Spring 2019 Franke Lectures in the Humanities to explore race and caste

Race and Caste” is the topic of the spring Franke Lectures in the Humanities sponsored by the Whitney Humanities Center.

This semester’s series has been organized in conjunction with the Yale College seminar taught by Hazel Carby, the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and professor of American studies, and Inderpal Grewal, professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and of American studies.

Deborah Thomas
Deborah Thomas

Deborah Thomas will deliver the opening lecture, “Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Affect, Witnessing, Repair,” on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology and director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of “Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica” and “Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica,” and coeditor of the volume “Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness.”  Her new book, “Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation,” is forthcoming. Thomas also directed and produced the documentary films “Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens” and “Four Days in May,” and the experimental short film “Four Days in West Kingston.” She is the co-curator of a multimedia installation, “Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston,” which opened at the Penn Museum in November 2017. Thomas is also the editor-in-chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association.

Other guest speakers and lectures in the series include:

Ilona Katzew, ‘The Invention of Casta Painting: Race and Science in the Age of Enlightenment,’ Feb. 26

Ilona Katzew
Ilona Katzew

Katzew is department head and curator of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her exhibitions include “New World Orders; Inventing Race: Casta Painting and 18th-Century Mexico,” “Contemporary Projects 9: Gajin Fujita and Pablo Vargas Lugo,” and “Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World.”Katzew’s “Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici” was selected by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as being among the top exhibitions of 2017 and traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. Katzew has received Fulbright, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ford Foundation, Getty, and John Carter Brown Library fellowships, and is the author and editor of various volumes, including “Casta Painting: Images of Race in 18th-Century Mexico,” “Joaquín Antonio de Basarás: Una codificación del México del siglo de las luces,” and “Race and Classification: The Case of Mexican America,” coedited with Susan Deans-Smith.

Duana Fullwiley, ‘The Ancestors Watch in Disbelief: Genomic Ancestry, Power, and (Un)freedom,’ March 5

Duana Fullwiley
Duana Fullwiley

Fullwiley is associate professor of anthropology at Stanford University. She is interested in how social identities, health outcomes, and molecular genetic findings increasingly intersect. Her book “The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa” won the Royal Anthropological Institute’s 2011 Amaury Talbot Prize for the most valuable work of African anthropology, and the American Anthropological Association’s 2014 Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology. Fullwiley recently completed a scholar’s award in the National Science Foundation’s Science & Society Program to research her second book, “Tabula Raza: Mapping Race and Human Diversity in American Genome Science.” She has also been an invited scholar at the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation in Paris, a USIA Fulbright Scholar to Senegal, a fellow at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Gyanendra Pandey, ‘Modernity in the Home: A Reflection on 20th-Century India,’ April 2

Gyanendra Pandey
Gyanendra Pandey

Pandey is the Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Emory University. A founding member and leading theorist of the Subaltern Studies project, he has written extensively on colonial and postcolonial South Asia, nationalism and minorities, civil rights and democracy, and the history of history-writing. Among Pandey’s single-authored books are “A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the USA,” “Routine Violence: Nations, Fragments, Histories,” “The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India,” “The Ascendancy of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh: Class, Community, and Nation in Northern India, 1920–1940,” and “Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism and History in India.” He is currently working on a comparative study of the practice of democracy, past and present; and on a history of 20th-century India as seen from the location of family and home.

Anupama Rao, ‘Social Abstraction, Historical Comparison: Thinking Caste, Race, and Gender in the Time Capital,’ April 9

Anupama Rao
Anupama Rao

Rao is associate professor of history at Barnard College, senior editor of Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and acting director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. She has written widely on colonialism and humanitarianism, and on non-Western histories of gender and sexuality. Her book “The Caste Question” theorized caste subalternity, with specific focus on the role of anti-caste thought in producing alternative genealogies of political subject-formation. She is currently working on a book on the political thought of B.R. Ambedkar; and on a project titled “Dalit Bombay,” which explores the relationship of caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay. Rao’s most recent publication was the edited volume “Gender, Caste, and the Imagination of Equality.”

All of the events will be held at 5 p.m. in Rm. 208 of the WHC and are free and open to the public.

The lectures are made possible by the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke, and are intended to present important topics in the humanities to a wide and general audience.  

For more information, contact the Whitney Humanities Center at 203-432-0670 or email whitneyhumanitiescenter@yale.edu.

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Whitney Humanities Center: whitneyhumanitiescenter@yale.edu, 203-432-0670