ICS Lecture: “Visualizations of the slave’s face in the transatlantic world

An African Slave Woman, attributed to Annibale Carracci

The Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR-RP) invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture “Visualizaciones del rostro esclavo en el mundo transatlántico” [Visualizations of the slave’s face in the transatlantic world] by Dr. Agnes Lugo-Ortiz (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Universidad de Chicago). Dr. Malena Rodríguez Castro (Department of Comparative Literature, UPR-RP) will introduce the speaker. The activity will be held on Thursday, March 28, 2019, 1:00-3:30pm, at Amphitheater Manuel Maldonado Denis, Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building (CRA 108), School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: This talk will be about the presence of the enslaved subject in portraiture from the beginning of the transatlantic trade, at the beginning of the 16th century, to the official collapse of the slavery regime in the Americas towards the end of the 19th century. This era, which marks the emergence and major development of American plantation slavery, saw in turn the rise of the visual portrait genre as a privileged technology for the symbolization of modern notions of subject and individuality in the Western worlds. In this sense, nothing would seem more contradictory, with the objectifying logic of slavery, than the idea of ​​a “slave portrait.” And yet, there are many examples of this type of visual production. What accounts for them historically? Which specific conditions allowed that someone who was not deemed the owner of her own body to have access to the, often dignifying, sphere of visual portraiture and the exaltation of the face as a mark of a unique and non-transferable subjectivity? What particularities in the concrete practices of the culture of modern slavery are revealed in these portraits? These will be some of the questions addressed in this conference.

This presentation will be broadcast LIVE online through the UPR-Rio Piedras web site at http://uprrp.edu.

Comments and suggestions on this presentation will be very welcome at iec.ics@upr.edu.

Follow the Institute of Caribbean Studies on FACEBOOK.

[Image above: Annibale Carracci, “Portrait of an African Slave Woman,” ca. 1580.]

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