Campus News

Lecture to focus on image and identity in the African diaspora

The Institute for African American Studies and the Lamar Dodd School of Art will present a lecture by Cameron Van Patterson April 5 at 5 p.m. in room S150 of the School of Art, with a reception immediately following.

The lecture, “Diasporic Imagination: Race, Difference and Memory in Contemporary Art,” will focus on the relationship between image and identity in the African diaspora and how the diasporic, or the dispersed group outside its traditional homeland, might be defined as a conscious mode of artistic expression.

In arguing for the notion of a diasporic imagination, Van Patterson, who teaches in the department of African and African American Studies and Africana Women’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University, illustrates some of the ways in which the themes of race, difference and memory reflected in contemporary art have contributed to the development of a diasporic identity. As a historical process of remembrance and reinvention, diasporic identity has been imagined in contemporary art as a third space engendered by transatlantic slavery, colonialism, Pan-Africanism, migration, exile and the globalization of Western cultural modernity.

This subject continues to inform the contemporary African and African-American history in critical ways that have dramatically changed aesthetic discourse, curatorial practice and the broader landscape of art history.

Van Patteron received his doctorate in African and African-American studies from Harvard University. His research examines the relationship between visual art, social genres of difference and the politics of representation in American art and social history.