Balbir Singh - "Divine Adornment: A Theory of Opaque Aesthetics"
By focusing on contemporary art and direct action projects, Balbir Singh studies the radicalized and gendered concept of garb as one that is defined materially through coverage of the body for and by Third World peoples. Drawing on Anne Cheng's theory of the ornamental, Muslim feminisms, and work by artists and practitioners using innovative textile design, this talk analyzes the function of opacity in the making of longstanding and new aesthetic traditions.
This presentation is a brief crystallization of arguments from Singh's first book manuscript "Militant Bodies: Radical/Religious Opacity and Minoritarian Self-Defense" which takes an anti-colonial and materialist feminist approach to explore questions that center post-9/11 racial and religious hyper-policing of Muslim and Sikh bodies. Through a politics of religious dress, hair, and adornment, this project interrogates the related racial, gendered, and queer life of turbaned and hijab bodies to analyze the twinned expansion of contemporary Islamophobia and surveillance culture.
Balbir K. Singh is an assistant professor of Cultural Theory in the Department of Religion and Culture and Core Faculty in ASPECT at Virginia Tech. Currently, she serves as Reviews Editor Designate for the College Art Association's Art Journal.
The Virginia Tech center for Humanities presents a series of talks by faculty research associates who will discuss their work. Please join us for this engaging presentation. This talk is free and open to the public and we invite anyone to attend. There will be a brief Q and A session with viewers following the presentation. The livestream will be archived on the Center for Humanities YouTube channel. If you are a person with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the Center for Humanities at 540.231.1981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.