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IDSVA Student Symposium Difference and Opacity: New Topologies of Thought

IDSVA Student Symposium

Difference and Opacity: New Topologies of Thought

Four IDSVA PhD candidates discuss their dissertation work in progress

Date: Saturday, November 21, 12-2pm EST

Format: Zoom (register for the event below)

Moderator: Dr. Kalia Brooks, IDSVA alumna 2017

Jeca Rodríguez-Colón

“The Gaze Economy Through the Lenses of Film Economics”

This paper aims to define Gaze Economy within the frame of Film Economics as a possible path to inquire about our entertainment and aesthetic choices. This paper is guided by the central question of whether characterizations of mothers in cinematic representation affect maternal subjectivity. I will argue that to understand the impact of these characters we must look at the economic impact film productions have over their audiences by taking the case study of maternal characters in the top 25 grossing films in the United States of America from the year 2000-2010. As such it proposes to look at cinema as a topology of thought.

George Orwel

“Sculptural Ambiance: A New Paradigm in Historicism and Cultural Poetics”

African sculptural ambiance is taken as a transient moment of recognition of social and historical materialism that arrests an image of the past as it presents itself to the historical subject. As humans, we are always engaged in a process of change, mediated by time and space. Not only is that process drawing from the past, but also it captures ecological moments--from bodies foreign to our own to aspirations for the future. Thus, this paper shows that ambiance is a viable methodology for historicism; a process through which visual arts are embedded in specific life-world.

Novel Sholars

“The Black Sublime: Materiality and Resistance”

The exploration of experiential and conditional Blackness can be considered a means of understanding our becoming human. The inclusivity of Blackness, with all the violence and oppression, persistence and imagination, is posited as a kind of sublimity relational to the notion of a Black Sublime. What matters is not merely Blackness as an end in itself with regards to its materiality, which is historically inclusive of its thingification, but rather to enter into the conversation of ontological awareness through the context of Blackness, in terms of time and space. This project hopes to join the burgeoning work that is shifting focus toward Blackness as inherently expansive, allowing for internal critique and external growth with regard to its opacity.

Sandra Stephens


EmDisEmbodiment is a word created for my dissertation, “the I?” wherein one embodies through disembodying and disembodies through embodying. EmDisEmbodiment brings forth the importance of visuality and the imagination in moving beyond the languages into which we are born. “I = I”, expands upon notions surrounding this word and explores such questions as: What are the dangers in analyzing the I? and What are ways to connect to a remainder that can never be pinpointed? A remainder that has us consider the opaqueness within the I that is counter to any grids we can use to try to contain it.


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