Black Individuation

Clemens Apprich
Fine Arts and Media Art, Media Theory
2022W, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04310

Description

Starting from Frantz Fanon’s famous as well as cryptic statement that “[t]here is a zone of nonbeing, an extraordinarily sterile and arid region, an incline stripped bare of every essential from which a genuine new departure can emerge” (Black Skin, White Masks, 2008: xii), this seminar will explore zones of nonbeing with regards to contemporary media cultures. Blackness, in this context, can be seen as a kind of nonbeing, constituted by an endless conceptual plasticity and anachronism that works on blackened people to limit their access to the category of the human and its attendant forms of security. At the same time, this paradoxical form can open avenues for “a genuine new departure” vis-a-vis our understanding of technology, of the human as a technologically mediated being, and of the manifold ways in which living and nonliving things serve as mediants for one another. So instead of thinking of human existence in terms of ‘racial beings’ the concept of (Black) Individuation offers a way to focus on the non-being as an open process, a never completed end point of our collective becoming.

This seminar will investigate the paradox of Black Individuation as, on the one hand, deprived of partaking in the collective, and, on the other hand, a longing for new collectivities. With a focus on contemporary theories of media, we will discuss possible exit routes from the racialised social relations we live in and will do so in order to complicate our understanding of technological becoming and mediated beings. Course readings will include Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s 'Race and/as Technology', Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, Ramon Amaro’s Black Technical Object, Julia Kristeva’s 'Theory of Abjection', and Fred Moten’s 'Blackness and Nothingness', among several others. The seminar will be conducted together with Ashleigh Cassemere-Stanfield, PhD-candidate at the University of Chicago, and invited guests (Amel Ouaissa, Ramon Amaro, Dylan Trigg, Nelly Y. Pinkrah).

Examination Modalities

Active Participation (30%): At the core of this course lies the joint discussion of the texts, and therefore your presence and involvement are required. The class activity will center on close interactive reading of texts and debates around the arguments forwarded in them. In order to facilitate productive in-class discussions between us and with our guests, you are asked to read and work through the assigned texts beforehand.

Research Paper (70%): Students will be responsible for a final research paper due at the end of the term. The research paper should be similar in scope and format to a scholarly conference paper (ca. 20.000 characters, including spaces and footnotes, but excluding appendices, references, or figures) based on at least three references from the seminar literature as well as at least three external references (you can, of course, also use more references). Alternatively, students can artistically engage with the seminar in the medium of their choice and additionally write a reflection paper (10.000 characters).

Comments

Required readings as well as a course outline will be made available via the cloud. The working language will be English. Research papers can be submitted in English and German.

Key Words

media culture, medientheorie, media theory, individuation, blackness, critical race theory

Dates

05 October 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
12 October 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33
19 October 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
09 November 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
16 November 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
23 November 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
30 November 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
07 December 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
14 December 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
21 December 2022, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
11 January 2023, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
18 January 2023, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32
25 January 2023, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 32

Course Enrolment

Via online registration

co-registration: possible

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