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“‘The gods in the trunk (or writing in a belittered world)” Key Note Address by Colin Dayan


Colin Dayan was recently the Keynote Speaker at the International Conference on “1804 & Its Afterlives,” at the Nottingham Contemporary, held in conjunction with the current exhibit, Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou, for which Professor Dayan contributed a lead essay to the Catalog . Professor Dayan’s address is available here. This conference received attention internationally, and Professor Dayan’s contributions were cited and explicated in an excellent blogs:

John Cussans, in his extensive response, Colin Dayan « Zonbi Diaspora, describes a key aspect of her presentation:

Her talk offered “a context for reconfiguring our understanding of the supernatural…that asks: What could we feel if we could feel what we experience sufficiently?” Prompted by her knowledge and experience of Vodou practice she questions the meaning of justice, the reach of cruelty and the uses of reason within the generally decorous and polite academic discussions of ‘humanism’, ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘human rights’, in an attempt to “breach the gap between body and mind, dead and living, human and non-human”.

In Cussans’ three-part series on the conference, he shows how Professor Dayan’s work resonated throughout the conference; see Part Two here. Closer to home, Professor Dayan was recently profiled by Faces of Nashville.