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Sugar, Sweat and Swag: Towards a kineto-somatic history of the plantation

Publication date: Jan 23, 2014 4:49:56 PM

Start: Jan 27, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: Jan 27, 2014 7:30:00 PM

Location: UCL-Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN

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UCL-Institute of the Americas (UCL-IA), in collaboration with Imperial and World History Seminar of the Institute of Historical Research, gladly welcomes Ananya Kabir (KCL) to deliver this seminar.

The body of the slave and the body of the dancer may appear to belong to radically different regimes of labour and pleasure. Yet when the dance in question is of Afro-Diasporic heritage, these distinctions collapse into an ontology of bodily resistance. This ontology, and its significance for unpacking modernity's 'double consciousness' (Paul Gilroy) is all too often eclipsed by the hermeneutics of reading and a self-conscious politics that is shy of looking squarely at pleasure. This paper recovers it through 'a kineto-somatic history' of the Plantation- a reconstruction of the affects of Plantation life which focuses on the moving, feeling and pleasure-seeking/ pleasure-giving body. The iconic Plantation commodity, sugar, is examined alongside sweat as the signifier of bodily exertion and swag as the bodily stance converting exertion to effortlessness. Through song lyrics, dance movements, artwork and archival traces this paper traces a phantasmatic yet insistent genealogy linking the Plantation and the dance floor.

Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir is a literary and cultural historian with interests spanning music, dance, film, the visual arts, academic discourse, and literature, and invested in examining what these forms of cultural production can tell us about global modernity. More on Prof Kabir here.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.