Africa House was delighted to co-host “Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon” – Cheryl Finley in Conversation with Jennifer L. Morgan.
Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press) by Dr. Cheryl Finley, Cornell University art historian, participated in a book signing and discussion on how an eighteenth-century engraving of a slave ship became a cultural icon of black resistance, identity, and remembrance. Professor Finley traced how the slave ship icon became a powerful tool in the hands of British and American abolitionists, and how its radical potential was rediscovered in the twentieth century by black artists, activists, writers, filmmakers, and curators.
For more information:
Cheryl Finley is Associate Professor of Art History at Cornell University. She holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and History of Art from Yale University. An art historian, curator and contemporary art critic, Dr. Finley has contributed essays and reviews to Aperture, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, American Quarterly and Art Forum. Her prolific critical attention to photography has produced the coauthored publications Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story; Harlem: A Century in Images; and Diaspora, Memory, Place: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Pamela Z. Committed to Memory: the Art of the Slave Ship Icon and My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South are two of her recently published works. A specialist in the art market, Dr. Finley’s current project is Black Market: Inside the Art World, about the work of black artists in the global art economy, focusing on the relationship among museums, curators, biennials and tourism.
Funded by a two-year American Council of Learned Societies collaborative faculty grant, Dr. Finley is completing a project on the current migration crisis in the Mediterranean and at the US/Mexico Border titled Visualizing Travel, Gendering Diaspora, with professors Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael- Hernandez. Dr. Finley’s research has been supported by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; the Ford Foundation; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Jennifer L. Morgan is Professor of History in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor of Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America (University of Illinois Press, 2016). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in the Black Atlantic world. Her most recent journal articles include “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” in Small Axe; “Accounting for ‘The Most Excruciating Torment’: Trans-Atlantic Passages” in History of the Present; and “Archives and Histories of Racial Capitalism” in Social Text. In addition to her archival work as a historian, Morgan has published a range of essays on race, gender, and the process of “doing history,” most notably “Experiencing Black Feminism” in Deborah Gray White’s edited volume Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2007). She is currently at work on a project that considers colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world, tentatively entitled Reckoning with Women in Slavery.
Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA):
The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) at New York University was founded in 1969 to research, document, and celebrate the cultural and intellectual production of Africa and its diaspora in the Atlantic world and beyond. IAAA is committed to the study of Blacks in modernity through concentrations in Pan-Africanism and Black Urban Studies. https://nyuiaaa.org