DOI: 10.1215/10757163-10904006 ISSN: 1075-7163

American Art Historiography, Slavery, and Its Aftermath

Tanya Sheehan
  • Anthropology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

True to its cultural roots in the United States, the field of American art history has been slow to recognize centuries of slavery’s shaping of visual production and has only begun to address historiography’s persistent devaluation of Black lives. This article explores how scholars over the last decade are attempting to integrate discussions of slavery into studies of American art and reflects on the political implications of doing so. Their work invites us to look again at key moments in US history through the lens of art and slavery, holding out the possibility of reinventing the story of American art in relation to the African diaspora.

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