Upcoming Events

Kimberly Juanita Brown: "Afterimages of History: The Poetics of Photography in the Contemporary"

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March 24, 2015 4:30 PM  – 6:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

Dr. Kimberly Juanita Brown considers the fraught terrain of word and image in the twentieth-century construction of black identity. Marking painful historical moments that both frame and extend the parameters of racialized existence, Brown seeks to reconcile the import and utility of African American art practices heavily dependent on the visual. Using works from Audre Lorde, Michael S. Harper, and Lucille Clifton alongside photographs by Roy DeCarava and Carrie Mae Weems, she will explore the layered contingency of imagery within the arena of black subjectivity.

Brown is currently lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. Her research and teaching gather at the intersection of critical race theory and visual culture studies. Her book (forthcoming from Duke University Press), The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary examines contemporary representations of slavery that emphasize the repetition of black women’s corporeal practices in the aftermath of the event of slavery.  A second project, Their Dead Among Us: Photography, Melancholy, and The Politics of the Visual, will explore the photographic dispossession of the body of the other and patterns of exclusion engendered by these ocular practices. 

Sponsored by the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund, Departments of Art History and Africana Studies, and Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Craig Steven Wilder, Russwurm Lecture: 'Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities'

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March 31, 2015 6:30 PM  – 8:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Craig Steven Wilder, professor of history at MIT and a leading historian of race in America, will deliver the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture in the Main Lounge of Moulton Union. A reception in the Russwurm House Library will precede the lecture at 5:00pm. Both events are free and open to the public. 

Professor Wilder will examine the contrasting figures of "the matriculating Indian" and "the uneducable Negro" to explore the limits on access to higher education in the second half of the 18th century. Looking closely at the experiences of two friends, the Reverend Samson Occom - a member of the Mohegan nation who became a Presbyterian minister, and poet Phillis Wheatley - the first African-American woman to be published, Professor Wilder will demonstrate how illusory were even the modest hopes of education held by Native and enslaved Americans. Though hailed by well-wishers as possessors of exceptional talents, Occum and Wheatley could find no institutional structures that would support them in intellectual, literary, or religious pursuits. 

This lecture stems from Wilder's important and widely reviewed new study, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, where he argues that many of America's revered colleges and universities were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color.

Professor Wilder is a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, where he has served as a guest lecturer, commencement speaker, academic advisor, and visiting professor. For more than a decade, this innovative program has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to acquire a college education during their incarcerations in the New York State prison system. 

He has advised and appeared in numerous historical documentaries, including the celebrated Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon film, The Central Park Five; Kelly Anderson's highly praised exploration of gentrification, My Brooklyn; the History Channel's F.D.R.: A Presidency Revealed; and Ric Burn's award-winning PBS series, New York: A Documentary History

Named after the first African-American graduate of Bowdoin College (class of 1826), the John Brown Russwurm lecture series explores "the legacy and status of Black Americans". Notable speakers include Robert Levine, Lani Guinier, Carl Stokes, Vernon Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Hooks, and Julian Bond, among others.

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Zaheer Ali: "From Malcolm Little to El Hajj Malik Shabazz: A Journey of Faith"

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April 7, 2015 5:00 PM  – 8:00 PM
Searles Science Building, Room 315

Most discussions of Malcolm X's life tend to emphasize his politics and downplay the role of religion in his life. Or, if they do address his religion, these examinations often see Islam as something that Malcolm truly embraces only after leaving the Nation of Islam and making his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. This talk examines the ways that religion in general, and Islam in particular, figured very early in Malcolm's life, and provided a passport for his growing internationalist politics.

Zaheer Ali is a PhD candidate in history at Columbia University. Under the direction of the late Manning Marable, he served as one of the project managers and a senior researcher of the Malcolm X Project (MXP), a multi-year research initiative on the life and legacy of Malcolm X.

Free and open to the public.

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Anne Sarah Rubin: "Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and American Memory"

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April 16, 2015 4:30 PM  – 6:00 PM
Hubbard Hall, Room 208 Thomas F. Shannon Room

Sherman's March, cutting a path through Georgia and the Carolinas, is among the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War. In this presentation, Anne Sarah Rubin uncovers and unpacks stories and myths about the March from a wide variety of sources, including African Americans, women, Union soldiers, Confederates, and even Sherman himself. Drawing her evidence from an array of media, including travel accounts, memoirs, literature, films, and newspapers, Rubin uses the competing and contradictory stories as a lens into the way that American thinking about the Civil War has changed over time.

Anne Sarah Rubin is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Part of the Enhancing the Humanities at Bowdoin Civil War Era Cluster.

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Cristina Malcolmson: 'Studies of Skin Color in the Early Royal Society'

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April 23, 2015 4:30 PM  – 5:30 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

In her most recent book, Studies of Skin Color in the Early Royal Society: Boyle, Cavendish, Swift (Ashgate, 2013), Cristina Malcolmson demonstrates how unstable the idea of race remained in England at the end of the seventeenth century, and yet how extensively the intertwined institutions of government, colonialism, the slave trade, and science were collaborating to usher it into public view.

Arguing that the early Royal Society moved science toward racialization by giving skin color a new prominence as an object of experiment and observation, Malcolmson provides the first book-length examination of studies of skin color in the society. She also brings new light to the relationship between early modern literature, science, and the establishment of scientific racism in the nineteenth century.

Malcolmson, professor of English at Bates College, has also written The 'Empire of Man over the Inferior Creatures': British Women, Race, and Seventeenth-Century Science for The Palgrave History of British Women's Writing, and a collaborative article with Ruth Paley (first author) and Michael Hunter on 'Parliament and Slavery 1660-c.1700' which appeared in the journal Slavery and Abolition in 2010.

Sponsored by the English Department. For more information, contact department coordinator Laurie Holland at 207-725-3552 or lholland@bowdoin.edu.

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