April 14, 2021 – Julien Suaudeau

Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies
Director of Film Studies
Bryn Mawr College

The Politics of Art and Race in France

On the walls of the National Assembly in Paris, a fresco commemorates the first abolition of slavery in France (1794). Why is this piece using the codes of racist iconography? The presentation will explain how the painting has remained on display for 30 years, although it seems to be defeating its own symbolic purpose. Exploring the multiple layers of denial that protect this “work of art”, we will highlight its organic connection with the repression of France’s colonial history and with the post-racial utopia that the country has built for itself.

Please register in advance for this meeting.