Photo of Makeda D. Best, Ph.D.(www.bampfa.org)
When Sojourner Truth declared that she sold the “shadow” (photographic portraits of herself) to support the “substance” (the causes of abolition and the rights of women), she recognized the power of images to shape opinion and create economic value. How did the former slave strategically deploy and circulate photography as a form of political activism? Join a conversation with UC Berkeley professors Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby (History of Art) and Leigh Raiford (African American Studies) and photographer/photography historian Makeda Best of the California College of the Arts on the uses to which photography has been put in the African American struggle for political change.
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley. Grigsby specializes in eighteenth- through early twentieth-century French and American art and visual and material culture, particularly in relation to the politics of race, slavery, and colonialism. She is the author of three books: Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France (2002); Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Panama Canal(2012); and Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance(2015).
Leigh Raiford is associate professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle (2011).
Makeda Best, assistant professor in Visual Studies at the California College of the Arts, is an historian of photography. She is currently revising a book on the Civil War–era photographer Alexander Gardner, and coediting a volume titled Conflict, Identity and Protest in American Art.
See: BAMPFA Roundtable Discussion
Call for papers: deadline Friday, July 22, 2016.
Black Chronicles at the National Portrait Gallery. Installation photo: Zoe Maxwell at Autograph-apb.co.uk
Check out this photograph of a uhaul van featuring the underground railroad as part of a new advertising campaign. Discuss.
Call for papers for a special issue of Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies
African Photography: Realism and After
The place and meaning of photographs in Africa has shifted dramatically
over time, from colonial and ethnographic practices to radical new forms
of contemporary representation. Photographs circulate as documents, as
remnants in the aftermath of violence and dislocation, as both public
and private records of celebration, kinship and dwelling, and as
artworks. Photography offers a suggestive surface for engagements with
questions of both the imaginary and the real. This special issue of
Social Dynamics invites papers that explore the history, theory and
practice of photography across the continent.
Topics might include:
The role of portraits and family albums
Photographs of public figures
Photography and the history and memory of slavery
African photography and postcolonial modernity
Reading photographs as colonial documents
Photography and liberation struggles
Photography and national history
Local histories of photography
Art photography and imaginative transformation
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words by the 22 February 2013 to:
Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies is a peer-reviewed journal
that is published three times a year by Taylor & Francis in electronic
and print format. The journal is based at the Centre for African
Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is edited by
Louise Green and Kylie Thomas.
For more information about the journal see: