“A Conflicted Geography: African American Artists & African Diaspora” at Terra Foundation Paris Center & Library

March 29, 2018
Terra Foundation for American Art Paris Center & Library

Among the critical questions that mark African American art historical scholarship today, the legacy of slavery and the transmission of cultural memories rooted in African traditions have emerged as some of the most loaded issues. Tracing the importance of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora in current debates has been recognized as an urgent task, which concerns critics and historians, as well as artists. Critical thinking on the subject is heightened by the growing breach between those who refuse to consider black art a distinct category, speaking instead to its universal experience, and voices that claim its unequivocal difference, with race at its very core.

This dialogue reflects on racial politics and the geography of global circulation by asking how American art has, from the nineteenth century onward, been interwoven with African/African American/African diaspora histories. Looking at the historical origins of these relationships and mapping their contemporary expressions, this event was part of the lecture series “The Artist as Geographer” (March 6 and 20, 2018), organized in conjunction with Steven Nelson’s spring 2018 term as Visiting Professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.


  • Anne Lafont, Professor, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
  • Steven Nelson, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Videography by Romain Grésillon.