Since early modern times, both zombies and pirates have shared a history of diverging appropriations and attributions. The Caribbean marks a crossroad in the circulation and transformation of these figures in the context of an “Atlantic modernity“ (Stephan Palmié). The participants discuss this entangled cultural history from a trans-disciplinary perspective.
Questioning the opposition of freedom and slavery, life and death, zombies and pirates have negotiated (post)colonial relations for centuries. Zombies, in the cultural imaginaries of the Caribbean understood as bodies or spirits doomed to serve a master beyond the moment of death, thematize histories of enslavement and rebellion, while pirates were used to articulate colonial adventure and exploitation on the one hand and the idea of a resistant collective beyond established power relations on the other.
Both have been cast as figures of exception (Giorgio Agamben) who are discursively located beyond law and state while simultaneously playing a constitutive role for both; both are marked by ambivalent characterizations—hero and criminal, rebel and slave, perpetrator and victim.
The conference examines the conjunctures of these figures in the transatlantic realm with a focus on their cultural-historical functions for empire and nation building, legal discourses and the history of ideas as well as for contemporary artistic research.
CONCEPT: Gudrun Rath (University of Art and Design Linz/FWF), Alexandra Ganser (University of Vienna/FWF)
PARTICIPANTS: Jean Comaroff (Harvard University), Richard Frohock (Oklahoma State University/Tulsa),
Doris Garraway (Northwestern University), Karin Harrasser (University of Art and Design Linz), Alexandra Hauke (University of Vienna), Laënnec Hurbon (UEH, Port-au-Prince), Florian Krautkrämer (Braunschweig University of Art/Mainz), Kieran Murphy (University of Colorado at Boulder), Sibylle Peters (Hamburg), Eugen Pfister (Bern University of the Arts), Doris Posch (University of Vienna), Antonia Prochaska (Vienna), Sonja Schillings (University of Giessen)
Eine Kooperation mit dem FWF.
Abstracts_Liberty and Death_.pdf (338,6 KiB)
Schedule_Liberty & Death.pdf (485,1 KiB)