Art History: Black Bodies, White Gold: Cotton, Race and Representation in the United States
Black Bodies, White Gold: Cotton, Race and Representation in the United States
Presenter: Anna Arabindan-Kesson
This talk examines the visual relationship between the cotton trade and the representation of Black lives in American culture, using historical case studies and contemporary art.
Juxtaposing contemporary interventions with historical moments, it examines how cotton materially influenced the way Black people were seen, and how Black Americans saw themselves, as both enslaved and free. It argues that tracing this relationship deepens our understanding of the intersections of vision, value and subjectivity in the production of racial identity in nineteenth-century United States, and also today.
Anna Arabindan-Kesson is an assistant professor of African American and Black Diasporic art jointly appointed in the Departments of African American Studies and Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Born in Sri Lanka, she completed undergraduate degrees in New Zealand and Australia and worked as a Registered Nurse before completing her PhD in African American Studies and Art History at Yale University. Her first book is called Black Bodies White Gold: Art, Cotton and Commerce in the Atlantic World and will be published in May 2021 with Duke University Press.
This event will be held online via Zoom.
Upcoming seminars this semester:
Lorraine Kypiotis, “Lucien Henry, Alexander Murray and the Australian Ethos” Raha Shahidi, “Boucher and the Moliere Illustrations”
Nina Stromqvist, “The Border, taking the ancient Nordic tradition of allemansrätten or ‘everyman’s right’ as a conceptual proposition”
Mimi Kelly, “New Refractions of Self: Social Media and the Digital Woman”
Diana Reynolds, “Religious Foundations as Second Voices: The Victoria Contemporary Figurative Artist, 1848-1870”