What does it mean to be a human ornament, to be a subject who survives as or through crushing objecthood? What is beauty for the unbeautiful?
This talks takes a series of humanoid objects – monsters, cyborgs, and standing vases – as fulcrums through which to explore how racialized gender, specifically the specter of the yellow woman, animates the designs of futurity and enables the slippage between the human and the inhuman so fundamental to the dream of modernity.
Anne Anlin Cheng is Professor of English, and affiliated faculty in the Program in American Studies, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Committee on Film Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief; Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface; and, most recently, Ornamentalism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, PMLA, Camera Obscura, Differences, among others. She is also a contributor to New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Huffington Post.