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.

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.

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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 28, 2021 – Alexis Peskine

Please note: This colloquium is on a Tuesday from noon to 2pm.

“Afro-Diasporic Alchemists: We Got The Gold”

Alexis Peskine’s signature works are large-scale mixed media ‘portraits’ of the African diaspora, which are rendered by hammering nails of different gauge, with pin-point accuracy, into wood stained with coffee and mud. By applying gold leaf to the nails he creates breathtaking composite images. He depicts figures that portray strength and perseverance, with energy reminiscent of the spiritually charged Minkisi ‘power figures’ of the Congo Basin. Peskine also produces striking photography and video works.

Register here.

ART AND RACE IN FRANCE

This series was made possible with the generous support from the Office of the Provost, the Department of French and Francophone Studies, the Film Studies Program, the Center for Visual Culture, the Africana Studies Program, the Museum Studies Program, the International Studies Program, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Department of History.