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Phenomenal Difference: A Philosophy of Black British Art

Wainwright, Leon (2017). Phenomenal Difference: A Philosophy of Black British Art. Value: Art: Politics, 13. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

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Phenomenal Difference grants new attention to contemporary black British art, exploring at length its critical and social significance through attention to embodied experience, the senses, affectivity and bodily perception.

Much before mainstream scholarship made its current ‘ontological turn’ toward the new materialism, black British art since the 1980s had already begun to complicate and unsettle the familiar concepts of textuality, representation, identity and difference at the core of black and diaspora cultural studies.

This book investigates that historical development, while showing how works of art themselves can provide the basis for an engaged sort of philosophy that simultaneously promotes aesthetic and critical analyses. Numerous, detailed and extended descriptive studies highlight the affective relations between individual works of art, their viewers and the world at hand. These disclose the place of art and the emotions in remembering personal and collective pasts; the ‘equivalence’ of texture and colour, and their ‘rupture’; the perceptual reversibility and agency of objects; the grounded materialities of mediation; the interconnections between art, politics and emancipation.

Drawing first hand on the founding texts of early and mid-twentieth century phenomenology (Heidegger; Merleau-Ponty), recent advances in ontological thought on materiality, as well as art history, curating and visual anthropology, the author transposes black British art into an expanded and diversified intellectual field. What emerges is a vivid understanding of phenomenal difference: the material process of interworking philosophical knowledge and political strategy at the site of black British art.

Item Type: Book
Copyright Holders: 2016 Not known
ISBN: 1-78138-312-X, 978-1-78138-312-4
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Philip Leverhulme PrizeNot SetThe Leverhulme Trust
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Cultures > Art History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Cultures
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 44906
Depositing User: Leon Wainwright
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2015 09:22
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:36
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