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Colloquium in Visual Culture with Dr. Mia Bagneris

Nov 9
12:30pm - 2:00pm
100% Virtual Event, via Zoom

Dr. Mia Bagneris, associate professor, Art History and Africana Studies, Tulane University, presents "Imagining the Oriental South: The Enslaved Mixed-Race Beauty in British Art and Visual Culture, c. 1865-1880."

Using works like John Bell’s Octoroon (1868) and Robert Gavin’s Quadroon Girl (ca. 1872) as case studies, this talk explores Britons’ pronounced and continued fascination with the figure of the enslaved American mixed-race beauty—even and especially after the abolition of slavery in the United States rendered the potential of such figures as tools for abolitionist suasion obsolete. I analyze marked visual and rhetorical echoes between representations of the so-called “tragic” mulatto, quadroon, or octoroon and concurrent expressions of Orientalism. Ultimately, I argue that, against the upright image of Victorian England, the American South—and especially Catholic Louisiana—could be imagined as a place of luxury, debauchery, and desire, a perfect echo to the “Orient” in the British popular imagination and one made stronger by the perceived association of both regions with the traffic in pretty women as “sex slaves.”

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Center for Visual Culture

Center for Visual Culture blog

Center for Visual Culture
Audience: Public
Type(s): Seminar/Colloquium
Lisa Kolonay

Bryn Mawr College welcomes the full participation of all individuals in all aspects of campus life. Should you wish to request a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact the event sponsor/coordinator. Requests should be made as early as possible.