Conferences: Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West

By ARC Magazine Sunday, January 6th, 2013 Categories: Confrences, Updates

The theme of this year’s conference is on the black body in the west.  NYU faculty, international scholars, students, and invited guests will together explore new ways to discuss images and experiences of how the black body is imagined in the West. How might we understand the expansive experiences from historical perceptions and contemporary art? Conference participants will unite across diverse disciplines and topics through a shared commitment to analyzing the body politics.

For entire conference schedule visit here.

The Merchant of Venice, 2010 Kiluanji Kia Hena

How the black body has been imagined in the West has always been a rich site for global examination and contestation. The representation and depiction of black peoples often has been governed by prevailing attitudes about race and sexuality. From the ubiquitous Renaissance paintings of blacks as the “other” positioned as the sublime backdrop or purposely attracting the lustful gaze of the other, to the recent French Elle magazine article on First Lady Michelle Obama’s sense of style finally filtering down to the fashion-strapped black masses, to the Italian Voguespecial issue on African fashion, there is evidence that discussion of the black body remains relevant.

How the black body is displayed and viewed changes with each generation constantly allowing young diasporic generations from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, the U.K., Middle East, and the Caribbean to add their own dimensions to explore ideas about reinvention and self-representation. The universality of black culture and its global presence has played a leading role in mainstream sports, music, fashion and the performing and visual arts with implications worthy of much critique.

Paris, an internationally key and highly influential Western space in all things concerning the arts and modernity, is the perfect stage for Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West, the fifth in a series of conferences organized by Harvard University and NYU since 2004. The event is the result of an international collaboration between the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the Institute for African American Affairs, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, and NYU Paris. This year, our collaborators also include Cornell University, Musée du quai Branly, FSHM, L’Ecole Nationalae Superieure des Beaux Arts, and NYU Paris.


This conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Seating may be limited and will be managed on a first come, first serve basis. Register now. For more information visit the conference’s campaign.

Presentation venues 

Thursday, January 17, 2013 
École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
14 Rue Bonaparte – 75006
Closest Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon, Rue du Bac
Friday, January 18, 2013 
University Paris Diderot-Paris 7
15 rue Hélène Brion – 75013
Closest Metro or RER: Bibliothèque François Mitterand

Saturday, January 19, 2013 & Sunday, January 20, 2013 
Musée du quai Branly
entrée Debilly – 37, quai Branly – 75007
entrée Université – 218, rue de l’Université
Closest Metro: Bir Hakeim, Iéna, Ecole Militaire
RER: Pont de l’Alma, Champ de Mars

ARC Magazine
ARC Magazine

ARC Inc. is a non-profit print and online publication and social platform launched in 2011. It seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary artists to present their work while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of exchange. ARC is an online and social space of interaction with a developed methodology of sharing information about contemporary practices, exhibitions, partnerships, and opportunities occurring in the Caribbean region and throughout its diasporas.