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The Visual Cultures of Race and Science Symposium

Monday, February 7, 2022 at 4:00pm

A&H Conference Room, A&H Conference Room

The Visual Cultures of Race and Science was a special two-day event sponsored by the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities, and the Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History.

The Public Symposium was held virtually on Sunday, February 6th.

Graduate students who wished to attend the Monday, February 7th workshop were able to do so virtually.


Featuring Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Linda Kim, Charissa N. Terranova (as host/moderator), and Eben Kirksey


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Public Symposium with Q&A

2:00-2:20 pm CST/12:00-12:20 PST/3:00-3:20 EST/7:00-7:20am GMT+11
Opening Remarks and Introduction
Charissa N. Terranova
Professor of Art and Architectural History
University of Texas at Dallas

2:20-2:50 pm CST/12:20-12:50 PST/3:20-3:50 EST/7:20-7:50 am GMT+11
“Market Aesthetics: Race, Materiality and Economics in the Atlantic World”
Anna Arabindan-Kesson
Visiting Fellow, Center for The Study of Social Difference, Columbia University, New York, NY
Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies/Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

2:50-3:20 pm CST/12:50-1:20 PST/3:50-4:20 EST/7:50-8:20 am GMT+11
"Sexuality and Beauty: A Secular Theory of Race"
Myrna Sheldon
Assistant Professor of Gender and American Religion
Ohio University

BREAK 3:20-3:30 pm CST/1:20-1:30 pm PST/4:20-4:30 EST/8:20-8:30 am GMT+11

3:30-4:00 pm CST/1:30-2:00 PST/4:30-5:00 EST/8:30-9:00 am GMT+11
“Misunderstanding Art and Science in The Races of Mankind”
Linda Kim
Associate Professor of Art History
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

4:00-4:30 pm CST/2:00-2:30 PST/5:00-5:30 EST/9:00-9:30 am GMT+11
“Ancestry, Race, and the Visual Order: Becoming Responsible for How we Learn to See”
Duana Fullwiley
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

4:30-5:00 pm CST/2:30-3:00 PST/5:30-6:00 EST/9:30-10:00 am GMT+11
“Transracial Futures? The CRISPR Sperm Bank”
Eben Kirksey, with Tamara Pertamina
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

BREAK 5:00-5:10 pm CST/3:00-3:10 PST/6:00-6:10 pm EST/10:00-10:10 am GMT+11

5:10-6:30 pm CST/3:10-4:30 PST/6:10-7:30 EST/10:10-11:30 am GMT+11


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7: Graduate Seminar

4:00-5:30 pm CST/2:00-3:30 pm PST/5:00-6:30 EST/9:00-10:30 am GMT +11
Graduate Seminar (all virtual)



The relationship between race and science is fraught with ambiguity, misunderstanding, and violence. It is a murkiness that has unfortunately been with us across the ages, from colonial hierarchies of skin color and skull type to 19th-century polygenetic theories of evolution to the 20th-century Tuskegee Syphilis Study and immortal cells of African American Henrietta Lacks to the potential of a new eugenics forming around the recently created CRISPR-Cas 9 gene editing technology in the present. Challenges emerge from the basic need to communicate rarefied science in everyday language. Words are the inherently labile tools by which the very precise, stabile, and measurable practices of science are communicated. For example, "race" is a term used to identify profound differences between individuals. Yet, all humans are 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup, so race is not even a scientific term. If language births such confusion, then art, imagery, and appearance propagate it. The speakers in this symposium explore the many visual cultures – the art, performance, pictures, images, and art-and-image fabrication – of race and science.

Image: "Martin’s Eye Color Chart" This eye color chart was developed by the influential anthropologist Rudolf Martin (1864–1925). In spite of standardized methods of description, eye colors do not tend to fall into natural racial types. The scientists conducting the Norwegian race survey fundamentally disagreed about how best to categorize the eye colors of their Norwegian subjects. Photo: Håkon Bergseth, NTM / University of Oslo: Institute for Basic Medical Sciences. From the Teknisk Museum

Persons with disabilities may submit a request for accommodations to participate in this event at UT Dallas' ADA website. You may also call (972) 883-5331 for assistance or send an email to All requests should be received no later than 10 business days prior to the event.