book cover of Abject Performances Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production by Leticia Alvaradoa Decolonizing Vision Series talk with Leticia Alvarado
September 17, Monday, 6:30 to 8 pm
CSGS, 285 Mercer Street, 4th Floor
Leticia Alvarado, American Studies, Brown University
Presenting her recently published book, Abject Strategies: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production, Leticia Alvarado proposes a critical engagement with aesthetic theory to enrichen our political imaginings in Latino studies, centering aesthetics beyond the representational in style, composition, and political ideation. Animating a diverse expressive archive that ranges from performance art to performative testimonies of personal faith-based subjection, Alvarado offers an account of politicized aesthetics distinct from those we’ve come to understand as politically efficacious. A focus on abject aesthetics, she contends, captures experiences that lie at the edge of the mainstream Latino-centered social justice struggles to illuminate modes of community formation and social critique defined by a refusal of identitarian coherence that nonetheless coalesce into affiliation and possibility. Pivoting from her book, in this talk Alvarado will also mobilize theories of brownness to further explore non-identitarian affiliation conjured by aesthetic engagement. Pairing the work of Dominican born artist Firelei Báez and Nairobi born artist Wangechi Mutu, Alvarado begins to develop a theory of relational black and brown aesthetics, reading femme gestures as practices of informed and resistant engagement to query structuring ontologies of the present and ultimately provide models for being within and outside of colonial pasts and presents.
Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; and Contemporary Art Research Collective
Leticia Alvarado is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at Brown University. Her interdisciplinary research is situated at the nexus of Latina/o/x, visual culture, and gender and sexuality studies. Alvarado’s research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian, and Brown University’s Wriston Fellowship for “excellence in teaching and scholarship.” Her scholarly publications appear in Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies as well as the award winning museum catalogue, Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.. Her first book, Abject Performances: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production is now available from Duke University Press.
This event is free & open to the public. Venue is wheelchair-accessible. For more information about this event, please contact the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at or 212-992-9540.
Facebook event page here.