Transcultural Encounters: Postcolonialism in the Visual Arts

 

People involved in this project

Principal investigator:

School Modern Languages
Department French
Dates Oct 2011-June 2012
Funder AHRC: Early Career Fellowship
Contact person Siobhan Shilton

More about this project

Political and media rhetoric are saturated with reductive perceptions of cultural beliefs and practices which originate from beyond the boundaries of Europe. The visual arts reveal a recent proliferation of works that challenge such negative perceptions of 'difference'. Such work explores the complex cross-cultural identities that have resulted from immigration to Europe in ways that demonstrate the possibility of the co-existence of cultures, while avoiding the extremes of ghettoisation and one-way assimilation. This project aims primarily to trace the evolution of a still-emerging canon of 'postcolonial art' against the complex and shifting background of relations between European and non-European francophone regions and countries, including France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Maghreb, Western and Central Africa, former 'Indochina' and the Caribbean. It will highlight the heterogeneity of a corpus of photography, video, installation and performance art, much of which has received little or no critical attention. It will examine the ways in which such art provides counterpoints to monolithic, static notions of 'national' identity. This interdisciplinary project will develop a new field of French and francophone studies, while also developing new areas of research in a wide range of related fields, including postcolonial studies, art history, contemporary cultural history, gender studies, and studies in travel writing.