2023-2024 Guest Lecture Series
Wednesday, November 8th, at 6:30pm – CAS 211 (725 Commonwealth Avenue)
Dr. Jennifer Van Horn
Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Delaware
Title:“Flora’s Profile: Enslavement, Resistance, and Haptic Memory”
This talk centers an amazing survival: a silhouette of an enslaved woman, Flora, made in Connecticut in the 1790s. But made by whom and for what purpose? While this portrait has long been associated with Flora’s sale, recent research suggests the silhouette could have a different origin and was possibly even the work of an enslaved female maker. I will place Flora’s profile within the rich history of early Black American’s silhouette production and women’s intergenerational memory making through the haptic manipulation of hair, paper, and textiles. Together these contexts suggest how Flora’s silhouette preserved a trace of her fleeting subjectivity that perhaps conjured her memory for the eyes, but also the touch, of the enslaved and free Black women who might have made and treasured her image.