UMMA welcomes Professor Mabel O. Wilson of Columbia University to discuss her book, Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums. Professor Wilson will be joined for this event by U-M faculty, Professors Kevin K. Gaines (History and DAAS) and Magdalena J. Zaborowska (American Culture and DAAS).
Negro Building examines the history of exhibitions about black Americans, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on the increasing curatorial participation of African Americans themselves and the formative role of this participation in the development of models of identity and of a black American public sphere.
Mabel O. Wilson directs the Program for Advanced Architectural Research at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. Like the book that she will be discussing for this event, she navigates in her scholarly work and her studio practice between the fields of architecture, art, and cultural history. Her scholarly essays have appeared in numerous journals and books on critical geography, memory studies, art and architecture. Her studio work has been exhibited at the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s Triennial, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and SF Cameraworks.
Dr. Wilson’s interlocutors for this event bring a wealth of knowledge about the central roles played by African Americans in twentieth-century American cultural history and the formation of notions of American identity. Dr. Kevin G. Gaines is the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. His most recent book is American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates in the Civil Rights Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Dr. Magdalena J. Zaborowska is a Professor in American Culture and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies). Her most recent book is James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile (Duke University Press, 2009).
This project is made possible in part by the LSA Understanding Race Theme Semester.