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Mabel O. Wilson
Black Lives Matter Protest at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, September 2018
Mabel O. Wilson: Memory/Race/Nation - The Politics of Modern Memorials
Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Lower Gallery
Mabel O. Wilson is a Professor of Architecture, a co-director of Global Africa Lab and the Associate Director at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. She has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) and Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012). She is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. She was recently one of twelve curators contributing to MoMA’s current exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Architecture.” Wilson is a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA?) a collective that advocates for fair labor practices on building sites worldwide and whose work was most recently shown in a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The recent fiery debates and now deadly protests sparked by the removals of Confederate war monuments around the United States raises import questions about the racialized origins of American democracy and as a consequence whether public representations can ever truly represent foundational ideals liberty, equality and justice for all. Prof. Mabel O. Wilson’s talk will explore the blueprint for the biopolitics of the U.S. social order, one where white citizens, idealized in the bronze figures of soldiers, politicians and muses, have thrived at the expense of the lives and labor of black and brown bodies, what Michel Foucault formulated in the modern racial state’s power dynamic of “to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die.”