Eros Ideologies: Writings on Art, Spirituality, and the Decolonial


In Eros Ideologies: Writings on Art, Spirituality, and the Decolonial (Duke University Press), Laura E. Pérez — Professor of Ethnic Studies and and Chair of the Latinx Research Center at UC Berkeley — explores the decolonial through Western and non-Western thought concerning personal and social well-being. Drawing upon Jungian, people-of-color, and spiritual psychology alongside non-Western spiritual philosophies of the interdependence of all life-forms, she writes of the decolonial as an ongoing project rooted in love as an ideology to frame respectful coexistence of social and cultural diversity.

In readings of art that includes self-portraits by Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, and Yreina D. Cervántez, the drawings and paintings of Chilean American artist Liliana Wilson, and Favianna Rodriguez’s screen-printed images, Pérez identifies art as one of the most valuable laboratories for creating, imagining, and experiencing new forms of decolonial thought. Such art expresses what Pérez calls eros ideologies: understandings of social and natural reality that foreground the centrality of respect and care of self and others as the basis for a more democratic and responsible present and future. Employing a range of writing styles and voices—from the poetic to the scholarly—Pérez shows how art can point to more just and loving ways of being.

Recorded on February 27, 2020, this “Authors Meet Critics” featured Professor Pérez in conversation with Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature & Culture, UC Berkeley; and Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, Department of Art History, UC Berkeley.

About the Speakers

Laura E. Pérez is Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and Chair of the new interdisciplinary and transAmericas research hub, the Laitnx Research Center, formerly the Center for Latino Policy Research.  She is author of Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities (Duke University Press, 2007), in which she theorized decolonial aesthetics and decolonial spiritualities while achiving the work of more than forty Chicana visual, literary, and performance artists from the early 1970s through the early 2000s. She curated UC Berkeley’s first and only US Latina/o Performance Art series in 2001-02; co-curated, with Delilah Montoya, the multimedia exhibition “Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas” at 516 ARTS gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from January-March of 2009, and curated “Labor + a(r)t + orio: Bay Area Latin@ Arts Now” at the Richmond Art Center, CA (April-June 2011). She has published in numerous publications on feminism, Chicana/o, and hemispheric decolonial cultures. She is also co-editing a book on the multimedia artist, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, with Dr. Ann Marie Leimer.

Natalia Brizuela is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature & Culture. Her work focuses on photography, film and contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics of both Spanish America and Brazil. She is the author of two books on photography. The first, Fotografia e Imperio. Paisagens para um Brasil Moderno (Cia das Letras, 2012) is a study of 19th Century photography in Brasil in its relationship to modern state formation, nationalism, modernization and race. The second, Depois da fotografia. Uma literatura fora de si (Rocco, 2014) is a study of contemporary literature in an expanded field, looking particularly at the relationship between current literary practices and photographic languages, techniques and materialities. She is also the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (2015) on photographers Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, and of a book of essays on experimental writer Osvaldo Lamborghini (2008). She is guest editing a Special Issue of Film Quarterly on Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho (forthcoming Spring 2016). She is currently at work on two book length projects. The first looks at instances of contemporary photographic production which have moved beyond the medium and material historical conditions of photography. The second one is a study of time as critique in contemporary aesthetics.

Julia Bryan-Wilson teaches modern and contemporary art, with a focus on art since 1960 in the US, Europe, and Latin America; she is also the Director of the UC Berkeley Arts Research Center. Her research interests include theories of artistic labor, feminist and queer theory, performance, production/fabrication, craft histories, photography, video, visual culture of the nuclear age, and collaborative practices. She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California Press, 2009, named a best book of the year by Artforum); Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, Thames & Hudson, 2016); and Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago, 2017, a New York Times best art book of the year and winner of the 2018 Robert Motherwell Book Award).  She is the editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Morris (MIT Press, 2013), and co-editor of two special journal issues (“Visual Activism,” Journal of Visual Culture, 2016; and “Time Zones: Durational Art in its Contexts,” Representations, 2016). With Andrea Andersson, she curated Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, which opened at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in 2017 and is travelling to the Berkeley Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, and the ICA in Philadelphia. She is currently writing a book about Louise Nevelson (under advanced contract with Yale University Press).

Watch the video above or on YouTube.



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