The Contemporary: On Branding Blackness | Lucas Williams, Ph.D. Candidate, MTL on Simone Brown & Hank Willis Thomas
The session will focus on "Branding Blackness" through the writing of Simone Brown and the artist Hank Willis Thomas. In a conversation led by Lucas Williams, we will discuss the relationship between commercial branding and racial identity. Through examples that range from the physical branding of slaves during the transatlantic slave trade to depictions of Blackness in popular culture, the workshop will explore how "branding," in its various forms, contributes to the commodification of the racial subject.
RECOMMENDED READING / VIEWING:
Simone Brown, "Branding Blackness," from Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, pp. 89-129 *Duke UP, 2015
Hank Willis Thomas, "Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008," X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal, 2008
Lucas Williams' (PhD Candidate, Modern Thought & Literature) research explores what it means to think with (and through) the body. He draws upon the rich traditions of Black Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and African American Literature—fields that have long thought about embodied experience—to augment his research. Williams is especially interested in the mutable definitions of 'body,' 'movement,' and power in the contemporary moment. His interests are reflected in his continuing dance practice, where he explores similar questions.