October 14, 2020 – Micki McElya

Professor of History
University of Connecticut

The Presenting Past: Slavery, Memory, and Reckoning

In June 2020, the Quaker Oats company (a subsidiary of PepsiCo) announced that it will retire the Aunt Jemima trademark, which it has owned since 1926. Informed by the national uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the immediate reason was a widely circulating TikTok video lambasting the trademark’s racism. This presentation examines the history of the trademark from its origins in the late 1880s to its purported imminent demise to explore questions about the normalizing functions, murderous power, and resistant possibilities of visual culture.

* Unless otherwise specified, this lecture will be recorded.