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CRPLA Seminar: Monique Roelofs (Amsterdam) - Decoloniality beyond Transculturation: Memory, Fluids, and Life in Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow

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Location: A0.23 (Soc Sci)

Elaborating decolonial and intersectional methods, aesthetics has developed rich tools for tackling power differences. How to comprehend the cultural field if it is at once a site of heinous expropriation and violence and one of vital social and political possibility? This essay explores this question through Claudia Llosa’s film The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada) (2009). The film, I indicate, reworks racial, gendered, and colonial logics and supplants a model of transculturation, magical realism, and syncretism by a cultural vision of a web of multivalent, pluri-directional aesthetic promises and threats. Thus it presents a young indigenous woman as a contemporary decolonial actor who renders memory livable and opens up unforeseen futures for her shantytown and country. I signal the implications for the positioning of the decolonial feminist spectator or culture maker and for the notion of a decolonial aesthetics. Aesthetic existence at the intersection of oppression and liberation, although tremendously impure and troubled, functions as a bountiful font of feminist energy and sustenance and a site of communal caring and imagination.

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