Speaking of Photography 2015-16 // Lecture by Julie Crooks, Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellow, Royal Ontario Museum
Speaking of Photography 2015-16
Honouring Black History Month/Mois de l'histoire des Noirs
Topic: “Fugitivity”: Cultivating the Black Subject in 19th-century Photography in Southern Ontario
Lecture by Julie Crooks
Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellow, Royal Ontario Museum
Location: EV-1.605, York Amphitheatre
Building on her previous research on the work of West African photographer Alphonso Lisk-Carew, Julie Crooks looks at studio portrait practices from a Black Atlantic context where portraiture was used for commemoration and in the formation of new social identities. Her lecture will examine the ways in which Blacks, by the mid- to late nineteenth century, in settlements throughout Southern Ontario, adopted photography as a critical and powerful tool for self-representation. Former fugitive slaves and their descendants used photography to “disrupt ” fixed notions of the abject black body, thereby cultivating new articulations of their mutable subjectivities. Since the majority of the migrants were self-manumitted slaves from the United States, Crooks offers the concept of “fugitivity” as a critical framework. Her work explores both the Alvin McCurdy archive and the digital collection at Brock University, considering both as “fugitive archives” (built by the original collectors with defiance and resistance), in order to preserve, salvage and recover the histories of black Canadian communities whose stories and material artifacts are often left untold or subject to erasure.
Julie Crooks is a Rebanks Postdoctoral Fellow at the Royal Ontario Museum researching the various engagements of black/African audiences with the African Gallery and the photographic history of Blacks in Canada. Crooks received a PhD from the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her research focuses on historical photography in Sierra Leone, West Africa and the diaspora.
Speaking of Photography is organized by the Department of Art History at Concordia University. The series, now in its ninth year, is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, with additional support from the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art; Ciel Variable magazine; and Château Versailles Hotel. Visit the Speaking of Photography website at any time for current details, additional information, and descriptions of past lectures. (http://speakingofphotography.concordia.ca/index.php/component/content/article/17-lectures/current-year/102-fugitivity-cultivating-the-black-subject-in-19th-century-photography-in-southern-ontario)
All lectures in the 2015-16 series will be held in EV-1.605, the York Amphitheatre, on the ground floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Complex, 1515 Ste-Catherine Street West. Metro Guy-Concordia.
Lectures are free and open to the public.
Image: Small Tintype of Young Black Woman, Seated, 1860-1870. Richard Bell Family Fonds, Brock University.
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