“Othello Was My Grandfather”: Race and Shakespeare in the African Diaspora

This talk explores connections between Shakespeare and freedom dreams in the African Diaspora. It first outlines a tension between the ways that “Shakespeare” and blackness have been valued in the 400 years since Shakespeare’s birth. It then gives examples of the ways that black writers and actors in the early twentieth century used Shakespeare when grappling with constructions of blackness and race in the United States.

Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Kim Hall, Barnard College

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“Lexicon of Liberation”: Imaging Slavery and Imagining Freedom in the African Atlantic Diaspora

This talk will explore the writings, drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture produced by African, African American, African Caribbean, and Black British women and men, enslaved and free, living and working across the Black Diaspora over the centuries. Living and dying against a white racist backdrop that sought to destroy Black bodies and souls, they generated alternative art-making traditions and experimental writerly practices that constitute nothing less than “declarations of independence.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Celeste-Marie Bernier, University of Edinburgh

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Novel Sounds II: American Fiction in the Age of Rock and Roll

The second installment of the public program Novel Sounds: American Fiction in the Age of Rock and Roll will be held at the Center March 3, 2017. This conference, Novel Sounds II, will provide a forum for examining rock and roll as a literary form of expression crucially shaping our national heritage. Panelists will explore the surprising reciprocity between the apparently irreverent form of rock and roll and serious literature.

Friday, March 3, 2017 from 1:00–5:30 pm

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The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Oyster

From the 1840s to 1910s, oysters flourished in the polluted estuaries of America’s industrial cities. Their rise and collapse are equally astonishing. Today, oysters are once again on the menu. But what was once a staple of the urban working poor, grown within the city, has become a luxury, produced in rural places. The rise and fall of oysters is a microcosm of changes in food production and consumption in the modern era. It can teach us what people ate, where food was produced and how the city became a place solely for consumers.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Matthew Booker, North Carolina State University

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Vicious Vikings as Cultural Ambassadors

Popular sources present the Vikings as ruthless warriors yet also take great pains to portray their decorated weapons, jewelry, clothing, houses, and ships—that is, their art. In this talk Nancy Wicker will discuss the patrons who sponsored that art, the artisans who made the objects, and the men and women who used the works, at home in Scandinavia as well as across the diaspora where Vikings raided, traded, and settled, from the North Atlantic to Russia and beyond.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Nancy Wicker, University of Mississippi

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Textiles in Tiers: Selected Works from Sandy Milroy, Trudy Thomson, and Rose Warner

“Textiles in Tiers” showcases the work of Chapel Hill artists Sandy Milroy, Trudy Thomson, and Rose Warner. Using a mix of materials and a variety of techniques, these three artists create colorful, textured pieces that captivate and intrigue. And, while each artist’s works speak to their distinctive vision and approach, it is quickly apparent that they share a vernacular and a keen attention to bold expressions built on layers of intricate detail.

January 9 – May 25, 2017
Artists’ Reception: Sunday, January 29, 2017