Events

    Recovering the Histories of Seven Enslaved Americans

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    For seven seasons, award-winning Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has uncovered the ancestral stories of celebrity guests on his hit-television series, Finding Your Roots. In this program, Gates will be joined by Dr. Gregg Hecimovich to discuss the process of unearthing the histories of formerly enslaved people. The focus will be on  Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jim, and Renty, seven Black men and women who were photographed against their will in Columbia, South Carolina in 1850. These controversial photographs are the subject of a new book, To Make Their Own...

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    Art Talk Live: Liberty, Equality, Sorority? A Woman Printmaker in the French Revolution

    Location: 

    Online via Zoom

    The French Revolution saw an explosion of printed media and printmakers—including women, who used their artistic production to participate in the politics they were legally excluded from because of their gender. 

    In this talk, curatorial intern and Ph.D. candidate Sarah Lund will unfold the layers of this large color print, from the radical Jacobin revolutionary who made it and the martyred war hero it depicts to the woman artist who, by blood, by marriage, and by trade, was equally entangled in the print’s politics even as she was excluded from its image.

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    Race, Representation, and Agassiz’s Brazilian Fantasy

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    How do we confront the history and legacy of Louis Agassiz’s extensive archive of images of African and Indigenous Brazilians made in Manaus, Brazil in 1865 and housed at Harvard’s Peabody Museum?

    Four distinguished panelists reflect on the historical moment when these pictures were taken, discuss racist displays of Indigenous people in Brazil and elsewhere, and, by bringing to light respect for different epistemologies, explore ways to contend with them today. Panelists will be writer and historian Christoph Irmscher (contributor to the recent Peabody Museum Press book about...

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    Marc Angélil and Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, "Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation and Urban Inclusivity"

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    On November 5, 2018, a pair of dilapidated buildings in central Marseille collapsed, taking the lives of eight people, many of them from immigrant origin. This toll of urban decay reflects both the diversity of the district and the hardship of living in Marseille, a city marked for centuries by migration, poverty, and social inequality. Divided along ethnic and class lines, with wealthy conservatives dominating the south and an energetic but pauperized community of immigrant origins in the north, Marseille highlights the tensions stemming from discriminatory governance, lack of housing-...

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    Black Is Queen: The Divine Feminine in Kush

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East—Online

    The prominence of powerful goddesses and queens in the Nubian Kingdom of Kush (now Northern Sudan) highlights the unusually high status of women in this ancient African society and serves as a fitting focus for the study of female power in the ancient world. Using temple inscriptions found in Egypt and Nubia, the rich funerary goods found in royal burials, and temple and tomb imagery, Solange Ashby will discuss how ancient Africans of the Nile Valley understood female power and presence. Songs from Beyoncé’s recent production "Black Is King" will be woven into this presentation on...

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    Ana María León and Torsten Lange, "Bodies of Work: Activism, Gender, Architecture"

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    In this conversation, architectural historians Ana María León and Torsten Lange consider the labor of organizing around issues of gender in architecture. Based on three precedents, they will reflect on their work and practice and highlight how the present has allowed scholars and practitioners to revise architectural historiography. Building on intersectional feminist theory, the discussion considers architecture and urban space as well as architectural discourse as forums where white heteronormative systems of planning can become subverted by empowered labor and living practices....

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    Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, "The Miasmist: George E. Waring, Jr. and Landscapes of Public Health"

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    In 1867, nineteenth-century sanitary engineer George E. Waring, Jr. (1833–1898) published an influential manual entitled “Draining for Profit, Draining for Health,” reflecting the obsessions of his gilded age—wealth, health, and miasma. Even as the germ theory emerged, Waring supported the anti-contagionist miasma theory, positing that disease spread through the air as a poisonous vapor, emerging from damp soil. He applied his knowledge of farm drainage to an urban theory of public health, with a drainage plan for Central Park; a sewerage system for Memphis; a transformation of New York...

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    Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem (Film Screening and Panel Discussion)

    Location: 

    Harvard Law School—Online

    Join the Harvard Law School Library for a live screening and panel discussion of “Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem,” a new documentary about the racial history and modern discrimination of the American misdemeanor system. The film, produced by Brave New Films and directed by Robert Greenwald, was inspired by HLS Professor Alexandra Natapoff’s book, “Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal.”

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    Aesthetics of Memory, Narratives of Repair, and Why Remorse Matters

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a professor and South African National Research Foundation Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma at Stellenbosch University, focuses her research on trauma in the aftermath of gross human rights violations and on remorse and forgiveness that emerge in victim-perpetrator dialogues. At Radcliffe, Gobodo-Madikizela returns to the archive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to think through the horrific violence in contemporary South Africa. Is this violence a reflection of “ghosts” from the past, the death of hope in the present, or a...

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    "Every Pecan Tree": Trees, Meaning, and Memory in Enslaved People’s Lives

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    This is the third lecture in the Arnold Arboretum's 2021 Director's Lecture Series. Tiya Miles takes up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom, slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her talk underscores the importance of trees in the Black experience of captivity and resistance, ultimately revealing the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed human, survival.

