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Archive: 02/02/2017

23rd Annual Du Bois Lecture: Viewing the Past through the Eyes of the Present, A Dialogue Around the Work of Kara Walker

Wednesday, February 22, 4 - 6 p.m. CHC Event Hall 160


The UMass Amherst Libraries host the 23rd Annual Du Bois Lecture, Viewing the Past Through the Eyes of the Present: A Dialogue Around the Work of Kara Walker, on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, from 4 – 6 p.m., in the Commonwealth Honors College Event Hall 160, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

The lecture features an interactive panel comprised of Dr. Barbara Krauthamer, associate professor of history and associate dean of the Graduate School, UMass Amherst; Dr. Traci Parker, assistant professor, W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst; and Dr. Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, assistant professor of history, Smith College. 

The conversation, facilitated by Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, associate professor of anthropology, UMass Amherst, and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center, will engage these scholars on race, gender, and slavery through their perspective fields to highlight the truths embedded in the work of Kara Walker and other artists across the African Diaspora.

Each year, the Libraries mark the February 23, 1868 birthday of W. E. B. Du Bois with a lecture on a topic relating to his life and legacy. The Library was named for Du Bois in 1994 and is home to the extensive W.E.B. Du Bois Papers.

The lecture is presented in partnership with the University Museum of Contemporary Art and its current exhibit Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power (February 2 – April 30, 2017) and is co-sponsored in part by the Randolph and Cecile Bromery Endowment for the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at the UMass Amherst Libraries.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and copies of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery and Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War will be for sale and signing by Dr. Krauthamer and Dr. Stordeur Pryor.


Dr. Barbara Krauthamer, G’94, Washington University, St. Louis, G’96, Ph.D.’00, Princeton University, was recently appointed the associate dean for student inclusion and engagement in the Graduate School at UMass Amherst. As associate dean, she will set up and manage the new Research Enhancement and Leadership Fellows program, a joint effort of the Graduate School, the Provost’s Office, and the Colleges designed to facilitate the recruitment and success of minority students.

Krauthamer is the author of  Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), and Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (Temple University Press, 2012), co-authored with Professor Deborah Willis. Her work has been supported with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Stanford University, Yale University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Krauthamer is currently working on a study of runaway slave women that frames enslaved women as intellectual and political actors and examines the meanings and manifestations of freedom in their lives.

Dr. Traci Parker, Ph.D.’13, University of Chicago, is currently completing her book manuscript entitled Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights. Parker’s research and teaching interests include African American women’s history, 19th and 20th century U.S. history, race and racism, class, labor, capitalism, and consumer culture.

Before coming to UMass Amherst, Parker held the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholarship at the University of Chicago.  She has been the recipient of a number of fellowships, awards, and grants, including the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture Dissertation Fellowship and Graduate Research and Travel Grant, the Department of History’s John Hope Franklin Fellowship and Freehling Research Travel Grant, and the Provost’s Summer Fellowship. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Hagley Museum and Library, among others, also have supported her research.

Dr. Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, B.A., Tufts University, M.A., Cornell University, and Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, specializes in 19th-century U.S. history and race. Before teaching at Smith College, she was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCLA School of Law, where she studied the intersections of race, gender and citizenship before the Civil War. Pryor’s specific research and teaching interests include an examination of U.S. citizenship from the early national period through the passage of the 15th Amendment. Other teaching and research interests include resistance, dis/ability, gender, sexuality, historical memory, enslavement, enslaved people, indigeneity, Black activism, the birth of Jim Crow segregation and the pedagogies of teaching the "n-word" and other forms of racism in the college classroom. She is a 2016 recipient of the Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Smith College.

Pryor’s first book was Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).  Her next project is an examination of African American women within and on the periphery of the Abolitionist Movement, especially those women who refused to conform to gendered notions of respectability as they fought for the liberation of their communities, their families and, most significantly, themselves.

Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, ’94, Virginia State University; G’00, The College of William & Mary; Ph.D.’04, University of Texas, Austin, African Diaspora Program in Anthropology, is a historical archaeologist who focuses primarily on the historical intersection of race, class, gender in the shaping of cultural landscapes across the African Diaspora. Her theoretical interests include Black Feminist theory, African American material and expressive culture, and critical heritage studies. Battle-Baptiste’s work spans a variety of historic sites in the Northern and Southern United States, including the Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee; Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia; the Abiel Smith School in Boston, Massachusetts; the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; and Millars Plantation on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. She is currently working on a book project reimagining the work of W. E. B. Du Bois as a method to connect historical archaeology and Black Studies.

Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power. This exhibition brings together 60 works in a variety of mediums, from printmaking (such as lithograph, etching with aquatint, photogravure, linocut, and screen-print), to wall murals, metal sculpture and shadow puppetry. The exhibition was curated by Jessi Di Tillio, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon. All works in this exhibition come from the Portland, Oregon-based collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

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