-garde.

The keynote lecture will be followed by a conversation with Prof. Dr. Bojana Kunst (JLU/GCSC), Prof. Dr. Gerald Siegmund (JLU/GCSC) and Tatsiana Artsimovich (GCSC).

On-site event open to the public without prior registration. To join the lecture event online, please register here.

// Prof. Dr. James MHarding (University of Maryland, School of Theatre, Dance, & Performance Studies) is an internationally known scholar whose work focuses on political activism and the arts, the history of experimental theatre, theatre in the 1960s, post 9/11 theatre and performance, the intersection of surveillance and performance, and on performance studies more generally. His most recent monograph is entitled PerformanceTransparency and the Cultures of Surveillance (Michigan, 2018). He is the author of three previous monographs: The Ghosts of the Avant-Garde(s)Exorcising Experimental Theatre and Performance (Michigan, 2013), Cutting PerformancesCollage EventsFeminist Artists and the American Avant-Garde (Michigan, 2010), and Adorno and "A Writing of the Ruins": Essays on Modern Aesthetics and Anglo-American Literature and Culture (SUNY, 1997).