University of Rochester

EVENT: Speaker Series on Visual Culture, African Diaspora Begins

October 18, 2005

James Allen, who created an exhibit on the horrors of lynchings of African Americans in the South, and Natasha Barnes, a scholar who has written on that subject, will speak at 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

Their discussion related to the exhibit, "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," will begin a yearlong series of events on the theme of Visual Culture & the African Diaspora. Free programs will explore political, economic, and social issues that deal with race and identity. The series is organized and sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies and the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester.

The photographs, many of which were bought and sold as souvenir postcards, depict the torture and death of men and women from the 1870s to the 1960s. In recent years, the exhibit traveled to several galleries and museums. The photographs were collected by Allen, a museum curator, and John Littlefield.

Barnes is associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Illinois in Chicago whose research involves African-American literature, Caribbean literature, and cultural studies. She is the author of Cultural Conundrums: Race, Gender, Nation, and the Making of Caribbean Cultural Politics (University of Michigan Press). She and Allen are fellows at the Cornell Humanities Center this year.

The theme of Visual Culture & the African Diaspora will encompass a number of University and communitywide events that showcase the work of internationally renowned artists and scholars. Offerings will include public lectures, installations, and film screenings to gain "a greater understanding of the relationship between social-political migrations and cultural production to the larger Rochester community."

This fall, the work of British filmmaker Isaac Julien ties together several programs leading up to his visit to Rochester for a lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Gowen Room of Wilson Commons on the River Campus. All programs will be free and open to the public. For more information on Visual Culture & the African Diaspora, contact the Frederick Douglass Institute at (585) 275-7235.