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Peace, Activism, and the Arts: Contested Terrain, Possible Pathways
Tue October 26, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
The arts – music, poetry, theatre, visual arts, dance, and more – have been proclaimed as a way of achieving peace. “Music brings people together,” we are told. These narratives, which also assert that music is a universal language that transcends borders, unfortunately neglect the reality that the arts often have been used in ways that serve the purposes of the ruling class: e.g., to strengthen structural and systemic violence and exclusion, to reinforce white supremacy, to establish colonial hegemony, to normalize various forms of violence, and to silence marginalized people. This expropriation and exploitation of the arts is particularly tragic because all those creative endeavors can bring joy, inspiration, and respite to all of humankind in all of its diversity. Make love, not war, and do art, not damage. These goals are in our hands.
This webinar will explore these issues, drawing attention to the contested and complex relationships between the arts and peace and justice. The webinar will also present examples of arts activism from the Mexico-U.S. border; Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world; and race and mass incarceration. In breakout rooms during the second part of the webinar, André de Quadros will lead innovative activities that encourage participants to create poetry, art, song, dance and/or other artistic work.
A Latino Asian, Dr. André de Quadros is an activist, ethnomusicologist, and arts educator, whose professional work has taken him to the most diverse settings in more than 40 countries, including prisons, war zones, and poverty locations. He has worked with refugees and victims of torture, sexual violence, and trauma. He is a professor of music at Boston University, where he holds affiliations in African, African American, Asian, Jewish, Latin American, Muslim studies, and prison education. He is affiliated with BU’s Center for Antiracist Research, the Initiative on Cities, the Pardee School Initiative on Forced Migration and Human Trafficking, and The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. In 2019, he was a Distinguished Academic Visitor at the University of Cambridge.