Department of English Staff Publication

Dr Catherine Gander
Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 11:00

'Black and White Landscapes: Topographies of Disorientation in the Works of Carrie Mae Weems and Claudia Rankine'

In this essay, I explore how the contemporary black female artists Carrie Mae Weems and Claudia Rankine work with photography and text to develop what I call, after the famous 1975 American landscape photography exhibition, a new, anticolonial, topographics. Connecting the geographical and anatomical meanings of the word “topography,” I approach their works via the phenomenology of Sara Ahmed and Frantz Fanon, tracing how the two artists decentre and throw into relief what Ahmed terms “whiteness as orientation.” Enacting an affective, visual politics of discomfort and disorientation, Weems and Rankine, this essay contends, open new terrain from which to encounter the American landscape in visual, corporeal, and phenomenological terms.