L. Stern — Oct. 24

Sensing Color: People, Plants, Policies, Places

A public lecture by Dr. Lesley Stern
Time: October 24, 2011 at Noon
Location: Student Activity Center 5.118

Abstract:  “It is the sourness of the lemon which is yellow, it is the yellow of the lemon which is sour.” Color, the color of plants, is simply phenomenal. The paper opens by exploring the sensational performance of color, especially red and magenta, in a domestic garden. But color is not stable, and nor are plants. They travel and transmogrify, are subject to the movement of hummingbirds, to international trade, and to the politics of immigration. The paper will turn its attention to the “sensing” of color in plant and human analogies as deployed by some California eugenicists in the first half of the twentieth century, and will register the reverberations of those debates in today’s coloring of the botanical and political landscape.

Biography: Lesley Stern is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of The Smoking Book (which, as Publishers Weekly puts it, “links more than 50 often stunning and always intriguing pieces in a mélange of genres, including fiction, memoir, history and criticism”) and The Scorsese Connection and co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance. Her work moves between a number of disciplinary locations and spans both theory and production: although her reputation was established in the fields of film theory and history, she is also known for her fictocritical writing. Stern was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and she has taught in a number of universities around the globe (including at the University of Zimbabwe; Glasgow University; La Trobe and Murdoch Universities; The University of New South Wales; and University of California, Irvine) before moving to UCSD in 2000. She has published extensively in the areas of film, performance, photography, cultural history, postcolonialism and feminism; her essays have appeared in journals such as ScreenM/FCamera Obscura, Film ReaderImage ForumTrafficEmergences, and Critical Inquiry. Stern’s current projects include a further work of ficto-criticism revolving around cinematic memory, and a book, Gardening in a Strange Land, on notions of native and exotic, foreign and domestic, migration and immigration.