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W.E.B. Du Bois Institute - News & Events
Derrick was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard's Department of African and African American Studies in 2004
The author of the first novel published by a black woman in the U.S. was also a leader of the Spiritualist movement that sought guidance from the dead. By: Henry Louis Gates Jr. and R.J. Ellis
From the Press Release:
"An active, gifted teacher, faithful mentor, and valued colleague, Patricia Hills has maintained a prodigious career, producing scholarship that has profoundly shaped the history of American art and visual culture. Her textbook Modern Art in the USA: Issues and Controversies of the Twentieth Century (2001) has become standard reading in the field, and her work on Jacob Lawrence, Alice Neel, Stuart Davis, John Singer Sargent, and Eastman Johnson is highly esteemed. Professor of art history at Boston University, she is a creative, active, and engaged classroom leader who has developed an innovative style of teaching that emphasizes intellectual role-playing and demonstrates striking methodological openness. Hills’s admirable commitment to the time-demanding aspects of pedagogy, such as her rigorous attention to student writing and her ability to combine that investment with a remarkable publication record, are a model for students and teachers across the discipline."
Painting Harlem Modern: The Art of Jacob Lawrence, is now available on Amazon.com
Edwidge Danticat: The Immigrant Artist at Work
Award-winning Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat discusses her reflection on art and exile, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work. Danticat is introduced by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
What does it mean to be an immigrant artist, especially in relation to one’s country of origin? When that country is suffering–-from violence, poverty, oppression, or disaster–-how does the artists’ responsibility change?
For Immediate Release
Contact Vera Grant (617-384-8344) or email@example.com
Cambridge, MA (December 20, 2010) — On December 11 and 12, specialists in African American and American literature from across China gathered at the Beijing Foreign Studies University to commemorate the 60th birthday of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The conference, “The China National Conference on African American Literary Studies and The Releasing of H.L. Gates Jr.’s Works in Chinese Translation,” brought together more than fifty professors and graduate students who presented seminar papers about Gates’s work and about the African American literary canon.
Gates, one of only two academics named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list for 2010, is widely regarded in the United States and abroad as one of the leading figures in the field of African American Studies. He is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and is the author of fourteen books, most recently Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora and Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary People Reclaimed Their Pasts. He co-edited the first four volumes of The Image of the Black in Western Art, just published by the Harvard University Press. His newest book, Black in Latin America, will be published in the spring. In addition, he has hosted and written eleven documentary films, including Black in Latin America, a four-part series that airs on PBS this coming April.
Opening speeches celebrating Gates’s life and works were given by Vice President of the university, Professor Jin Li, Professor Sun Youzhong, the Dean of the School of English and International Studies, and Wang Yuanlu, who translated Gates’s book, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literature. Professor Zhang Zhongzai announced that he had, as an undergraduate, been chosen to introduce Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois (the first black pers
on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard), when Du Bois visited the university in 1952 and 1953. Gates, between 1991 and 2006, was the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, and has edited Du Bois’s complete works, published by Oxford University Press. Gates donated sets of Du Bois’s works to the university and to Professor Zhang.
Gates participated in a two-hour question and answer session conducted by the two professors who translated his books into Chinese, Cheng Xilin, Director of the American Studies Center at the College of Foreign Languages & Cultures of Sichuan University, and Wang Jiaxing, Professor of English at Beijing Foreign Studies University. In addition to The Signifying Monkey, Gates’s memoir, Colored People, was also released by the Peking University Press at the conference. Gates delivered the conference’s keynote lecture on his recent work in genealogy and genetics and African American history.
Literary scholars in China have shown increasing interest in African American literature over the past several years. Sun Youzhong said, “Here at the School of English and International Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University, we have defined Afro-American literature studies as one of our key research areas.”
Wang Jiaxing, one of the translators and the author of A History of the 20th-Century African American Novel, said, “Professor Gates is regarded as one of the most important critical influences in the field of African American cultural and literary studies in China. The Chinese editions of The Signifying Monkey and Colored People lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of African American culture and literary tradition for Chinese students.”
Wang Yuanlu, who is working on a translation of Gates’s Tradition and the Black Atlantic, called Gates “a beacon of light on a challenging course. Chinese scholars believe that the publication of his two books will help them better navigate the stormy waters of African American literary studies.” About the symposium on Gates’s work, Wang said, “Scholars all across China congratulate Professor Gates and his Chinese translators and regard the translation and publication of his work a significant triumph.”
Gates said, “This was truly one of the greatest honors of my career, and I am deeply grateful to my colleagues at the Beijing Foreign Studies University both for the conference in my honor and for overseeing the publication of my work into Chinese. Meeting Professor Zhang Zhongzai, who actually met Dr. Du Bois, was an especial pleasure.”
Two more of Gates’s books are being translated for publication in China next year.
Professor Zhang Zhongzai: "It is such happy coincidence that more than 50 years ago that I, as an undergraduate, had the honour to introduce Dr. Du Bois, the giant Afro-American writer, to the audience, and today we have the great pleasure of having another giant Afro-American writer, Professor Gates with us. Professor Gates, your visit and the visit by Dr. Du Bois will go down in the history of this university as two important events. Your presence at the conference reminds me of the good,old days when I was with Dr. Du Bois."
Dean Sun Youzhong: "The publication of the Chinese versions of Colored People and The Signifying Monkey by Professor Gates is a very significant academic event in African-American literature studies in China. The book launch and the keynote address of Professor Gates on December 11, 2010 at Beijing Foreign Studies University attracted almost all the researchers in this field all over China. Professor Gates has been invited by Vice President Jin Li as honorary professor of BFSU, a leading institution in African-American literature studies in China."
W. E. B. Du Bois' Talented Tenth in Pictures by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
An unusual exhibit of photographs of middle-class African Americans at the Paris Expo of 1900 was a declaration of war against racial stereotypes -- and a forerunner of class conflict among blacks.
It's Time for President Obama to Become a Leader by Lawrence D. Bobo
The president's professorial approach to issues has left Americans wondering what he stands for. He needs to find his Berlin Wall and take a stand on something.
"The Talented Tenth in Pictures" Image gallery curated and annotated by Renée Mussai
To counter the negative images of African Americans in the late 19th century, W.E.B. Du Bois displayed portraits of middle-class blacks at the Paris Exposition of 1900. The Root has published some images from this act of defiance.
"The Image of the Black in Western Art" Image gallery curated by the Image of the Black in Western Art Photo Archive and Research Project, annotated by Sheldon Cheek
The numerous contacts that Greeks, Romans and other Europeans had with people of African origin have been portrayed in art for thousands of years. The objective of 'The Image of the Black in Western Art,' says Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and editor-in-chief of The Root, is to capture and catalog that interaction for all of us to enjoy. Four of 10 projected volumes (co-edited with David Bindman) are now available at Amazon.com and other booksellers.