Bard College Berlin Presents
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Faculty Colloquium: "From Extraction to Regeneration: of bios, geos and feminist feeling"

Bard College Berlin Cafeteria, Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

A talk by Helene Strauss (University of the Free State, South Africa)

The weeks and months following the 16th of August 2012 – when the South African police opened fire on a group of striking miners, killing thirty-four and wounding a further seventy-eight – saw attempts at managing its affective aftermath to a range of political ends. Whereas the state, mining industry and corporate media laboured to swiftly cathect public feeling to scripts of accomplished national mourning, the so-called ‘Marikana massacre’ also directed resistant South African publics towards a more affectively heightened engagement with realities of continuing – if not deepening – inequality post-apartheid. The genre of the documentary film, increasingly prominent as a site of South African social critique, arguably emerged as the leading cultural form for mediating oppositional feeling post-massacre. Whereas most documentary accounts of these events have sought to uncover the circumstances leading up to and following the massacre, the film Strike a Rock (2017), directed by Aliki Saragas, opens onto the more historically differentiated affective archive at the heart of extractive capitalism’s enduring social and environmental fault lines. This paper maps some of these faults. Specifically, I test an anthrodecentric approach to extractive capitalism’s historical exploitation of mineral, mechanical, muscular and psychic energies as a means to accelerating resistance to forms of violence at once human and ecological. I identify in Strike a Rock’s documentary aesthetics an energy archive that animates resistant, regenerative political modalities of post-apartheid feminist feeling. 

Helene Strauss is Professor in the Department of English at the University of the Free State, South Africa, where she served as departmental chair from 2012 until June 2019. Recent major publications include co-edited special issues of the journals Interventions and Critical Arts, and a book titled Contemporary African Mediations of Affect and Access, co-edited with Jessie Forsyth and Sarah Olutola (Routledge, 2017). She is currently completing a monograph on political emotion and contemporary South African visual culture.

Date & time: Tuesday, October 22, 2019, from 12:30pm
Venue: Bard College Berlin Cafeteria
Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

Contact information:  communications@berlin.bard.edu

Location: Bard College Berlin Cafeteria, Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

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