Oct. 23 | Staging Africans: Race and Representation in Early Modern European Theaters |Maison Française, Columbia

Please join us for Staging Africans: Race and Representation in Early Modern European Theaters, a multidisciplinary conference on Friday, October 23 (9:00am – 5:00pm) in the East Gallery, Buell Hall, at Columbia University. Main campus entrance at Broadway and 116th St. Full conference agenda included below.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Department of English and Comparative Literature, GSAS, Columbia Maison Française, Theatre Program, Department of French, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Dean of Humanities, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Center for French and Francophone Studies, Department of Art History and Archeology.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Staging Africans: Race and Representation in Early Modern European Theaters

Full-Day Conference

9:00am – 5:00pm

This multidisciplinary one-day conference will bring together nationally and internationally recognized specialists of early modern European cultures to investigate the representation of race in the theatrical cultures of early modern European colonial powers. How did visual culture and theatrical culture influence each other in each of the European metropoles when it came to representing African subjects? How did the theatrical cultures of those various metropoles influence one another in this respect? And what does this network of influences tell us about the emergence of the notion of race in the period? Finally, what are the relations between the representation of Africans on stage in European metropoles and the development of color-based slavery in their colonies across the Atlantic in the 16th and 17th centuries? Those are the fundamental questions that this conference will try to answer.

Our speakers specialize in critical race studies, early modern theater (England, France, Spain), art history (Italy, Spain), visual culture (England, Netherlands) and early modern cultures at large (Portugal, Netherlands). While studies of the representation of Africans in early modern culture have been traditionally limited by national boundaries, this conference ambitiously aims to establish, for the first time, a dialogue between the regimes of racial representation used by all the early modern competitors in the Atlantic race to empire: England, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands – and Italy. This conference promotes a comparative methodology, based on the idea that the transnational approach is the most exciting and most productive way to advance critical race studies in the early modern field today.


Conference Agenda

9:00 a.m. Welcome Greetings and coffee

9.15-10: Keynote address by Peter Erickson (English, Northwestern)

10-11: First duet (Anglo-Italian). Joaneath Spicer (Art History, Walters Museum) and Paul Kaplan (Art History, SUNY). Chaired by Julie Peters (Theatre, Columbia).

11.1512.15 p.m.: Second duet (Anglo-French). Christian Biet (Theatre, Paris X-Nanterre) and Noémie Ndiaye (Theatre, Columbia). Chaired by Madeleine Dobie (French, Columbia)

1-2.30: First panel (Anglo-Dutch). Kim F. Hall (English and Africana Studies, Barnard college), Virginia Mason Vaughan (English, Clark University), and Allison Blakely (Dutch, Boston college). Chaired by Alan Stewart (English, Columbia)

2.45-4.15: Second panel (Luso-Spanish). Josiah Blackmore (Portuguese studies, Harvard), Baltasar Fra-Molinero (Spanish, Bates college), and Thomas B.F. Cummins (Art History, Harvard). Chaired by Jesús R. Velasco (Spanish, Columbia).

4.30-5: Closing address by Jean Howard (English, Columbia)

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