Dr. Jon Carter to give guest lecture at Princeton University: Jon Carter | Inscribing the Criminal Skin: Underworld Aesthetics and the Flesh of Post-Liberal Futures in Honduras
Over the last thirty years in northern Central America, young people seeking an alternative to the exploitation of corporate globalization and the predation of neoliberal governmentality have established a sprawling network of "gangs," or underground communities dedicated to survival by illicit means. While many scholars have highlighted the transnational continuity of these groups across national boundaries, the social and symbolic forms that link them are also shaped and made meaningful within the singularities of context. In Honduras, where US covert operations of the 1980s consolidated narcotrafficking cartels as a source of funding for the Contra war, understanding the proliferation of gang communities has also required understanding the historical imbrication of state and criminal power. In this talk Jon Carter will look back to the mid 2000s when gang tattooing in Honduras reached a peak, and young people across the country covered their bodies and faces in intricate tableaux of occult and satanic images. He asks how these dramatic compositions of skulls, demons, angels, and the symbolic ruins of underground communities of the past, so often dismissed as kitsch, might be understood politically -- a refusal of the linguistic and conceptual conventions of late liberalism that instead addresses the crises of present through a critical and revanchist aesthetics recognizable as baroque.
Link here: https://plas.princeton.edu/events/2022/jon-carter-inscribing-criminal-skin-underworld-aesthetics-and-flesh-post-liberal