"Atlantic Aesthetics: François Makandal, Fetishes, and the Sensorium," Monique Allewaert (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
The talk discusses the African-born slave-turned-maroon François Makandal as well as the mythologies that have swirled around him from the eighteenth century till today, particularly those linked to his prophecy that he would become a fly to avoid capture by colonial authorities. The author focuses on how this prophecy of becoming-insect links up to the practice of fetishism for which he was executed, following out what this means for how we think aesthetics in the plantation zone. Monique Allewaert is Associate Professor of Early American Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Ariel’s Ecology: Plantations, Personhood, and Colonialism in the American Tropics, 1760-1820 (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).