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    A History of Path-Making at the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    At the time of its founding in 1872, the land on which the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is sighted was a patchwork of farmland and forest. As the Arboretum was planted, pathways were developed to lead people through the picturesque landscape. As the landscape developed, economies shifted, wars took place, and directors changed. Each of these factors subtly influenced shifts in the park’s path system. Join the Arnold Arboretum on Zoom with Jared Rubinstein as he reveals the layers of change in this beloved landscape.

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    The Stories We Tell and the Objects We Keep: Asian American Women and the Archives

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    The stories of Asian American women extend far beyond the geographic borders of the United States. Inspired by tales and objects from family history, their narratives often reflect the transnational nature of Asian American women’s lives. Despite the importance of these narratives to expanding and complicating our understanding of war, migration, inequity, and difference, the accounts and perspectives of Asian American women have often been overlooked in formal records, and the tangible objects providing critical evidence of their histories have been ignored. This program will bring...

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    Think like a Historian, Imagine Like a Designer: A Conversation on Landscape History and Design Education

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    History is a manner of thinking about the world, grounded in the places we design, construct, and inhabit. Design offers the opportunity to re-imagine the world around us, today and for the future. We might draw from history, or draw upon it; certainly, it is to be hoped that we are drawn to it, as designers and historians. The purpose of landscape history—not reducible to memory nor timelines nor styles—is to produce and share knowledge of how we have come to be who and where we are. We will gather across studios we collectively inhabit to draw attention to and lessons from the...

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    Latinx Modernism and the Spirit of Latinoamericanismo

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    John Alba Cutler, associate professor of English and Latinx studies at Northwestern University, is working on a new book examining the prodigious literary archive of early-20th-century Spanish-language newspapers in the United States. Newspapers in Latinx communities from New York to San Diego published tens of thousands of poems, short stories, chronicles, and serialized novels. These works show how Latinx communities grappled with the collision of Latin American and US modernities long before the advent of what we think of as “modern” Latinx literature.

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    Kate Thomas, “Lesbian Arcadia: Desire and Design in the Fin-de-Siècle Garden”

    Location: 

    Harvard Graduate School of Design—Online

    At the end of the nineteenth century, British and American lesbian artists settled around Florence, Italy, renovating neglected Renaissance estates. Contemporary accounts describe the hillside region as colonized by a “cult of women.” These women restored, refashioned and theorized gardens as places of queerly mythic erotic encounter.

    In this lecture Professor Thomas will explore how design features such as nymphaeums, water parterres, secret gardens, grottos and boscos provided both refuge and open-air expression for lesbian subjectivity. Remembering that the first documented...

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    And So On: Reading and Conversation with Kiese Laymon

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Writer Kiese Laymon will explore whether the actual histories of American colleges and universities should be ripe sites for Black American horror and comedic narratives. Laymon will create a live novella and a live essay during this talk, while questioning the ethics of making art “for” an audience longing for both titillation and innocence from the horrific histories of Black Americans in and around American institutions of higher learning.

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    Painting "Playground of the Autocrats"

    Location: 

    Davis Center for Russian & Eurasian Studies—Online

    Artist Anne Bobroff-Hajal, a PhD in Russian history, seeks to understand what underlies Russian autocracy across centuries, and to paint hundreds of individual people struggling to achieve their life goals within it: a comical yet deadly-serious human tapestry of raw ambition, pain, and joy. In conversation with Dr. Alexandra Vacroux, Bobroff-Hajal will discuss her large scale polyptychs, where viewers are led across...

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    The FAS Division of Science Lecture in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Location: 

    Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences—Online

    The FAS Division of Science will host their 2nd annual lecture in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via Zoom. Special guest speaker Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will share remarks.

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    Ascent to Glory: How One Hundred Years of Solitude Was Written and Became a Global Classic

    Location: 

    Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard—Online

    Book Panel on Ascent to Glory: How One Hundred Years of Solitude Was Written and Became a Global Classic by Álvaro Santana-Acuña

    Gabriel García Márquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude seemed destined for obscurity upon its publication in 1967. The little-known author, small publisher, magical style, and setting in a remote Caribbean village were hardly the usual ingredients for success in the literary marketplace. Yet today it ranks among the best-selling books of all time. Translated into dozens of languages, it continues to enter the lives...

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    Art Study Center Seminar at Home: Art & Technology 3,500 Years Ago

    Location: 

    Harvard Art Museums—Online

    In the mid-second millennium BCE, sculptors, painters, potters, and glass- and metalworkers were busy in the northern Mesopotamian town of Nuzi (Iraq). Some of their products are in the collection of the Harvard Art Museums, which supported excavations at the site between 1925 and 1931. In this online talk, conservation scientist Katherine Eremin and curator Susanne Ebbinghaus will discuss the discovery of these objects and how technical study over decades has revealed the secrets of their making, as well as plans for future display.

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