The fall Arts and Humanities Symposium at Hope College on Friday, Sept. 30, will explore “Am I Not Human? Racial Identities in Modern America,” featuring scholars from multiple institutions and disciplines who will be focusing on depictions of African Americans across the nation’s history.
The symposium will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Cook Auditorium, room 141 of the De Pree Art Center and Gallery. Following the symposium, there will be a reception from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the gallery and lobby area.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The purpose of the Arts and Humanities symposium is to bring to important and timely topics an interdisciplinary conversation that displays the academic disciplines at their best. Each academic discipline equips its practitioners with particular skills and training that, when juxtaposed to other disciplines, can provide the best solutions to the problems society faces.
This fall’s symposium is taking place in conjunction with “Hateful Things | Resilience,” a dual exhibition highlighting the importance of racial healing and equality that is being featured in the De Pree Art Center and gallery through Friday, Oct. 7.
Each part of the symposium will last approximately 50 minutes, will include a question-and-answer period, and will be followed by a brief break. Everyone attending is free to come and go through the three symposium hours.
The events will begin with a welcome from Marc Baer, interim dean for the arts and humanities at Hope.
At 1 p.m., Kenneth Goings, professor of African American and African studies at Ohio State University will present “Aunt Jemima and Uncle Mose: Black Collectibles before ‘Black Lives Matter’; or, When it was fun to lynch and torture Black people.” The response will be by Charles Green, professor of psychology at Hope. The student convener will be Kristen Szalontai.
At 2 p.m., Leonard Harris, professor of philosophy at Purdue University, will present “Against Minstrelsy.” The response will be by Jack Mulder, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Hope. The student convener will be Taylor Mills.
At 3 p.m., Rachel Stephens, assistant professor of art history, American art and architecture at the University of Alabama, will present “From Aunt Chloe to Aunt Jemima: The Static Image of the African American Housemaid.” The response will be by Kendra Parker, assistant professor of English at Hope. The student convener will be Curissa Sutherland-Smith.
“Hateful Things” is a traveling sample from Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and features a collection of racist objects that trace the history of the stereotyping of African Americans. The exhibition contributes to and is in dialog with the scholarly examination of historical and contemporary expressions of racism and visual culture. It also seeks to promote racial understanding and healing. The exhibit was created by David Pilgrim, who is a professor of sociology, vice president of diversity and inclusion and museum curator at Ferris State University; and Carrie Stermer, who is director of Ferris State University’s Fine Art Gallery.
“Resilience” was curated by Dr. Heidi Kraus and features world-renowned contemporary African-American artists from the Kruizenga Art Museum and Chicago’s Monique Meloche Gallery, including Faith Ringgold, Sanford Biggers and Lorna Simpson.
The works in “Resilience,” while in conversation with the history of African-American oppression, focus on demonstrating a resilience of spirit and hope for racial equality.
The De Pree Art Center and Gallery is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.