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Black Knowledges/Black StrugglesEssays in Critical Epistemology$
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Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381724

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381724.001.0001

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Imaginary Black Topographies: What are Monuments For?

Imaginary Black Topographies: What are Monuments For?

(p.170) 7 Imaginary Black Topographies: What are Monuments For?
Black Knowledges/Black Struggles

Lubaina Himid

Liverpool University Press

This chapter seeks to reinvent the genre of contemporary travelogue through a satirical juxtaposition of travel guide material against collaged images representing Black diasporic undercurrents within European metropolitan histories. The reinvention of this genre effects the symbolic re-programming of the genre-specific ‘inner eyes’ of secular Western Man, whose code of ‘race’ rendered invisible the history of Black African and Afro-mixed descent peoples from a metropolitan secular Western memory. The chapter takes the reader through a tour of Paris and London, whereby images of monuments, stately buildings, well-known places, urban parks, and a range of other familiar sites are reinvested, literally painted over, with figurations of Black iconographic artists, political leaders, sports heroes, and intellectuals, as well as visual allusions to silenced and ignored moments of colonial and enslavist violence and Black counter-assertion. This visual re-investment shifts the issue of cognition to the realm of art as a form of epistemic intervention, doing so in this specific case as a challenge to the systemic invisibilization and/or negation of Black lives within a modern Western memory.

Keywords:   travelogues, travel guides, Black diaspora, Western Man, race, Black African, Afro-mixed descent, Black lives, Western memory

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