Seeing Civil Rights Symposium
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Seeing Civil Rights Symposium

03/28/2018 7:00 PM - 03/29/2018 7:30 PM

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38104 map

Karen Davis


Memphis Brooks Museum of Art( )


Seeing Civil Rights explores how Ernest C. Withers and his contemporaries imagined photography’s dual role as an art form and a tool for political change. It brings together esteemed and provocative scholars, writers, and artists to address how photographs shaped the immediate reception of the civil rights movement and continues to impact how we remember it.

Held in conjunction with Black Resistance: Ernest C. Withers and the Civil Rights Movement.

Co-organized by the University of Memphis Department of English.

Sponsored by George A. Riley Memorial Fund, the U of M Department of English, U of M Department of History, and the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities.

Wednesday, March 28
7 p.m. Opening Keynote - Re-Framing Civil Rights and the Photograph: A lecture by Deborah Willis, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Deborah Willis will discuss how images, whether journalistic or documentary, are forever fixed in the popular imagination through photography. 

Thursday, March 29 
1 p.m. Panel 1 – Feeling Through Photography

  • Aram Goudsouzian (University of Memphis)
  • Martin Berger (University of California-Santa Cruz)
  • Moderator: Vincent Gaddis, Benedictine University

3 p.m. Panel 2 – Seeing Behind the Pictures

  • Preston Lauterbach (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities)
  • Leigh Raiford (University of California-Berkeley)
  • Moderator: Joseph Coulson, The Great Books Foundation

4:30 p.m. Guided Tour of Black Resistance: Ernest C. Withers and the Civil Rights Movement
5 p.m. Reception
6 p.m. Closing Keynote – Known and Strange Things: An Evening with Teju Cole

  • Writer, art historian, and photographer Teju Cole will talk about his newest collection of essays, Known and Strange Things, which includes more than 50 pieces on politics, photography, travel, history, and literature.