EBAAS Conference, London, April 2018

This panel by the editors of U.S. Studies Online, the BAAS postgraduate and early career blog, explores the relation between materiality, embodiment and protest. Inspired by cross-disciplinary dialogues, three papers demonstrate how material objects and wounded bodies can become sites of disobedience against ideological structures. From a historical perspective, Ruth Lawlor unearths the uneasy complicity of anti-racism protests with misogynist bias in rape trials during World War II. Here, resistance to stereotypical discourses emerges from the sexuality of the female body, while Katharina Donn explores how the materiality of city -and landscapes disrupts processes of reading and infuses them with epistemological ruptures. Jenny Holzer’s projections, which form the core of this literary approach, respond to a different global conflict, the war on terror of the 21st century, but share the same potential to re-charge vulnerability with cultural energy. Jade Tullett’s work on punk in the art gallery demonstrates how such material objects, once inserted in the art gallery, can become detached from popular music’s material culture through art-historical curation. It is this tension between materiality and the (im)possibility of cultural, political and discursive resistance that connects these three interdisciplinary approaches. Above all, though, this panel showcases the cutting-edge approaches currently being developed on U.S. Studies Online.

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