The National Portrait Gallery cordially invites you and your colleagues to the upcoming Richardson Symposium Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture organized by Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw from the University of Pennsylvania. It takes place Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5. at the National Portrait Gallery. Registration is open through this link.
National Portrait Gallery Richardson Symposium: Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture
Throughout American history, different forms of racial masquerade have been used to engage issues of difference and group identity. While this kind of dress up has sometimes been a celebratory act or used by oppressed communities to mock those in power, it has more often been employed in the opposite direction by those in power to dehumanize minorities and reassert existing control over them. In the 19th century, blackface minstrelsy and theatrical stage performance emerged as popular entertainments in the United States and parts of Latin America. In the 20th century, racial masquerade became a regular part of Hollywood film as white actors impersonated Native American and Asian-descended characters through the use of often grotesque makeup and mannerisms. This symposium will bring together scholars and artists who engage these histories in their work. It will also examine contemporary instances of racial masquerade in American culture and the way that such performances of false identity continue to shape the ways that Americans see themselves and others.
Friday, Nov. 4
Keynote: Eric Lott, The Graduate Center at CUNY
Saturday, Nov. 5
Session One: Scholarly Papers
Introduction and end of panel questions moderation by Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, University of Pennsylvania
Session Two: Moderated Artists’ Conversation
Introduction by Jillian B. Vaum, University of Pennsylvania, and Moderation by Cherise Smith, The University of Texas at Austin
5:30 p.m. Identify: Sheldon Scott
In this performance titled, Precious in Da Wadah, A Portrait of the Geechee revisit the ingenuity of enslaved Africans in the Gulalah and Geechee regions of costal South Carolina through the performance art of Sheldon Scott.
Racial Masquerade in American Art and Culture
Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5.
Jacqueline Petito - (202) 633-8505