Colonialism after Globalization


Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 12:00 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., room 608

It is often assumed that, with decolonizations having taken place since the 1950s, and with the emergence of national independence movements around the world, colonialism is a thing of the past, a matter for the historical record. Yet how do we think of the persistence of cultural and social forms that originate from periods of colonialism, and, perhaps more importantly, how can we release ourselves from colonial ways of thinking—from a colonization of the mind? Is it possible to fully "decolonize," as one recent intellectual movement asserts? Colonialism, simply put, was never "post." This talk asks how we might think of the history of colonialism in visual art in a period of ongoing modernity, and "after" our current era of neoliberal globalization. Beginning with visual examples from Europe and its colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, it moves to consider the remains—and continuing fecundity—of the colonial in various artworks from contemporary Southeast Asia, including projects by Simryn Gill, the Migrant Ecologies Project, and Charles Lim.

Dr Kevin Chua is Associate Professor of Art History at Texas Tech University, where he writes and teaches on 18th- and 19th-century European and Contemporary Southeast Asian art. He obtained a PhD in the History of Art from the University of California at Berkeley, has held fellowships at CASVA and the University of California at Los Angeles, and has published in journals such as Representations, Art Journal, Third Text, FOCAS: Forum on Contemporary Art and Society, and Broadsheet.