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The Department of English and Cultural Studies warmly invites you to join us for a talk by Dr. Rachel da Silva Gorman, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in Critical Disability Studies at York University:

“Grieving Empire: Affect Aliens, Disablement, and Aesthetic Catharsis,” Sherman Centre, Mills Library, Monday, February 11, 2019, 3:30-5:00 pm. 

Abstract: In this talk, Dr. da Silva Gorman highlights works by artists who engage in the work of grieving and historicizing contemporary violence through dance, animation, testimony, and repetition, drawing our attention to the body caught by borders, institutions, and war. The artists anchor their work in their bodies, on the land, and in unfolding transit and return in order to reveal the violence of the settler colonial state, its imperialist adventures, and its proxy wars. She argues these works engage aesthetic modes that reject postcolonial catharsis, through which we are asked to pity and then purge our knowledge of imperialism’s victims. Rather, these works animate an aesthetics of revolutionary grieving, which demand that we “apprehend the policies creating unlivable, ungrievable conditions” (Byrd, Transit of Empire). This talk is part of a larger project that draws on curatorial and performance-based research and contemporary Black, Indigenous, and mad studies, in order to articulate an embodied theory of anticolonial aesthetics.

Dr. Rachel da Silva Gorman is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in Critical Disability Studies at York University, and an artist working in dance theatre, performance, and curating. Da Silva Gorman’s research engages theory and method from fine arts, cultural studies, and social sciences; and focuses on transnational social movements, anticolonial aesthetics, anti-racist disability theory, and critiques of ideology. Her writing has appeared in Auto|Biography StudiesAmerican QuarterlySomatechnicsthirdspace, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. Da Silva Gorman has created and choreographed 14 dance-theatre and site-specific productions, ten of which have been remounted or screened at festivals. She has been a movement director for several solo theatre artists and collectives, and she teaches choreographic process in disability, BIPOC, and queer arts communities. Since 2009, she has been on the curatorial committee at A Space Gallery, where she has curated four exhibitions, and has participated in annual programming. In 2017, she received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for a performance-based research-creation project Year Five of the Revolution. She is a longtime organizer in feminist and anti-colonial movements.