Northwestern Events Calendar


Warnock Lecture Series: Mabel Wilson (Columbia University)

When: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Mary Clare Meyer   847.491.3230

Group: Department of Art History

Category: Academic


Northwestern University Department of Art History presents the Warnock Lecture Series.

"Slavery, Dispossession and the Building of the Smithsonian" 

This talk probes the aesthetic and scientific project of the Smithsonian, one rooted in a developmental narrative of progress and white supremacy meant to slow a polity inching toward disunion. Its construction process relied upon local enslaved labor—Washington D.C. was a lucrative slave market— thus revealing the tensions between freedom and slavery deeply embedded in institutional formation in this period. Its scientific initiatives, including early efforts at establishing the modern disciplines of archaeology, shaped a national historical lineage and public image through paintings and engravings that provided evidence that Native Americans were a civilization in decline thereby justifying continued dispossession of lands in the West by the State.

Mabel O. Wilson (’91 M.Arch) is the Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, a Professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University.

Image: A broadside condemning the sale and keeping of slaves in the District of Columbia. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

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