Janet Staiger Lecture in Gender and Sexuality: Alessandra Raengo

March 28 @ 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm CDT

Alessandra Raengo talk: “'How Much Fuller?' Jenn Nkiru’s Cosmic Archaeologies”
co-sponsored by African & African American Diaspora Studies Department

Visual artist and filmmaker Jenn Nkiru describes her artmaking as a “cosmic archeology,” an excavation of radical insights from the unruly archives of black expressive culture that seek to activate their radical energy. Harnessing insights from both jazz and hip-hop, her 10-minute film Rebirth is Necessary (2017) samples from Panafrican sonic and visual archives of black radicalism and deploys filmic temporality to activate black futures already imagined in the past.

Nkiru’s filmmaking sits at the center of what my current book project describes as the “liquidity” of the black arts. Building on Toni Morrison’s demand to attend to the long history of conceiving and practicing one artform in terms of another—for instance, musical rhythms as visual conceits, photography as improvised music, filmmaking as music-making—I am interested in the ways contemporary black visual artists fully inhabit this legacy not only as a matter of artmaking practice, aesthetic sensibility, expanded patronage, and increased high art and popular culture visibility, but also how they negotiate their “freedom dreams” against art’s deep entanglement with finance capital, where artworld inclusion demands constant self-valorization.

Focusing on Nkiru’s Rebirth is Necessary, this talk attends to the informal conceits the artist deploys to engender “fuller” futures in black existence, in the praxis of being a black artist, as well as in scholarly discourses about black art can and cannot do.

Speaker Bio
Alessandra Raengo is Georgia State University Distinguished Professor of Moving Image Studies, the Founding Editor-in-Chief of liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies (at Duke University Press) and founder of the liquid blackness research group that initiated the journal in 2013. She is the author of On the Sleeve of the Visual: Race as Face Value (Dartmouth College Press, 2013) and of Critical Race Theory and Bamboozled (Bloomsbury Press, 2016). She has published widely on the visual arts and filmmaking of the Black diaspora, racial capitalism, and modes of black “liquidity” in the contemporary arts. Her work has appeared in Camera Obscura, Discourse, Adaptation, The World Picture Journal, Black Camera, The Black Scholar, Flash Art, Refract, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, and several anthologies, including the award-winning collections LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black American Cinema (2015) and Deep Mediations: Thinking Space in Cinema and Digital Cultures (2021). She is the recipient of a Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship at CASVA (Centre for Advanced Study in the Visual Art, National Gallery of Art), a Terra Foundation of American Art Grant for the liquid blackness Symposium: “Music Video as Black Art: Claiming the B-Side,” Sept. 21-23, 2023 at Georgia State University and a Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial or Design Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for editorial and design excellence for the liquid blackness journal she co-edits with Lauren McLeod Cramer.

About the Janet Staiger Lecture in Gender and Sexuality
Beginning in 1994, faculty members in the Department of Radio-Television-Film have annually organized the visit and lecture by guest scholars and filmmakers to emphasize our critical focus on gender and sexuality in film and TV, including feminist and queer media theory, criticism, and production. World-class scholars and filmmakers continue to bring diversity of thinking in humanities and social science research and innovative practices in fiction and documentary filmmaking, inspiring all of us to reach further and grow together in our work.

The series has been endowed by Janet Staiger, the William P. Hobby Centennial Professor Emeritus of Communication and Professor Emeritus of Women's and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Staiger is a pioneer in film studies with ground-breaking research and publications in authorship theory, modes of production, cultural and political issue of representation, genre theory, the historical reception of cinema and television, and historiographical issues in writing media histories.


Start Date: March 28 @ 3:30pm

End Date: March 28 @ 4:45pm

Event Categories: Lecture

Location: GWB 2.206 MPR

Website: RTF Media Studies Colloquium series


Target audience: Alumni , Faculty , General Public , Staff , Students