The University of Arizona

Two-Part Event to Focus on Latino Identity, Culture

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications | April 2, 2012

Internationally renowed scholar José Esteban Muñoz and documentary filmmaker Wu Tsang will present during an April 4 event hosted by the UA's Institute for LGBT Studies.

José Esteban Muñoz, a professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, teaches courses in comparative ethnic studies, queer theory and critical theory. He is the author or editor of several highly regarded works.
José Esteban Muñoz, a professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, teaches courses in comparative ethnic studies, queer theory and critical theory. He is the author or editor of several highly regarded works.

José Esteban Muñoz, an internationally renowned professor of performance studies at New York University, will be in Tucson this week to discuss cultural, economic and creative resources held collectively by a population.

Muñoz is delivering the 2012 Miranda Joseph Endowed Lecture at the University of Arizona. The April 4 event will be held in Room 140 Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, or ILC, 1500 E. University Blvd.

The annual lecture was established to honor Joseph, interim head of the UA's gender and women's studies department, for her foundational contributions to LGBT studies. The series brings to the UA an acclaimed scholar working at the intersections of sex, race and globalization.

Muñoz's lecture, "The Brown Commons: The Sense of Wildness," is drawn from his forthcoming book, "The Sense of Brown."

As an added attraction, filmmaker Wu Tsang will present the Arizona premiere screening of his film, "Wildness," after Muñoz's lecture. The film, which premiered last month at New York MoMA's DocFortnight Film Festival, will be screened in Room 140 at 7:30 p.m. A reception will be held at 7 p.m. 

"When José told me the topic of the lecture we'd invited him to give, I knew right away I wanted Wu to bring his film, too," said Susan Stryker, who directs the UA's Institute for LGBT Studies.

"It makes the perfect second half of a dynamite double feature," Stryker also said. "We're thrilled they both can join us."

Both events are free and open to the public. 

In his lecture, Muñoz will explore, in part, the idea of a "commons," or set of culturally based, economic or creative resources held by specific populations. His talk will focus on the idea of a "brown commons" rooted in Latino/a culture, which is an especially relevant contemporary topic.

Muñoz asks: "What would a commons that included working-class transgendered immigrants and queer punks and artists look like?"

He answers this question through a discussion of Tsang's film, "Wildness," which was released this year.

Tsang's film details the story of Los Angeles's Silver Platter bar, which Tsang and a group of young queer artists took over every Tuesday night to host edgy queer performance work. 

The film documents the intersection of migrant and resident Latino communities, queer-of-color performance art and ways that "cultural capital" circulates among night life, street life, high art, higher education and political activism.

At the same time, the film calls the viewer's attention to the larger urban environment surrounding the club and showcases the related histories of violence against immigrants and the gay community. 

Muñoz's analysis of the film launches a more expansive consideration of brownness as a particular "sense of the world," one in which "the striving, conflicts and flourishing of people, spaces, objects and feelings" become a vital common resource for social transformation. 

Contacts

Caren Zimmerman

UA Institute for LGBT Studies

520-626-3421

lgbs@email.arizona.edu


Susan Stryker

UA Institute for LGBT Studies

520-282-0369

susanstryker@email.arizona.edu