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Judith Hamera & Jill Dolan in Conversation
Judith Hamera & Jill Dolan in Conversation — Unfinished Business: Michael Jackson, Detroit, and American Deindustrialization
Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 at 6PM — Labyrinth Books Princeton

How does structural economic change look and feel? How are such changes normalized? Who represents hope? Who are the cautionary tales? Please join us for a discussion with two eminent cultural critics of the changing nature of work and capitalism between the 1980s and 2016 through the prism of Detroit and of works by and about African Americans.


Hamera’s Unfinished Business argues that U.S. deindustrialization cannot be understood apart from issues of race, and specifically apart from images of African Americans that represent or resist normative or aberrant relationships to work and capital in transitional times. It insists that Michael Jackson's performances and coverage of his life, plays featuring Detroit, plans for the city's postindustrial revitalization, and Detroit installations The Heidelberg Project and Mobile Homestead have something valuable to teach us about three decades of structural economic transition in the U.S. Jackson and Detroit offer examples of the racialization of deindustrialization, how it operates as a structure of feeling and as representations as well as a shift in the dominant mode of production, and how industrialization's successor mode, financialization, uses imagery both very similar to and very different from its predecessor.


Judith Hamera is Professor of Dance in the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, with affiliations in American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Urban Studies, Princeton University. She is the author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global CityJill Dolan is Dean of the College, Professor of Theater, and Annan Professor of English at Princeton University. Her books include The Feminist Spectator in Action: Feminist Criticism on Stage and Screen; Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre; Geographies of Learning: Theory and Practice, Activism and Performance; Presence and Desire: Essays on Gender, Sexuality, Performance. Her most recent book is Wendy Wasserstein.

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