Embedded in a History of Imposed Silences: Reclaiming Legitimacy in the Work of Grada Kilomba

Speaker: Professor Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez

This presentation will discuss Grada Kilomba’s performative work in general, and her performance-installation The Boat (2021) in particular, as a denunciation of the legacies of colonialism, racism, and social injustices in contemporary society. In these times of perpetual crises, race crimes, discrimination, and the mediation of collective trauma, it explores the ways in which performance can be a powerful tool to celebrate, verbalize, and embody racial differences. This presentation reads Grada Kilomba’s work as a forum to confront silences and the inequalities of power and privilege stemming from the transatlantic history of slavery down to the present day.

Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez is a professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA). Her main areas of research and teaching are the cultural and literary representation of race and ethnicity, Portuguese literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, and performance in transatlantic context, Portuguese-speaking Africa, and the Portuguese diaspora.

Her first book, Unmasked Utopias (on the representation of the noble savage in art and literature) was published by the Portuguese national press, Imprensa Nacional – Casa da Moeda, Lisbon, 2008, and her second monograph, Creating Carmen Miranda: Race, Camp, and Transnational Stardom, by Vanderbilt University Press, 2016. Her critical edition of Eça de Queirós’s translation of Philidor (a bilingual text) was published by the Imprensa Nacional – Casa da Moeda in 2021. She was the invited editor for Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, “The Other 19th Century” (University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 2007), co-edited (with Severino Albuquerque) Performing Brazil: Essays on Culture, Identity and the Performing Arts (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015) and co-edited Transatlantic Dialogues: Eça de Queirós and Machado de Assis (University of Coimbra, 2017). She is the executive editor of the Luso-Brazilian Review and edits a book series at Vanderbilt University Press, “Performing Latin-American and Caribbean Identities”. Since 2018, she is an affiliated member of the Centro de Literatura Portuguesa da Faculdade de Letras at the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.

This talk is part of a book project that examines performance within the transatlantic triangle of Portuguese-speaking Africa, Portugal, and Brazil, tentatively titled Performing the Portuguese Diaspora: Race, Slavery and Belonging. 

Organised by Dr Rachel Warriner (The Courtauld) as part of the Gender and Sexuality Research Group, with support from Courtauld Contemporary. 

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12 Oct 2022

Wednesday 12th October 2022, 5pm - 6.30pm BST

Free, booking essential

Vernon Square campus, Lecture Theatre 2

This is an in person event. Booking will close 30 minutes before the event begins.