Art, Art History & Visual Studies Antiracism Initiative

Art, Art History & Visual Studies Antiracism Initiative

Works by AAH&VS Visual Arts faculty

Guiding Statement: Structural racism, the product of centering whiteness, is present in all aspects of the academy, and as members of this intellectual and professional community we have a responsibility to take antiracist actions to dismantle it. One key area where we can enact change is in our teaching. Today in this Forum we will move towards antiracist pedagogy in our department.

Spring 2022 Art History Speaker Series

March 15, 2022

Natilee Harren, Assoc. Professor of Art History, University of Houston School of Art
“Proposals for Intermedia Art Education: Robert Watts and the Experimental Workshop at UC Santa Cruz”


March 3, 2022

Anna Kesson, Asst. Professor of Black Diasporic Art, Princeton University
“Black Bodies, White Gold: Art, Cotton, and Commerce in the Atlantic World”


January 27, 2022

Tiffany Barber, Asst. Professor of Africana Studies and Art History, University of Delaware
“Photography, Opacity, and the Matters of Blackness”


Antiracism Pedagogy Forums

The AAHVS Antiracist Pedagogy Forum met monthly to hear presentations on and to discuss specific themes, for a total of 8-9 meetings. These themes were proposed by graduate students, faculty, and teaching staff in the department:

• to share antiracist methodologies and strategies already in use in instructors’ fields

• to identify opportunities to incorporate antiracist pedagogies into our teaching practices so that we ensure equitable, safe learning opportunities for all students

• to identify areas in the department's curricula in which antiracist pedagogies and approaches to disciplinary content can be implemented or augmented.

• to connect the 3Cs: content, context, and community


2021-22 Academic Year

March 22, 2022
Sustaining Antiracism Pedagogy in the Department

February 23, 2022
What is Antiracist Art? Can it be Taught? If so, How?

December 1, 2021
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department: Current Questions and Curricular Futures

November 16, 2021
Nasher Exhibition: “Off the Map: The Provenance of a Painting”
Molly Boarati, Associate Curator, Nasher Museum of Art

Conserved Portrait
Joseph Wright of Derby (attributed), British, Portrait of an Artist, mid–late 18th century. Oil on canvas, 29 1/8 x 24 1/2 inches (74 x 62.2 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Bequest of Mary D.B.T. Semans in memory of her mother, Mary Duke Biddle; 2013.3.1. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.
November 2, 2021
Hacking into History: Discovering Racial Covenants in Durham County Property Deeds
Alexandra Chassanoff, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University.

September 29, 2021
Carl Pope’s “The Bad Air Smelled of Roses”

Bad Air Smelled of Roses
Carl Pope, Bad Air Smelled of Roses, 2004-


2020-21 Academic Year
April 20, 2021
Duke Libraries’ Diversifying Scholarship in the Curriculum Team Presentation

March 30, 2021
Anti-Racist Art History Tutorial
Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History

Mellon Lecture
Sam Gilliam, Homage to the Square, 2016–2017, acrylic on wood. © Sam Gilliam

March 2, 2021
Teaching in the Classroom
“Team Jerusalem,” comprised of Emily Mohr (Grad), Bryan Rusch (Grad), and Alana Hyman (Undergrad), discussed their work in the Visualizing Cities Lab collaborating with Professor Annabel Wharton on restructuring her Jerusalem course syllabus. This was followed by Pedro Lasch and Bill Fick discussing the ways in which they have incorporated antiracist pedagogy in the Studio Classroom.

February 15, 2021
Faculty Advancement Seed Grant from the Office for Faculty Advancement, 2021-2022, for AAHVS Antiracist Pedagogy Forum. Beverly McIver, professor of the practice, and Pedro Lasch, research professor. $8,000 over one year. The “proposal exemplifies an innovative faculty development activity that has the potential to significantly impact the Duke community.”


June 2020
Department Issues Statement in Support of Black Lives

Statement in Support of Black Lives

Black Lives Matter









          The faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Art, Art History, & Visual Studies state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and connected international campaigns in condemning antiblack racism, police brutality, and the violence and loss inflicted on the Black community through the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, Riah Milton, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others.    
          As a community we recognize the responsibility that our department has to cultivate equity within Duke as an institution and the larger Durham community as a whole. Effective immediately, our department will examine its commitment to anti-racism, social justice, and equity by taking concrete steps to refocus our curriculum, openly discuss our departmental and disciplinary culture, and solidify our institutional commitments to diversity and inclusion. Above all, we are committed to taking collective and individual action toward dismantling systemic racism in our department, academia, and the arts.
     We will
     •    transform our curriculum to address equality and social justice directly, particularly highlighting anti-racist methodologies
     •    alter our staff and faculty hiring and student admissions priorities to accelerate diversity in our department
     •    promote dialogue through internally and externally focused initiatives on Black Lives Matter, dismantling white supremacy, and abolishing racism
     •    augment mentoring for graduate students and faculty of color
     •    develop networks of support for faculty, students, and staff of color, including mechanisms for reporting that extend beyond individual practice and lead to departmental dialogue and action
     •    create a departmental task force composed of faculty, staff, and students to fulfill these goals. The task force will develop clearly defined action items and timetables to be shared publicly and reviewed every semester by the department’s executive committee for accountability.
    As we move towards positive growth, we acknowledge, as individuals and as a department, that we have blind spots in our current structures that are in need of correction. In the coming weeks, we will announce the departmental task force, which will publicize its first timeline for action on August 17, 2020.