Concluding the 2015-16 speaker series sponsored by the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men, Marcela Romero Rivera and Rob Maclean will explore the theme “Gender, Climate, and the Anthropocene” and its connections to race, class and art on Wednesday, April 13.
Since atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen popularized the term in 2000, the “Anthropocene” has become a political marker, designating the epoch in which human actions began to have geologic impact. During the 2015-16 academic year, the Fisher Center has been investigating the gendered dimensions of the Anthropocene; considering where we are geologically as a species; raising up the movements and creative responses crucial to politics in the Anthropocene; and highlighting local activism and mapping the global terrain of the current struggle for climate justice.
A Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Romero Rivera will discuss the violent effect of Mexico’s neoliberal economic program and the ways in which artists like Natalia Almada and Teresa Margolles shed light on “indexical traces” of this violence as it is inscribed on individual bodies and the social tissue. In “The Creaturely Archive: Women Artists Document the Mexican (Un)Dead,” Rivera will focus on Almada’s film “El General” (2009) — about her notoriously violent great-grandfather, former Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles — and Margolles’s two installations (“Vaporización” (2001) and “La promesa” (2012)) in which she atomizes the materiality of the human body and an abandoned house, respectively, to create uncanny landscapes that put their public in direct contact with the creaturely.
Maclean’s talk, “Black Life Matters: On the Black Radical Imagination and the Anthropocene,” traces the “Black Lives Matter” movement from its social media roots in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in the late spring of 2012, through the movement’s intense media scrutiny and political contestation today. A Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellow, Maclean will explore the implications of the symbolic power conveyed by the assertion that black life (in America and in general) matters, by staging a dialogue between the turn toward the Anthropocene in recent academic discourse and the critical theorization of the “human” enacted in the black radical tradition.
The talks will begin at 7 p.m. in the Fisher Center, Demarest Hall Room 212.
The Fisher Center brings together faculty, students, and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. Building upon their long-held commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education for men and women, both separately and together, Hobart and William Smith Colleges established (in 1998) the Fisher Center to support curricular, programmatic, and scholarly projects which address the question: How do we more nearly realize, through our educational program, scholarship, and presence in the larger community, our democratic ideals of equity, mutual respect, and common interest in relations between men and women?