Events | "Dealing with Disenchantment: Aesthetic Enlightenment & the Art of Decolonization" - Conversation with Nikita Dhawan, María do Mar Castro Varela, Andrea Patiño Contreras & Tania Bruguera

Goethe-Institut Boston | October 2, 2023 | 3:30 PM (PDT)

As part of their 2023 Thomas Mann Fellowships, scholars Nikita Dhawan and María do Mar Castro Varela will visit the east coast for several lectures and discussions with partners in the U.S. At the Goethe-Institut Boston they will be joined in a conversation by installation and performance artist Tania Bruguera and video journalist Andrea Patiño Contreras.

In times of multiple crises, it is imperative to (re)examine the mandate of art. What role should art play in the face of rising social injustices? Could critical artistic practices facilitate transnational justice and democracy, protecting and promoting human rights? Or should art remain non-purposive? Given that art functions within structures of capitalism and coloniality, the role of art and art institutions is ambivalent. Can the political labor of training the imagination mitigate unjust structures and practices?

To find answers to these pressing questions, Nikita Dhawan and Maria do Mar Castro Varela, presently fellows at the Thomas Mann House in L.A., discuss with installation and performance artist Tania Bruguera if and how an aesthetic education can help us imagine a planetary future.


María do Mar Castro Varela studied psychology and pedagogy at the University of Cologne and earned her doctorate in political science at the Justus Liebig University Giessen. She is a professor of general education and social work with a focus on gender and queer at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Science in Berlin. Her research focus on social justice, digital hate and conspiracy theories, and issues of emancipation.


Nikita Dhawan studied German Studies, Philosophy und Gender Studies at Mumbai University and Ruhr-University Bochum. She holds the Chair in Political Theory and History of Ideas at the Technical University Dresden. Her research and teaching focuses on global justice, human rights, democracy and decolonization.



Tania Bruguera is a research and performance artist who earned her MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the founder and director of Cátedra Arte de Conducta (Behavior Art School), the first performance studies program in Latin America. Bruguera’s work is in the permanent collections of many institutions around the world, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.

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6:00 PM (EDT)


Goethe-Institut Boston

170 Beacon Street,

Boston, MA IL 02116

An event in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Boston.

Goethe Institut

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