Yale University School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600
THE OPTICS OF THE RACIAL IMAGINARY

A lecture by Claudia Rankine

Tuesday, November 7th at 5:30PM E.I.K., 32 Edgewood Avenue, New Haven

The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII) seeks to change the way we imagine race in the U.S. and internationally by lifting up and connecting the work of artists, writers, knowledge-producers, and activists with audiences seeking thoughtful, innovative conversations and experiences. The work of defining and changing culture is all of ours.

The Institute begins with a focus on whiteness because we believe that in our current moment whiteness is freshly articulated: the volume on whiteness has been turned up. Whiteness as a source of unquestioned power, and as a “bloc,” feels itself to be endangered even as it retains its hold on power. Given that the concept of racial hierarchy is a strategy employed to support white dominance, whiteness is an important aspect of any conversation about race. We begin here in order to make visible that which has been intentionally presented as inevitable so that we can move forward into more revelatory conversations about race. Our first project questions what can be made when we investigate, evade, beset and call out bloc-whiteness.

This talk by Claudia Rankine will consider how issues of white dominance are expressed through the visual arts. We will look at artists such as Alexandra Bell, Nona Faustine, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Hew Locke, and others.

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ABOUT CLAUDIA RANKINE

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Photo credit: John Lucas
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