HMKA03209U Modern culture: Topic: Colorblind? Critical Theories of Race in Visual Culture and Performance - Please note that the time has moved

Volume 2013/2014

Talking about race often makes people uncomfortable. As the word ”race” brings to mind a problematic history of scientific racism, many seek to steer clear of the issue. In order to avoid this touchy topic, public debates in the Nordic countries are dominated by an ideology of colorblindness. This colorblind posture often stems from an explicit desire that race should or could be an irrelevant and meaningless category. The silencing of race is thus for many understood to be part of an antiracist policy—as if keeping questions of race out of the conversation would make racialized differentiation disappear. But such “good intentions” can have the unfortunate effect that “experience of racialization and marginalization, according to a white norm, is wiped out and denied,” as researcher Lene Myong has argued. If we are invested in developing antiracist perspectives in visual culture and performance, then, it is important to counter what David L. Eng describes as the “erosion of a public language for discussing race and racism.”


This course looks to critical theoretization of race and racialization in visual culture and performance in order to move beside the ideology of colorblindness that dominate mainstream discourses of art and performance in the Nordic countries and beyond. The course seeks to introduce and discuss critical discussions on racialization regarding visual culture and performance in fields such as black studies, critical race studies, black feminist theory and queer of color critique. Questions we will discuss include: When does race matter? What are the conditions for theorizing race? What and when do we “see” race in visual culture? What frameworks are available for developing antiracist perspectives on visual culture and performance?

The course centers on readings and discussions of texts by artists and theorists including Audre Lorde, Adrian Piper, Derby English, Glenn Ligon, Tavia Nyong’o, José E. Muñoz, David L. Eng, Lene Myong, Fred Moten, bell hooks, Amelia Jones, Fatima El-Tayeb, Toni Morrison, Roderick A. Ferguson, Kara Keeling, Sharon Patricia Holland, and E. Patrick Johnson.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam Preparation
  • 84
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 317
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment
All aids allowed
Censorship form
External censorship