• Art, Women, Race, and Class Reading Group

Art, Women, Race, and Class Reading Group: Read/Gathered/Discussed Angela Davis’s Women, Race, and Class (1981) at University Art Museum

Every Wednesday, February 6 – April 3, noon – 1 p.m.


The University Art Museum presented the Art, Women, Race, and Class Reading Group in conjunction with the exhibition Carrie Schneider: Rapt, on view February 1 – April 3, 2019. Carrie Schneider’s ongoing photographic series Reading Women (2012-2014) depicts Schneider’s one hundred friends—including artists, writers, and musicians—whom the artist approached to read a text of their choice, written by a woman author, while she captured the process on film and in photographs.  

As part of our public programming around the exhibition, we reached out to our University scholars and colleagues to respond to Angela Davis’ essential text Women, Race, and Class (1981), one of the 100 texts featured in Schneider’s series. For the span of the exhibition, UAlbany faculty, students, staff, and the public gathered every Wednesday at noon to discuss the text’s various themes and chapters. Eight faculty from the department of Art and Art History; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality; History; Music and Theatre; and English as well as the exhibiting artist herself presented new research in response to Davis’s publication—that remains as relevant and crucial to our collective history as ever. All 100 texts in the Reading Women series were loaned to the Museum by the UAlbany Libraries. This event was free and open to the public.

The University Art Museum wishes to thank all of the faculty who took part in the program and led the weekly discussions. We are delighted to share their research that informed their presentations. To access individual faculty presentations please click on the hyperlinks below.



Schedule of Presentations:

February 6

Janell Hobson, Chair, Professor, Writer, Blogger, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Reading Angela Davis: A 400-Year Reflection on "The Legacy of Slavery: Standards for a New Womanhood" in 2019.

This discussion will focus on the first chapter of Angela Davis's Women, Race, & Class, providing context for when it premiered and what lessons it still provides today.

Janell Hobson is Professor and Department Chair of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has authored two books—Venus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2005, 2018) and Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender (SUNY Press, 2016). Her areas of research and teaching engage the intersections of race and gender, specifically through her connections between black women's histories and media and popular culture.


February 13

Kyra Gaunt, Assistant Professor, Department of Music and Theatre

Rape, Racism, and the Myth of the Black Rapist 

University at Albany professor and TED Fellow Kyra Gaunt (Ph.D. University of Michigan) is an ethnomusicologist who studies African American popular music, gender, and technology. Her specific interests include music between the sexes and the gender bias and inequality found from YouTube to Wikipedia. Her book The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities won the 2007 Alan Merriam Prize for most outstanding book from the Society for Ethnomusicology. This work contributed to the emergence of hip-hop studies, black girlhood studies, and hip-hop feminism. Her latest publications include articles on The Carters' APES**T music video shot at the Louvre and the weaponization of Black girls' YouTube twerking videos. Dr. Gaunt is also a federally-certified expert witness on Facebook, a classically-trained vocalist and an R&B/jazz singer-songwriter, and her 2018 TED viral video "How the Jump Rope Got its Rhythm" reached over 7.1M views with translations into 25 languages.


February 20

Rachel Dressler, Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History

Racism, Misogyny and the Contemporary Misuse of the Middle Ages

Rachel Dressler is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Art History at the University at Albany. Her research field is medieval art. She has published extensively on medieval tomb sculpture and issues of status and gender including 2004 book, Of Armour and Men in Medieval England: the Chivalric Rhetoric of Three English Knights’ Effigies. She has also published on materiality and identity in English medieval alabaster sculpture. Professor Dressler’s most recent research focuses on medieval visualizations of history, especially as featured in medieval maps such as the Hereford Mappa Mundi and the Bayeux Embroidery.


February 27

Rakhee Balaram, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History

A Handmaid's Tale: The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class [and 1970's Artist] Perspective

Rakhee Balaram is Assistant Professor of Global Art & Art History at University at Albany. She is currently working on two book-length projects, Decolonizing the Modern: Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore and the Global Avant-Garde, a paradigmatic reassessment of two major Indian artists in the wake of global modernism, and Counterpractice: Psychoanalysis, Politics and the Art of ‘French Feminism’, or an alternative history of art in France after May ’68 (forthcoming, Manchester University Press).


March 6

Barbara Sutton, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Thinking about Reproductive Justice 

Barbara Sutton is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University at Albany. She earned a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, her country of origin, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Oregon. She is the author of Bodies in Crisis: Culture, Violence, and Women's Resistance in Neoliberal Argentina (2010), winner of the National Women's Studies Association Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize in 2011, and Surviving State Terror: Women’s Testimonies of Repression and Resistance in Argentina, (NYU Press, 2018). Her research and teaching interests include body politics, human rights, state violence, collective memory, global gender issues, and intersections of social inequalities.


March 13

Wen Liu, Assistant Professor, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Education and Liberation: Black Women's Perspective

Wen Liu is Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at University at Albany. She is currently working on a prize-winning book project under contract with the University of Illinois Press titled, Assembling Asian American: Psychology and Affective Technologies, where she draws from queer theory, affect, and diasporic postcolonial studies to examine how the category of Asian American is constructed by psychology through a Eurocentric gaze. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Liu has focused her research on the engagement between global social movements and psychological theories on racial, gender, and sexual subjectivities, particularly at the intersection of LGBTQ and diasporic Asian American experiences. Her research has been published in internationally recognized journals such as Feminism & Psychology, Subjectivity, American Quarterly, and Journal of Asian American Studies. Liu is currently co-editing a special issue of “Feminisms and Decolonizing Psychology” for the journal of Feminism & Psychology.


March 20

Kori A. Graves, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Changing ideas about Black Women’s motherhood as a result of the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Kori A. Graves is Assistant Professor of History at the University at Albany, State University of New York where she teaches courses on marriage and family, gender and race, and women’s history. A graduate of the Program in Gender and Women’s History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Graves’ book titled, “The Most Secure Future Possible”: African-American Families, U.S.-Korean Adoption, and Cold War Civil Rights will be released in the fall of 2019 by NYU press. The book assesses the reasons African Americans endeavored to adopt Korean children after the Korean War and why so little is known about African Americans’ involvement in that episode of transnational adoption. The themes that animate Dr. Graves’ research also inform her teaching and her efforts to support non-traditional and first-generation students.


March 27

Eric Keenaghan, Associate Professor, Department of English

Subtext, wishful thinking, or future politics? Reading Angela Davis' black feminism, from before she came out, through a queer lens

Eric Keenaghan is associate professor of English at the University at Albany. He is the author of the book Queering Cold War Poetry (2008), as well as numerous published and forthcoming essays about LGBTQ+ literature, history, and politics, as well as about the relationship between twentieth-century American poetry and various forms of leftist activism and thought.


April 3

Carrie Schneider, Exhibiting Artist

Asking questions about past failures and future promises of intersectionality: an Artist-led Conversation.  

Carrie Schneider is a visual artist working in photography and film, whose screenings and exhibitions include the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; The Art Institute of Chicago; and The Kitchen, New York. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, Vice, Modern Painters, and The New Yorker. She received a Creative Capital Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, attended the Whitney Museum of Art’s Independent Study Program, and is currently faculty at Pratt Institute and the International Center of Photography/Bard’s MFA Program. Carrie is based in Brooklyn and Hudson, New York.