Conference: "Fashioning the Black Body in Bondage & Freedom"

  • Weeksville Heritage Center 158 Buffalo Avenue Brooklyn, NY, 11213 United States

I will be moderating the panel discussion, “Fashion & the Peculiar Institution” at 1:00pm during this crucial conference organized by my colleague Jonathan Michael Square.

Description:

Scholars often encounter difficulty finding sufficient source material when researching the way in which enslaved people have understood themselves and their place in the world. Yet, the experience of Africans who have been enslaved and of their descendants is not wholly absent from historical records. One entry point into acquiring an understanding of the experience of these enslaved people is through how they were forced or chose to dress and adorn themselves. Fashion was one of the few arenas in which slaves had an opportunity to exert a modicum of control because it was, in spite a number of constraints, open to their adaptation. For slaves, as for all groups, fashion has constituted a rich, unique medium for complex cultural expression. This conference will explore some of the many facets of the intersection between slavery and fashion, bringing scholars, designers, and artists into conversation around this understudied (and often challenged) topic.

This event is sold out.

Image: "Sarah Forbes" by Ayana V. Jackson, courtesy Fashioning the Self.