For our Winter 2021 session, we talked with Nanya Jhingran, poet and doctoral candidate of literary and cultural studies, and Danielle Brown, poet and graduate student of geography, about Ilana Harris-Babou’s multimedia visual art pieces entitled Cooking with the Erotic (2016), Reparation Hardware (2018), and Decision Fatigue (2020).
We talked about Harris-Babou’s connection to Audre Lorde’s notion of erotic power and how we see this power in her use of sounds, imagery, and the un-uniform play with materials. For teaching, we discussed how satire provides possibilities for making statements about cultural institutions.
Inspired by Harris-Babou, we chose collage art, webpage curation, poetry, and installation as expressions of satirical discourse. We also reflected how such work also invokes sensuality along with satire. We end our conversation by providing assessment strategies for student artistic responses. If instructors want to assign creative assignments in mediums that are unfamiliar to them, they can add more tools to their toolkits.
About Our Guests
Nanya Jhingran is a poet, scholar & teacher from Lucknow, India currently living by the coastal margin of the Salish Sea, on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish People (upon which the city of Seattle was built). They are a PhD Candidate in Literature and Culture and a Teaching Assistant in American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Their research explores how sexual violence and survivorly experience surfaces in the transnational poetic practices of diasporic feminist and queer writers of color. They read this 20th and 21st century archive to discover how these texts navigate or repudiate a discursive field overdetermined by the punitive and imperial logics of law and carcerality & instead produce transformative imaginative and infrastructural possibilities for articulating survivorship as creative practice rooted in relational justice and community restoration.
Danielle Brown is a graduate student of geography at the University of Washington in Seattle. She received her B.A. in political science from American University in 2018. Being primarily interested in studying the nuances of blackness (both people and spaces), her M.A. Thesis research explores a Black sense of place and Black placemaking in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. Danielle is also involved in university service positions, namely serving as a Geography Graduate and Professional Student Senator (GPSS), as well as being a GPSS representative on The Services and Activities Fee committee. Aside from her more traditional, professional on-campus activities, through expressive mediums like poetry, painting, and collaging she wrestles with how to humanize struggle in all its forms. Thematic areas include anywhere from emphasizing the particularities of navigating the world as a Black woman, to questioning how to overcome lifelong insecurities. In other words, Danielle’s work focuses most prominently on the African American quest for freedom, and questions “what does a fully realized Black liberation look like?” She strongly believes that Black liberation is a necessary step to liberation for ALL.