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Lecture by Dr. Herman Gray

Modified: October 17, 2017
Screen cultures

The Screen Cultures department invites you to the Fall kickoff for their 2017-2018 Visiting Speaker Series, featuring a lecture by Dr. Herman Gray, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The talk will take place on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm in the Helmerich Auditorium in Annie May Swift Hall. Professor Gray will give her presentation: “Reading Peabody: Transparency, Opacity, and the Black (Subject)ion of 20th Century American Television.”   

In this presentation Herman Gray revisits mid-20th century politics of representation and the struggle for black recognition and belonging. Gray examines the relationship of broadcast television, the social science discourse of race relations, and black generated programming from the 1950s and 60s to explore the conditions of possibility for knowing blacks as rights bearing subjects of liberal democracy. Using images from the Peabody Archive at the University of Georgia the talk draws on Eduard Glissant’s prescient ideas about black opacity and transparency in Caribbean colonial relations to consider how television and social problems discourse of race relations produced a conception of blackness as transparent and thus knowable subjects as a condition of liberal citizenship. At the same time, Gray proposes that in some instances while 20th century television representations of blackness generated by blacks were committed to a politics of transparency others were knowingly opaque and refused the desire to produce recognizably transparent black subjects as a condition of liberal citizenship.


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