Boundaries and Margins: A Theme in Review - Center for the Arts and Humanities

Boundaries and Margins: A Theme in Review

This year’s theme looked at Boundaries as relational sites where meaning, value, and belonging are made, reworked, and contested. If boundaries are seen in a continuum rather than an endpoint, we asked, how might they become sites of uncertainty and possibility. Likewise, Margins have historically been spaces for subversive, often oppressed, knowledges and  life ways to take shape, to persist, to resist, and to imagine and enact alternative histories and futures. All semester long, our guest speakers strove to help us rethink boundaries and margins as active, ongoing processes, while encouraging us to re-configure dominant taxonomies and valuations of what is the center and what is the margin.

Given the palpable political stakes of 2020-2021, the speakers series took an intentionally community-oriented and justice focused approach, focusing on supporting the work of regional untenured scholars, artists, and activists of color in Maine and then situating these local debates within larger national and transnational conversations. We also attempted to craft more accessible and applicable formats including conversations, performative lectures, performance workshops, readings, and interviews. The Zoom platform opened up the scope of programming to reach audiences from across the United States and internationally and bring multifaceted voices and perspectives to our campus community. Speakers included:

Séan Alonzo Harris (artist) & Elizabeth Jabar (Colby Lawry Family Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships) speaking on socially engaged arts practices in Maine and beyond.

Annie Hikido (assistant professor of Sociology, Colby) talking about the politics of township tourism in South Africa.

A conversation between Myron Beasley (associate professor of American Studies, Bates) and Daniel Minter (artist) about creative reimaginations of Black history in Maine.

A dance workshop exploring transnational circulations of winin’ by Adanna K. Jones (assistant professor of Dance, Bowdoin).

A poetic, performative lecture about the sonic politics of migration by artist Anthony Romero (School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University).

A presentation on disability aesthetics and design by influential dancer Alice Sheppard and designer Michael Maag of Kinetic Light Dance company.

An experimental opera about the colonization of outer space by Malik Gaines (associate professor of Performance Studies, NYU) and Alexandro Segade (assistant professor, Cornell University) founding members of performance group My Barbarian.

A presentation by Ian Khara Ellasante (assistant professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Bates) about the limits of discourses of authenticity in social justice movements.

A reading by South African author Julie Nxadi and a conversation with assistant professor of English Mo Shabangu (Colby) about post-Apartheid literature and the limitations of genre categorizations.

And a roundtable conversation about migration and activism with Oak Institute for Human Rights fellow Nasim Lomani, assistant professor of global studies Nadia El-Shaarawi (Colby) and associate professor of global studies and film maker Maple Rasza (Colby).

Written by theme co-sponsors Associate Professor of French Audrey Brunetaux and Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance A.B. Brown.