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Truth: Women, Creativity, and Memory of Slavery

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<March 2018>


Truth: Women, Creativity, and Memory of Slavery

Monday, October 5, 2015
6:00pm – 8:00pm | Admission: FREE
Fordham School of Law | 150 West 62nd Street (Between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues) | Costantino Room, 2nd Floor | New York, NY 10023

Please join the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme and Fordham University for a moderated discussion with noted scholars and artists.

As shown by the likes of Phillis Wheatley, Celia Cruz, Nina Simone, Kara Walker, Toni Morrison, and the makers of patch quilts, women of the African diaspora have written, painted, sculpted, and lifted their songs to lament pain, express sorrow, and rejoice over their freedom from bondage.

This moderated discussion will explore the many ways enslaved women throughout the African diaspora used their artistic voice to express themselves, endure trials, and survive—and to liberate both themselves and their people. We will also examine what these incredible women can teach the contemporary world about the experiences of slavery and the emancipating power of creativity.

Participating artists and scholars include:

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro
Novelist, Poet, Short-Story Writer

Yolanda Arroyo-Pizarro is an acclaimed Puerto Rican writer whose books make visible and promote the discussion of African identity and sexual diversity in Latin America. She recently won First Place in the 2015 Institute of Puerto Rican Culture's Annual Book Awards in the category of the short story. Her book Negras, First Place winner of the 2013 Pen Club Book Awards and Finalist of the 2014 José Ramón Piñeiro León International Prize in Spain, explores the limits of the fate of female characters who challenge the hierarchies of power during slavery. The author has also won Honorable Mention in 2012 and Second Place in the 2008 National Book Awards of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. In 2007, she was selected to participate in Bogota 39, as one of the 39 most important Latin American writers under 39, an event sponsored by the UNESCO in celebration of Bogota as 2007's World Capital of the Book. Her work has been published in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Denmark, Hungary, England, Africa and France, and translated into English, German, Italian, French and Hungarian. Her most recent book is Animales de apariencia inofensiva (Editorial Cultural 2015).

Aimee Meredith Cox
Cultural Anthropologist
Professor of African and African American Studies, Fordham University

Aimee Meredith Cox is a cultural anthropologist and tenured professor of African and African American Studies at Fordham University. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan where she also held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for the Education of Women. Professor Cox's first book is Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke University Press 2015). She is on the editorial board of the Feminist Wire and on the founding editorial board of Public: A Journal of Imagining America. She is also an executive board member of the Association of Black Anthropologists and former co-editor of Transforming Anthropology, the peer-reviewed journal of the ABA. Professor Cox trained on scholarship with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, toured extensively as a professional dancer with the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble/Ailey II, and is the founder of The BlackLight Project, a youth-led arts activist organization that operates in Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; and Brooklyn, NY. Professor Cox was a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow and 2013–2014 visiting professor in New York University's Anthropology Department. She is currently working on two new book projects: the first on the ethnographic legacy of anthropology and dance pioneer, Katherine Dunham, and the second on the connection between embodied healing practices, collective identity, and community transformations in New York City.

Nicole R. Fleetwood
Associate Professor of American Studies, Rutgers University

Nicole Fleetwood is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and director of the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She researches and teaches in the areas of visual culture and media studies, black cultural studies, ethnography, gender theory, and culture and technology studies. Her articles appear in African American Review, American Quarterly, Callalloo: Art and Culture in the African Diaspora, Public Culture (forthcoming), Signs, Social Text, The Drama Review: The Journal of Performance Studies, and edited anthologies. Her book, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press 2011), is the recipient of the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association.

Yuko Miki
Assistant Professor of Iberian Atlantic History, Fordham University

Yuko Miki is a historian of the Iberian Atlantic world. Her work explores the ways in which slavery and freedom bound together the lives of women and men in nineteenth-century Brazil with various corners of the Atlantic, from the Americas to Europe and Africa. Professor Miki is currently completing a book manuscript titled Insurgent Geographies: Blacks, Indians, and the Making of Postcolonial Brazil, which places black and indigenous people at the center of a Brazilian nation-building process that was based on territorial consolidation, slavery expansion and violent indigenous conquest. Beginning with the last years of Portuguese colonial rule, it demonstrates how the marginalization of both black and indigenous people was central to the new inequalities forged in postcolonial Latin American nations such as Brazil, whether in terms of citizenship, race, or geography. Through the stories of slaves and Maroons, Indians and settlers, the book also reveals how black and indigenous people shaped Brazil's postcolonial history by expressing their own stakes in the new nation's social, political, and economic terrain.

Iyunolu Osagie
Associate Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University

Iyun Osagie is an associate professor of English and African studies at Penn State. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Amistad Revolt: Memory, Slavery, and the Politics of Identity in the US.. and Sierra Leone (U of Georgia P, 2000, 2003). She has also published Theater in Sierra Leone: Five Popular Plays (Africa World Press, 2009), an edited collection. In addition, she has written a play about the Sierra Leone civil war, The Shield. This play has been performed at universities in the U.S. and in Nigeria. She has also published book chapters, as well as articles in top-tier journals, such as African American Review, Cultural Studies, Callaloo, Historical Geography, Annals of Tourism Research, and Massachusetts Review.

Gabriela Salgado
African and Latin American Contemporary Art Curator, London, U.K.

Gabriela Salgado is an Argentine-born curator based in London. She has a master's in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art, London and has worked as an archivist and curator in both Spain and the U.K. In 2006, Salgado was appointed curator of public programmes at Tate Modern, where she devises and manages a programme of artists' talks, symposia, and conferences; long engagement projects with artists; and courses and workshops for adults. The events she has curated at Tate Modern include Ai Weiwei in Conversation; the Talking Art series in collaboration with Art Monthly (featuring Marina Abramovic, Martha Rossler, Hans Haacke, Lawrence Weiner, Alfredo Jaar, Harum Farocki, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Pipilotti Rist, Christian Boltanski, Cornelia Parker, and Nan Goldin); the Decolonising Architecture program me; the Museums and Mobiles conference; panel discussions such as Revolution We Love You, Copying Eden: New Art from Chile, and After Post-Colonialism; and symposia including Contemporary Art in the Middle East, Landmark Exhibitions, Violence and Representation, Myths of the Other, and Speaking Out. Salgado worked as the director of international residencies and exhibitions at Fundació Llorens Artigas in Barcelona between 1990 and 1995. She then spent five years as curator of the University of Essex's Collection of Latin American Art (UECLAA), developing a specialism in contemporary Latin American art. Working independently in the U.K. and Latin America since 2005, she became a member of the San Francisco-based performance art collective La Pocha Nostra and collaborated with artistic director Guillermo Gómez-Peña as a curator, co-writer, and artist.

Deborah Willis
Chair, Department of Photography and Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Deborah Willis is chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Professor Willis and has an affiliated appointment as University Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences's Africana Studies program, also at NYU. Professor Willis has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, the Infinity Award in Writing from the International Center for Photography, and recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Named one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photography magazine, she is one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curators of African American culture. Willis's books include Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, with Barbara Krauthamer; Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present; and many others. In 2014, Professor Willis was nominated to serve on the National Council on the Humanities by President Barack Obama.

Fordham Sponsors:
Latin American and Latino Studies Institute
Department of African & African American Studies
School of Professional and Continuing Studies
Department of History

United Nations Sponsor:
United Nations Department of Public Information

*Reservations for this event have reached capacity. However, you may arrive early (5:00 pm) for the stand list - which will allow seating upon availability at 6:00 pm.

For more information, contact Latin American and Latino Studies Institute at 212-636-6365 or


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