Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild: Encounters in the Arts and Contemporary Politics
Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild responds to a contemporary political climate in which historically invested figures of otherness—barbarians, savages, monsters—have become common discursive currency.
- Maria Boletsi & Tyler Sage
- 06 December 2017
Through questionable historical comparisons, politicians and journalists evoke barbaric or primitive forces threatening civilization in order to exacerbate the fear of others, diagnose civilizational decline, or feed nostalgic restorative projects. These evocations often demand that forms of oppression, discrimination, and violence be continued or renewed.
In this context, the collected essays explore the dispossessing effects of these figures but also their capacities for reimagining subjectivity, agency, and resistance to contemporary forms of power. Emphasizing intersections of the aesthetic and the political, these essays read canonical works alongside contemporary literature, film, art, music, and protest cultures. They interrogate the violent histories but also the subversive potentials of figures barbarous, monstrous, or wild, while illustrating the risks in affirmative resignifications or new mobilizations.