Intra-Disciplinary Seminar Public Lecture: Nana Adusei-Poku

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7 - 8pm

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The Intra-Disciplinary Seminar (IDS) Public Lecture Series presents a lecture by Nana Adusei-Poku, entitled "Post-Post-Black?". It is free and open to the public.

How to make sense of a term that has stirred so much controversy in the early 2000s in the U.S. context sixteen years past its invention, a term that was used for a generation of black artists that seemed to distance themselves from previous generations, who utilized the term black in order to define their practices as a form of political resistance. Through recent activist work (i.e. Black Lives Matter) and media attention to persistent systemic racism as well as the rise of rightwing populism, “post-black” appears more than obsolete and is seldom used in the arts or in wider social discourse.This talk will trace the term post-black from its emergence, introduce accompanying debates around the term, and connect its difficult meaning with contemporary debates in the Afro-pessimist discourse as well as popular culture.

Nana Adusei-Poku, Ph.D., is an independent scholar, writer, and educator as well as guest lecturer in Media Arts and Master Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Zurich. She was Research Professor for Cultural Diversity from 2013-2014 and then for Visual Cultures 2015-2017 at the Hogeschool Rotterdam with affiliation to the Piet Zwart Institute and the Willem de Kooning Academy. She received her Ph.D. from Humboldt University Berlin for her thesis on post-black art as part of the “Gender as a category of Knowledge” graduate program, following degrees in African studies and gender studies at Humboldt University, and in media and communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Ghana, Legon; the London School of Economics; and Columbia University, New York.

The question "What are the conditions of our existence", which Stuart Hall asked, remain core to her journey and inspire her to embody and develop a decolonial pedagogical approach and to explore the performativity of nothingness and life "in the hold." Since 2015 she is co-founder of N+. She published the article “Post-Post-Black?” in Nka-Journal for Contemporary African Art and Catch me if you can! which is a critical reflection on the state of diversity and decolonization in the arts and art education. In her most recent publication “On Being Present Where You Wish to Disappear,” Adusei-Poku questions the notion of nothingness, universality, and whiteness common in the contemporary art world.

The IDS Public Lecture Series, consists of lectures by artists, theorists, activists, designers, writers, curators and other practitioners involved in the arts from positions that embody an interdisciplinary approach or that imply new uses for disciplinary traditions.

The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.