On Thursday March 4, 2021 at 6pm, Professor Jennifer Van Horn will deliver a virtual lecture as a part of the Dickson Lecture Series at Penn State.
Portraits from the antebellum South form a racialized visual archive; white enslavers had access to representation and enslaved people did not. Yet a handful of depictions of enslaved sitters produced in 1840s Mississippi and Louisiana complicate this claim. Portraits of Delia, Frederick, and Homer Ryan—an enslaved maid, butler, and driver—were commissioned by their enslavers and displayed in plantation parlors. These representations invite us to question the material and visual afterlives of enslavement. They spur us to ask whether such ghosts in the archive, paintings made without a person’s consent that trafficked their personhood, can ever be redeemed.
For registration details, please email Prof. Van Horn (firstname.lastname@example.org).