Seeing Through Race: A Conversation with W.J.T. Mitchell
For W.J.T. Mitchell, a "color-blind" post-racial world is neither achievable nor desirable. Against popular claims that race is an outmoded construct that distracts from more important issues, in his new book – Seeing Through Race – Mitchell contends that race remains essential to our understand of social reality. Mitchell uses visual culture, iconology, and media studies to powerfully reframe our understanding of race and racism. This conversation will be moderated by WBEZ's Natalie Moore. Attendees will also have the opportunity to break down into smaller, facilitated discussion groups – Cafe Society style – to dig deeper into issues of race and racism.
Due to unforseen circumstances, W.J.T Mitchell is unable to participate in this conversation. In his place, Barbara Ransby -- Professor of African American Studies, History, and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago -- will speak about issues of race, post-race, and racism.
The Public Square and WBEZ present this special Cafe Society conversation as part of “Race: Out Loud” – a summer long series produced by WBEZ and vocalo, aiming to hear what people have to say about race in 2012.
W. J. T. Mitchell is the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues. Under his editorship, Critical Inquiry has published special issues on public art, psychoanalysis, pluralism, feminism, the sociology of literature, canons, race and identity, narrative, the politics of interpretation, postcolonial theory, and many other topics. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Morey Prize in art history given by the College Art Association of America. In 2003, he received the University of Chicago's prestigious Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.
Café Society is a program of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, a station partner. This series of conversations – where families, friends, neighbors, and citizens come together to discuss current events and other important political and social issues – aims to foster engagement in the meaningful exchange of ideas and perspectives, enliven the core of democracy and empower the public. "Cafe Society with WBEZ" was started in 2009 as an annual collaboration whereby one of the monthly Roving Cafe Society discussions is hosted at each of WBEZ's facilities throughout the year.