How are we to theorize the relation, or non-relation, between performativity and (anti)blackness?
This panel brings together scholars working in philosophy, political theory, performance studies, queer/trans theory, and the intersections of these fields to make theoretical interventions that advance our understanding of this conceptual coupling and, in so doing, undermine the assumptions that have developed around the relationship between blackness and political subjectivity. We are interested in the ways in which theories of performativity not only help us to de-essentialize gender and race separately but help us to think about these structural categories as historically co-constitutive of each other. But more importantly, we are interested in the ways in which the performance of blackness has had the capacity to subversively de-constitute them in liberatory ways, thus intervening against the institutionalization of anti-black modernity. Inspired by the work of Frantz Fanon, Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, and C. Riley Snorton, among many others, in this panel we ask: from what theoretical orientation might we determine whether and how the performance of blackness reconstitutes a form of subjectivity that is structurally denied as if marked by undifferentiation/fungibility? What happens to the performance and to the performer when their action is unthinkable outside exhaustive economies of accumulation? How are themes of mimicry, parody, and passing expressed in black performance(s) and socio-political mobility?
Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory at the University of Bologna. His research has been published in Theory & Event, La Deleuziana, Theatre Survey, Contemporary Political Theory, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, among others. He is also a member of the international research network Performance Philosophy and a columnist for the online journal of political analysis, Palabras al Margen (Words at the Margins).