Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Visual Studies
I work across a wide array of cultural texts, objects, and spaces. Beyond writing and teaching, my work includes translation, curating, and diverse forms of collaboration. I have published and taught widely on French and Francophone (Caribbean and African) literature and film, on Marxist and postcolonial theory, and on contemporary art and emerging media practice by artists in Africa and its global diaspora. My research on photography in West Africa includes over a dozen years of collaboration with artists, curators, and museum and heritage professionals in the region. Major projects include a new book, Unfixed: Photography and Decolonial Imagination in West Africa (Duke University Press, 2020); the 3PA: West African Image Lab, a workshop to support preservation in African photography collections, in Porto-Novo, Benin (2014); and Contemporary Africa on Screen (C.A.O.S.), a year-long curatorial program focused on film, video, and performance at the South London Gallery (2010-11). My new research looks at representations of migrants and migration in contemporary Europe.
Prior to teaching at Hampshire, I was senior lecturer in cultural studies at Goldsmiths College, in London, England; since 2013 I have been a research associate in the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre in the Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
I welcome advising requests from students working in all fields of the humanities and in cultural and visual studies. I am particularly eager to support students working on literature and experimental writing in comparative and cross-cultural contexts, photography, film, and visual studies; those whose work is informed by Marxism, postcolonial theory, African studies, and Black studies approaches; and practitioners whose work incorporates theoretical questions or historical research, regardless of medium.
This course will examine questions of race and representation through contemporary art, literature, and visual and cultural theory. Students will consider the complex and intertwined histories of race and representation across a range of media and genres (painting, photography, film, video and new media art, performance, short fiction, spoken word, and poetry), periods, and cultural spaces. Critical and theoretical readings will span colonial and postcolonial contexts; engage with Orientalism, primitivism, Tricontinentalism, indigenous futurism, and Black feminist philosophy; and be drawn from art history, media theory, postcolonial theory, and thinkers taking intersectional approaches to race in both visual and literary studies. Students will also be introduced to current debates about the "inherent racism" of photography, the politics of abstraction, and data healing.
How we look is shaped by history, culture, and technology. Learning to look is therefore always necessary. It is also a never-ending process, requiring radical attention and care. This course will explore how we learn to look through contemporary art and critical readings in art history, visual studies, and arts writing, with a focus on experimental forms: digital and interactive media, social practice, sousveillance, and interventions in the borderscape or in public space (occupations, strike art, work in refugee camps). Weekly writing assignments will invite students to hone description and analysis and other arts writing skills. Students in "Learning to Look" will collaborate with those in other Media and Technology and In/Justice LC-seminars who will be asking about the ethics of digital art-making and studying representations of contemporary migration and border politics.
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The desire to save our planet from imminent destruction is shared by growing numbers of people all over the world. Yet debates about climate change, environmental disaster, mass extinction, and possible solutions to them continue to be framed by discourses that have their roots in capitalist, imperialist, and patriarchal worldviews. This course examines critical and creative approaches to sustainability and extinction that challenge us to go beyond these frames. Through readings in philosophy, literature, art, environmental humanities, and social science, we will look at histories, thought systems, and imagined worlds that teach us to understand the past, present, and future of the planet differently and that offer radical new possibilities for imagining what Anna Tsing calls "the promise of cohabitation," or life on earth. Topics to include ecofeminism, queer ecologies, and global indigeneity; climate apartheid, resource wars, and the climate refugee; regenerative agriculture, food justice, and sustainability in prisons.