Global Entanglements: Undoing Racial Stereotypes in Czech Art, Design, and Literature

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Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description With examples from fine art, design and literature, this panel challenges the celebratory accounts of Czech entanglements with global cultures in the first half of the twentieth century. Some individuals like the writer Vladislav Vančura and the painter Milada Marešová disputed colonial attitudes through their work. Others, such as the writers Konstantin Biebl and Jaroslav Hašek, the designers Helena Johnová, Zdeněk Rykr and the painter Toyen, adopted and capitalized on “exotic” experiences as an artistic trope. This panel focuses on the normalization, popularization and commodification of race in Czech visual and literary culture. The questions that the presentations will address include: how did the political changes in 20th century Central Europe impact Czech views of the world? To what extent did artists from a non-colonial state adopt colonial attitudes? What are the long-term effects of colonial and anti-colonial viewpoints on Czech culture? What can discussions about Czech complicity bring to the project of decolonization?
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