The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs,
along with the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University presents
“Slavery and the Art of Race”
Friday, October 20, 2017, 11-12:30
Berkley Center, 3307 M St. NW, Suit 200
(Third Floor Conference Room)
Roshini Kempadoo, Sweetness and Light (1995)
This paper aims to underscore the long association between nakedness, race and slavery, as one element in a larger project which argues that nakedness was a key historical construct on which morality, aesthetics and scientific practice have drawn significantly. In the European empires, where the calibration of difference was paramount, nakedness acquired hierarchical significance and came to define savagery and subjecthood; even earlier it had signified absence and loss. As debates around Atlantic and other forms of slavery crystallised from the eighteenth century, a critical politics developed around the politics of depicting the slave body, whether visually or textually. Marcus Woods provocatively asked “what do we want to learn from the visual archive of slavery?” This is an attempt to answer that important question.
Philippa Levine holds the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin and is Co-Director of the University’s Program in British Studies. Her books include Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire, The British Empire, Sunrise to Sunset, and most recently Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction. She is at work on a book on nakedness.