Spirals: Black Feminism, the Scholarly and the Curatorial on the 26th of March

17 Mar 2021
17 Mar 2021

The Centre for Curating the Archive is pleased to announce the fourth session of the Spirals virtual seminar series, titled 'Black Feminism, the Scholarly and the Curatorial'. Circulating ideas about art, art practise and archival engagement between two lively, dynamic, yet different global north and global south settings, the series draws Berlin based art practitioners, curators and scholars into a conversation with scholars and students based in Cape Town. 
We are excited to host the Berlin based historian of science Dr Edna Bonhomme as our guest speaker. Dr Bonhomme earned her PhD in the history of Science from Princeton University and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University. Working with sound, text, and archives, she explores contagion, epidemics, and toxicity through decolonial practices and African diaspora worldmaking. Using textual archives and oral histories she unpacks variant notions of sickness and health as well as the modalities of care that shape the possibility for repair. Her artistic language combines science studies with traditional healing elements. Her project Black Health in Germany is part of her long-term research project that she has started in 2019 with a growing collection/archive on the representation of Black health and healing in Germany. Her critical multimedia projects have been featured at Haus Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), alpha nova galerie futura (Berlin), and the Austrian Academy of Women Artists (Austria). She has written for academic journals and popular press including Aljazeera, The Baffler, The Guardian, The Nation, The New Republic, Africa is a Country, The New Republic, ISIS History of Science Journal, Jacobin Magazine, Journal for North African Studies, Public Books, and other publications.
Her talk is titled, Imperial Fevers, Invisible Lives. Epidemics aren’t just about the bacteria and viruses that coexist with us, but they reflect the social divisions that push some people to the margins of society. Whether it is the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black American communities or the high incidence of maternal mortality for Black people, we have to reckon with how histories and legacies of inequality create the phenomenon of premature death. This talk examines these inequalities as it relates to sexual and reproductive health of Black women in the United States and beyond. 
In this conversation we engage with the black feminist intellectual enterprise and how Dr Bonhomme’s work on health and healing expands and shifts through thinking in and with the curatorial. Our point of departure is a question that sits centrally in her practise, what makes people, and black folk especially, sick? Where do science and art meet in interrogating notions of health? What possibilities for healing can we find in the curatorial? 
We are delighted to have Associate Professor Nomusa Makhubu in the Michaelis School of Fine Art as our discussant. Professor Makhubu works broadly in art interventionism, popular culture, live art and social engagement in African visual art. She was the recipient of the ABSA L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award in 2006 and the Prix du Studio National des Arts Contemporain, Le Fresnoy in 2014. She received the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) African Humanities Program fellowship award and was selected to be an African Studies Association (ASA) Presidential fellow in 2016. In 2017, she was also a UCT-Harvard Mandela fellow at the Hutchins Centre for African and African American Research, Harvard University. She is the founder of the Creative Knowledge Resources project. She co-edited a Third Text Special Issue: ‘The Art of Change(2013) and later co-curated with Nkule Mabaso the international exhibition, Fantastic, in 2015 and The stronger we become in 2019 at the 58th Venice Biennale in Italy. 
Join us via Zoom on the 26th of March 2021 3-4pm (SAST) by following the Spirals Meeting Link, (Meeting ID: 922 3362 3053/Passcode: 172684).