Du Bois Lecture Panel to Focus on Kara Walker, Artists of African Diaspora

Work by Kara Walker
A work by Kara Walker

The UMass Amherst Libraries will 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, Feb. 22 from 4-6 p.m. in Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall 160.

The lecture features a panel including Barbara Krauthamer, history and associate dean of the Graduate School; Traci Parker, W.E.B. Du Bois department of Afro-American studies; and Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, Smith College history department.

The conversation, facilitated by Whitney Battle-Baptiste, anthropology 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 Feb. 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” (Feb. 2-April 30) and is co-sponsored in part by the Randolph and Cecile Bromery Endowment for the W. E. B. Du Bois Center.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Copies of Krauthamer’s “Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery” and Stordeur Pryor’s “Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War” will be for sale and signing.

“Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power” brings together 60 works in a variety of mediums, from printmaking (such as lithograph, etching with aquatint, photogravure, linocut, and screen-print), to murals, metal sculpture and shadow puppetry. All works in this exhibition come from the Portland, Ore.-based collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.