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‘No one could prevent us making good use of our eyes’: Enslaved Spectators and Iconoclasts on Southern Plantations


Featuring Jennifer Van Horn

The Newcomb Art Department and New Orleans Center for the Gulf South present a lecture by Jennifer Van Horn, Associate Professor of Art History and History, University of Delaware.

‘No one could prevent us making good use of our eyes’: Enslaved Spectators and Iconoclasts on Southern Plantations

Thursday, September 10, 6pm CDT

The lecture will take place online

This lecture uses the portrait to tell an alternative history of American art: how enslaved people mobilized portraiture in acts of artistic defiance.It traces the ways that bondpeople denied planters’ authority and reversed dehumanization by gazing on white elites’ portraits, an act of rebellion that remains understudied.  

Representation and Resistance: Scholarship Centering Race in Western Art
Featuring a diverse array of scholars, such as Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Jennifer Van Horn, and Caitlin Beach, this virtual lecture series will showcaseresearch that centers BIPOC people as artists, as subjects of representation, and as viewers.Talks in the series will illuminate the intersections of race and representation, including strategies of resistance employed by artists and spectators of color, in the visual and material cultures of the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean from the early modern period through the nineteenth century.All talks will be presented via Zoom and will be free and open to the public.
This lecture series has been organized by Mia L. Bagneris and Michelle Foa of the Newcomb Art Department and is being co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.


[Image Caption: Daphne Williams, Age about 100, 1936-38]


Newcomb Art Department

For more information contact: Dr. Michelle Foa via email to mfoa@tulane.edu