Exploring Beauty and Truth in Worlds of Color Conference Dissects Race, Art, and Aesthetics

September 21, 2017

Tyler Sloan

Charles Peterson
Associate Professor of Africana Studies Charles Peterson
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Next week's conference, Exploring Beauty and Truth in Worlds of Color, will explore race, art, and aesthetics in the 21st century with scholars and practitioners from across the country.

Through film, art, fashion, humor, and more, Exploring Beauty and Truth in Worlds of Color gathers theorists and practitioners across disciplines to investigate race, art, and aesthetics as they exist in cultural and artistic work. The conference, organized by Associate Professor of Africana Studies Charles Peterson, will take place September 29–30 in the Tappan Room of the Hotel at Oberlin. It is free and open to the public.

Consisting of nine distinct panels, the symposium seeks to expand on the traditional ways audiences understand and consume these subjects. As both a political and cultural theorist, Peterson says bridging the gap between politics and culture is particularly exciting. It was also important to him for the panelists to come from a variety of geographical, disciplinary, generational, and methodological backgrounds.  

“It’s always been interesting for me to see the ways in which culture and artistic production inform political work, and the way in which political work certainly informs artistic production,” Peterson says. “I thought the conference would be a fine vehicle to create ways to explore that—to see what artists and thinkers and theorists would say about this type of creative work and the historical circumstance in which it finds itself.”

More than 25 panelists are participating in the two-day event, which spans topics from “Zootopia, Epistemological Twist, and Implicit Racial Bias” to “Poor Unfortunate Souls: Reimagining Walt Disney’s Ursula as a Site of Black Queerness and Femininity.” The conversations are broken down into broad subjects—fashion, technology, Afro-futurism, humor, film, visual art, music, theater, plus a student panel—with two or three panelists per category. The keynote address, delivered by Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Mexico Kymberly Pinder, is entitled “We have Voice, We have Temper: African American Artists and Public Discourse.”

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