British Association for American Studies


Mariya Nikolova

Mariya is a PhD candidate at the Research Training Group ÔMinor CosmopolitanismsÕ with a joint fellowship between Potsdam University (Germany) and UNSW (Australia). She is also e member of the doctoral network ÔPerspectives in the Cultural Analysis: Black Diaspora, Decoloniality, and TransnationalismÕ.

On Breaking Dissertations, or How I Read Sideways

If a project claims to re-consider the American avant-garde and its racism, what impact does this have on academic practice as such? Mariya Nikolova argues that a critique of avant-garde movements is impossible without Black and Gender theorizations. Hence the need for a re-consideration of avant-garde’s underlying protocols. Form and formality are invariably linked to epistemological violence, to the way knowledge inhabits and inhibits understanding. Experimentation often entailed elitism, but dissidence experiments, too. This double grammar resuscitates avant-gardism and requires a careful attention. The white avant-garde claimed the former through the latter, and the fact that it did raises the question of form. When does form collapse? Is there a way to make this visible?Does a methodology exist that attends to practices of unreading and whether a White scholar could ever impede their own safety? How would self-sabotage appear in such an endeavour?