In Dialogue: Art, Power, And Identity

May 14, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Trustee Room, Mark Building

This event is sold out.

In Dialogue is an occasional series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based seminars that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The May seminar I Am Not Your Negro Woman: Intersectionality and the Black Female Subject will address some of the big ideas raised by the special exhibition Constructing Identity: Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art. Moving through a brief history of Black womanhood and its portrayal in the American imagination, this seminar will examine representations of Black female subjects in several works from the Collection, and consider the role of art in challenging or reproducing dehumanizing stereotypes. Claudia Rankine’s 2015 New York Times essay “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning” will help guide our discussion and emphasize its contemporary relevance to social justice movements, as will issues of representation, politics of respectability, and the close ties between commodification, capital, power, and privilege. Black women will be centered in our investigation, which will also explore evidence and documentation of African-American experience at large.

Seminar facilitator Béalleka has over 10 years’ experience as a university professor of literature and cultural studies specializing in intersectional identity and contemporary representations of American slavery. She left academia in 2015 to be a public educator, writer, and performer and offers diversity, equity, and inclusion training through her firm, Béalleka Consulting. Stay tuned for her co-hosted show, The Unlearning Podcast, dropping Summer 2017!

In preparation for the seminar, please spend time in the Constructing Identity exhibition and complete the following readings:

Claudia Rankine, “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning

Harriet Jacobs, Preface by the Author and Introduction by the Editor from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The full text is accessible at

A PDF of the reading will be provided on request. Please contact Hana Layson at



The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.