Experimental Black Aesthetics: Performance, Politics, and Representation

Danielle Heard
UC Davis

Uri McMillan
African American Studies
UC Los Angeles

This MRG served as a meeting point of UC faculty across campuses, departments, and disciplinary orientations around the shared and dynamic subject of black aesthetic practices. Following the publication of Kobena Mercer’s Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (1994), the field of black aesthetics has begun to acquire more heft as its questions have been taken up by a diffuse group of scholars working on literary studies, black performance cultures, music, and visual culture studies. Yet, a print publication specifically re-addressing the salience and new meanings of black aesthetic practices in the twenty-first century has not been forthcoming. This MRG sought to address these demands by creating a working group that created a special issue of a journal and an interactive blog that addressed the newer methodological (dis)orientations and approaches to black aesthetics, including “black camp,” afro-surrealism, afro-futurism, post-blackness, and others.