The Rock Ethics Institute

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Job Talk - Stripped to the Bone: Sequencing Queerness in the Comic Strip Work of Joe Brainard and David Wojnarowicz
by Rob Peeler published Feb 03, 2017 last modified Feb 03, 2017 11:09 AM — filed under:
In this talk, I develop a queer theory of comics strip form by exploring the comics work of mixed-media artists Joe Brainard and David Wojnarowicz. Both New York residents of lower Manhattan at key moments in the development of contemporary U.S. queer culture—gay liberation and the AIDS crisis respectively—Brainard and Wojnarowicz showed artistic affinity with the comics medium throughout their short-lived but prodigious careers in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early 1970s, Brainard adopted the classic comic strip character Nancy in a series of paper works that functioned as enlarged comic strips; in these panels, Brainard depicted Nancy in a variety of radical sexual and social positions (as transgendered, high on drugs, performing in a pornographic movie, and much more) that allowed viewers to imagine a traditionally American icon as a potentially queer one inhabiting multiple, non-synchronous identities. Little more than a decade later, in David Wojnarowicz’s graphic memoir, 7 Miles a Second (1988-1993), the artist and his collaborators James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, used the visual disjoint between comic strip panels to formally dramatize the experience of social alienation and physical pain associated with being a queer person with AIDS. Through a historically situated close reading of these two works, I show how Brainard and Wojnarowicz each deployed the formal codes of the comics medium to articulate emergent affective orientations towards transformations in alternative sexual cultures; consequently, I argue for an understanding of comic strip sequence as a formal expressions of modern queer sexuality as an unpredictable unfolding of countless erotic possibilities.
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Brown Bag Series - Beyond White Privilege: Geographies of White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism
by Rob Peeler published Jan 03, 2017 last modified Jan 24, 2017 01:52 PM — filed under:
This presentation builds from scholarship on whiteness and white privilege to argue for an expanded focus that includes settler colonialism and white supremacy. Specifically, Dr. Inwood will argue that engaging with white supremacy and settler colonialism reveals the enduring social, economic, and political impacts of white supremacy as a materially grounded set of practices that continues to frame the making of space and place in the United States. As a result, he will situate white supremacy not as an artifact of history or as an extreme position, but rather as the foundation for the continuous unfolding of practices of race and racism within settler states. Finally, he will illustrate this framework through a recent example of a land dispute in the American West.
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