Professor James Clifford in Melbourne

 

Professor James Clifford is MacGeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne in September-October 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Clifford is Emeritus Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California Santa Cruz. Clifford is the author of several widely cited and translated books, including The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (1988), Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late 20th Century(1997), and Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty First Century (2013). He was co-editor (with George Marcus) of the widely influential collection Writing Culture: the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986).

He will be presenting a public lecture, seminar and postgraduate workshop during his visit. Thanks to Associate Professor Tammy Kohn for organising Professor Clifford’s visit and these events.

Public Lecture – Art and Ethnography in the Post-Western Museum

There are two principal avenues through which the material creations of non-Western peoples have gained recognition and value in the cultural centers of Europe and North America. One avenue can be called “culture,” the other “art.” Much has been written to criticize this sorting mechanism, and in practice a variety of hybrid museum spaces are opening up. Yet despite the decentering pressures of decolonization and globalization, long-established categories change unevenly: the “two museums” persist.

This talk explores shifting institutional relations between art and ethnography in contemporary metropolitan contexts. The relative vitality and prestige of the two traditions is assessed with examples drawn from museological innovations in Vancouver, Berlin, and Paris. What is gained and lost in the increasing pressure to represent “global arts and cultures?” What prospects for serious cross-cultural translation can be found in the emerging forms of collecting, programming, and marketing diversity?

When: 
Wednesday, 1 October 2014 | 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Where: 
Theatre 230
234 Queensberry Street
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3010

Seminar - Country Musics or, The Indigenizing Imagination

I begin with the observation that North American country songs, performance and instrumental styles are very popular in communities we call, variously, tribal, native, First Nations, Aboriginal. I suggest why this is so, exploring the dynamics of transmission, reception, and localization that are at work. “Indigenous” and “country”—the words name complex structures of feeling, responses to often violent social and economic change. The two discourses overlap but are not identical.  I argue that they form an articulated cluster of vernacular imaginings, an expressive site that belongs to no group or region. Country musics have been globalizing–spreading, translating and commodifying—at least since the dissemination of radios and guitars in the early 20th Century. They invite serious cross-cultural and historical study.

When:
Friday, 24 September 2014 | 5:30pm – 7pm 
Where:
Babel Building 106 (Middle Theatrette)
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3010
Postgraduate Workshop
James Clifford will elaborate on some of the issues touched on briefly in the Prologue to his recent book: Returns: Becoming Indigenous on the 21st Century –for example the question of “realism,” the (im)possibility of self-historicising, and the future of reading and the “book.” A wide-ranging discussion will follow.
For more information, including the pre-published book chapters, please have a look/read from his website: http://people.ucsc.edu/~jcliff/

When: 
Friday, 26 September 2014 | 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Where: 
John Medley Building 4th Floor Linkway Room
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3010
NB – Places very limited

REGISTRATION – Tamara Kohn tkohn@unimelb.edu.au

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