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“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it,” as Bertolt Brecht argued. This is evidenced by innovative art practices that have emerged within social movements around theworld. At the same time, art’s social force is regularly marshalled by ruling elites and the cultureindustries they largely control. This talk examines art as both a site of, and weapon in, class struggles. Ponce de León will outline a Marxist approach to understanding ideology, aesthetics, and the social relations of cultural production. She will discuss her research on artistic practices that have contributed to Left movements in the Americas -- from national liberation movements of the 1960s and ‘70s to recent struggles against state violence, neocolonialism and extractive industries. These include revolutionary cinema in Argentina, visual art and theater of the Chicano Movement, experimental art aligned with Zapatismo, street art in the Argentine human rights movement and practices of collective counter-cartography.

Dr. Jennifer S. Ponce de León is associate professor of English at University of Pennsylvania and author of Another Aesthetics is Possible: Arts of Rebellion in the Fourth World War. To order the book from Duke University Press at 30% off, visit dukeupress.edu and enter the coupon code E21PDELN.

Sponsored by the Departments of Comparative Humanities, Classical and Modern Languages, English (Thomas M. Sheehan Lecture Fund), and Philosophy; the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research; the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equity (CODRE); the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society; and the Hite Institute of Art and Design.

If you require accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Meg Kennedy at meghan.kennedy by October 30, 2023. This will allow sufficient time to secure the requested accommodations.

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