“Paris, an internationally key and highly influential Western space in all things concerning the arts and modernity, is the perfect stage for Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West, the fifth in the series of conferences organized by Harvard University and NYU since 2004. Black Portraiture[s] explores the ideas of the production and skill of self-representation, desire, and the exchange of the gaze from the 19th century to the present day in fashion, film, art, and the archives.
How are these images, both positive and negative, exposed to define, replicate, and transform the black body? Why and how does the black body become a purchasable global marketplace and what are its legacies? Also importantly, what are the responses and implications? How can performing blackness be liberatingforperformerandaudience? Cantheblackbodybede-racializedto emphasize cultural groupings encouraging appropriation and varied performers across racial lines?
How the black body has been imagined in the West has always been a rich site for global examination and contestation. The representation and depiction of black peoples often has been governed by prevailing attitudes about race and sexuality. The conference draws on the ideas and works of leading and emerging writers, photographers, scholars, artists, curators and filmmakers of our time and includes a broader discussion of Africa in the popular imagination. It is also significant that this project revolves around collaboration.”