Critical race theory has been in the news and at the center of much political debate over the past year, but few examples of how it and adjacent concepts are being productively employed in contemporary academic research are well known. In this talk, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor, will discuss her own use of critical race art history as a research method. Drawing upon the work and careers of painters Winslow Homer, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and John Sloan as examples, Shaw will elucidate the ways in which ideas of racial difference were firmly institutionalized in the academic experience and self-instruction that American artists received and engaged in during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She will also share some of the ways that these ideas impacted the formation and practice of American art as a field of research within the broader discipline of art history.
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw is the Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art at Penn and affiliated faculty in Latin American and Latino Studies, Cinema Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. She received her PhD in art history from Stanford University and then held an appointment as an assistant professor of History of Art and African and African American Studies at Harvard University for five years before coming to the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. She has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the National Portrait Gallery; has received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Ford Foundation; and spent a quarter as a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Washington.