February 9, 2022 – Ana Lucia Araujo

Professor of History, Howard University
“Exhibiting Slavery: A Visual History of Slave Collars”

Several permanent and temporary exhibitions in Europe and the Americas have attempted to represent slavery by featuring physical punishment. To achieve this goal most exhibitions display instruments of torture such as chains, shackles, and collars. To understand the broad implications of these representations of violence, this lecture attempts to build a visual history of slave collars. First, I retrace the use of lave collars to Antiquity. Second, I use engravings and paintings dating between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries to show how the representation of slave collars was widespread in European art during this period, therefore confirming the visible presence of enslaved people in Europe. Third, I connect these representations to similar devices today housed in museum collections in the Netherlands, Portugal, England, Brazil, and the United States. Finally, I discuss the broad implications of displaying this kind of torture device in museum exhibitions today.

Please register here.

March 14, 2022 – Special Evening Lecture with Artist and Curator, Elia Alba

Monday, 7PM

Artist talk.

Elia Alba (she/her) was born in Brooklyn to parents who immigrated from the Dominican Republic in the 1950s. She is a multidisciplinary artist whose artistic practice is concerned with the social and political complexity of race, identity and the collective community. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in 1994 and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 2001. She has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Those include the Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Science Museum, London; Smithsonian Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, National Museum of Art, Reina Sofía, Madrid. Awards include the Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in Residence Program 1999; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant 2002; Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant 2002 and 2008; Anonymous Was A Woman Award 2019; Latinx Artist Fellowship 2021. Collections include the Smithsonian Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, Lowe Art Museum. Her book, Elia Alba, The Supper Club (Hirmer 2019) brings together artists, scholars and performers of diasporic cultures, through photography, food and dialogue to examine race and culture in the United States.

Please register here.

April 13, 2022 – Genevieve Yue

Assistant Professor of Culture and Media
Director of Screen Studies, Eugene Lang College, the New School

“The Woman in the Film Archive”

The film archive is outwardly governed by a rational, orderly system, though less attention is given to the operation of desire that undergirds it. In archival theory, this is sometimes articulated as a quest for Gradiva, a chimerical woman from an obscure early twentieth century novella by Wilhelm Jensen. In this talk, trace the Gradivan motif of the vanished woman from writings by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida to its expression in films by Bill Morrison, Cheryl Dunye, and Radha May.

Please register here.

April 20, 2022 – Alicia Walker

Professor, Department of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College

“The Materiality of Xaris in Early Byzantium”

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The Greek word xaris was associated with the idea of divine grace in early Christian thought. Less often recognized, however, the term had deep roots in the Greco-Roman pagan tradition, which associated xaris with the radiating beauty and charisma of the gods. Alicia Walker reconsiders a corpus of early Byzantine gold jewelry that is typically explained in terms of Christian iconographic and theological principles. She proposes these objects should instead be understood as bridging Greco-Roman ideals of physical beauty and allure with emerging early Christian principles of spiritual power.

September 13, 2021 – 7 PM Evening Lecture with Zakiyyah Iman Jackson

Associate Professor of English
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Southern California

“Black Light: On the Origin and Materiality of Blackness”

Aesthesis is a political matter, such that black folk have often sought to challenge a mode of representation that mythologizes blackness as mere absence or lack. There is artmaking that seeks to transfigure both the void blackness is thought to represent and a known world whose “facts” depend on a fiction of black vacancy. These are works that, in the words of curator, Adrienne Edwards, “are philosophically charged, culturally compounded abstractions” and figurations “that point to discourse beyond medium and art movements,” alternately affirming nothing or attuning to the indeterminacy and incalculability of blackness, whether blackness be attributed to person, place, or thing. This is not to suggest that double-consciousness and its deposits can be easily uprooted, but rather that perception and its organization are meaningful and necessarily remain a ground of contestation. This talk concerns the reflective and refractive potentialities of blackness as well as its density or fullness that exceed the capture of mimetic representation. It highlights works that critically explore the received terms and limits of representation in the interest of the dissolution of given categories and conceptual forms. Focusing particular attention on Faith Ringgold’s Black Light and American People series, this talk explores blackness as varied, multi-dimensional, and a light source in its own right.

Professor Jackson is the author of Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World.

This event is co-hosted by the Bryn Mawr College Africana Studies Program and the Haverford College Visual Studies Program.

7:00 pm (via zoom).

Register here.