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After Kehinde Wiley’s ‘A Bacchant’ (after Bonnie Honig’s A Feminist Theory of Refusal)

By Helen Morales (University of California - Santa Barbara)

The title nods to Kehinde Wiley’s artwork ‘After John Raphael Smith’s A Bacchante (after Sir Joshua Reynolds)’ (2009). Rather as Honig invites us to look at a text anew by juxtaposing it with different texts, I am going to focus my response to her bold and brilliant book through a brief analysis of Wiley’s portrait. Wiley makes some similar critical moves to Honig. Both Wiley and Honig’s works stake a claim to classicism for those who are normally excluded from its traditions and both show the power of creative confabulation.

Migrant refusals: the inoperativity of the Asian bacchants in Euripides

By Luigi Battezzato (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

Bonnie Honig presents a powerful new counternarrative of Euripides’ Bacchae, focusing on the Theban bacchants, and mobilizing as key concepts ‘heterotopia’ and ‘inoperativity’. This paper, by contrast, focuses on the narrative provided by the Asian bacchants of the chorus, only marginally present in Honig’s discussion.  The chorus of migrant bacchants consciously offer their perspective on inoperativity, and create a series of heterotopias, materialising them onstage, via their song, and offstage, via their imagined future migrations.

“Actin’ Womanish” - Fabulation, Cosmetics, and (En)gendered Sophistry with Euripides and Hartman in Bacch(ant)ic Canon

By Vanessa Stovall (Columbia University)

In Bonnie Honig’s Feminist Theory of Refusal, she postulates Saidiya Hartman’s concept of fabulation as a feminist politic of refusal centered around the city in conjunction with the female mobility in Euripides’ Bacchae. It is the final chapter of her book which includes a multimedia analysis that curiously omits musicality from its framework, despite the fact that the Bacchae was a form of theater more closely resembling the modern musical rather than the modern stage drama.

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