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Jumping Jack to Jump Jim Crow

Event Details

August 23, 2018 7:00 AM — August 23, 2018 9:00 AM
Location: African American Museum of Iowa
55 12th Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Email: vweeks@blackiowa.org
Phone: 3198622101
Website: www.blackiowa.org

Event Description

Join Dr. Barbara Mooney on:
August 23 at 7pm
African American Museum of Iowa
Free and open to the public, part of Humanities Iowa Presentations.

As the Southern author, William Faulkner, famously said in one of his novels “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The historical legacy of slavery still haunts our nation, and not just in the South. Disparaging images of African-American male slaves have had a particularly corrosive influence over American culture and continues well into twentieth-first century. Mooney’s lecture addresses a part of that difficult history by examining the painful evolution of the imagery of the black male slave as a happy buffoon in early American popular visual culture. She argues that early minstrelsy stereotypes need to be understood within the context of broader culture, specifically European popular visual culture that engaged with jocular, movable figures, such as the French moveable puppet known as a pantin. Examples of this pernicious American racial stereotype include illustrations on musical scores, tobacco labels, newspaper illustrations, and children’s toys. Those attending this lecture will witness very uncomfortable imagery, but Mooney is committed firmly to the idea that the historical roots of racism need to be unearthed and confronted if they ever can be overcome.

Barbara Burlison Mooney, Associate Professor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa, teaches courses on the history of American architecture, international contemporary architecture, global landscape design history, African-American art, and art history methodology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her first book, Prodigy Houses of Virginia, was published by the University of Virginia in 2008 and addressed Virginia’s eighteenth-century colonial mansions and their owners. Her edited volume, titled Vernacular America: Architectural Studies from Winterthur Portfolio, was published by the University of Chicago Press and Winterthur Portfolio in 2014. Mooney has also published articles on African-American slave dwellings, Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the restoration of Lincoln’s New Salem in Illinois, and early settler impressions of the American tallgrass prairie landscape. Her current book project investigates church architecture on the American Midwestern tallgrass prairie from the early-nineteenth century to the early-twentieth century.