Conference Panel Organized & Refereed:
“Art History as Créolité/Creolizing Art History”
Association for Art History (UK) Annual Conference, 2017
Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Chair
From the call for papers:
As part of the three-day workshop titled “Créolité and Creolization,” which took place on St. Lucia as one of the platforms of Documenta 11 (2002), participants explored the genealogy of terms such as “creolization” and “Créolité” and their potential to describe phenomena beyond their historically and geographically specific origins (however slippery they are). Surprisingly, there has been little engagement with the potential of creolization as a way of doing or writing art histories differently since that time. This session aims to redress this lacuna.
Stuart Hall, one of the workshop participants, writes that what distinguishes creolization from hybridity or diaspora is that it refers to a process of cultural mixings that are a result of slavery, plantation culture, and colonialism. Yet Martinique-born poet and theoretician Édouard Glissant notes that creolization can refer to a broader set of sociocultural processes not only in the Caribbean but also “all the world” (Tout-monde). Drawing on Hall and Glissant, Irit Rogoff suggests that Créolité can more broadly reference the construction of a literary or artistic project out of creolizing processes.
What would it mean to reimagine art history as Créolité? That is, hegemonic Western art history has created in its wake an array of ‘other’ art histories connected to regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and South Asia to name a few. Of special interest in this session is not only considering such regional art histories as relational to each other, but also exploring how other constructions of identity—such as gender, sexuality, race, and class—are intertwined with them. Papers exploring contemporary and historical periods are both welcome; and those critically examining Glissant’s terms—such as “opacity” and “globality”—to bear on the session theme are especially encouraged.
Speakers included Jane Chin Davidson, Nicola Foster, Harper Montgomery, Jacek J. Kolasinski, and Alpesh Kantilal Patel.