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Art History Seminar

Queer Chinese Feminist Archipelago: Shanghai, Miami, and San Francisco


Speaker: Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Associate Professor, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University

Moderator: Vivian Sheng, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, HKU

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022

Time: 7:30 pm Hong Kong Time

Venue: On Zoom

Martinican-born poet and theoretician Édouard Glissant suggests that a shift to “archipelagic thinking” can allow one to see the world metaphorically as a collection of islands connected to each other. Foregrounding the body and affect, I will consider the exhibition WOMEN我們, organized by Abby Chen, that traveled from Shanghai (2011) to San Francisco (2012) and Miami (2013) through what I refer to as “archipelagic feeling.” WOMEN我們 explored queer Chinese feminism, and in a nod to cities where the venues were located, the curators expanded the checklist at each leg of the tour. In this way, the curators aimed not to essentialize or center queer Chinese feminism but productively connect it to (for example) Latinx subjectivities and Asian-American feminist concerns. In so doing, I suggest this exhibition offers a new framework for thinking about the transnational through both queerness and creolization.

Alpesh Kantilal Patel is an associate professor of contemporary art at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University. His art historical scholarship, curating, and criticism reflect his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. He is the author of the monograph Productive failure: Writing queer transnational South Asian art histories (2017). A co-editor of the anthology Storytellers of Art’s Histories (2022) and special journal issue for Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (2021), he is working on two book projects, Visual Diaries: Transnational Miami and Multiple and One: Global Queer Art Histories.

This event is organized by the Department of Art History and co-sponsored by the Gender Studies Programme, School of Humanities, and the Faculty of Arts’ Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity at the University of Hong Kong. 

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