Anna Arabindan-Kesson

A Material with Memory: Tracing Cotton’s Routes ***Canceled***

This talk examines the visual relationship between the cotton trade and the representation of the black body in American culture, using historical case studies and contemporary art. Juxtaposing contemporary interventions with historical moments, it examines how cotton materially influenced the way black bodies were seen, and how black Americans saw themselves, as both enslaved and free Americans. It argues that tracing this relationship deepens our understanding of the intersections of vision, value, and subjectivity in the production of racial identity in nineteenth-century America, and also today. 


Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Princeton University


Anna Arabindan-Kesson is an art historian who is jointly appointed as an Assistant Professor of Black Diaspora Art in the departments of African American Studies and Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. She has lived and studied in Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, and England, and prior to completing her PhD in African American Studies and Art History in the United States, Anna was a Registered Nurse. Her personal and professional background inflect her academic and curatorial work, which focuses on the relationship of vision and visuality to histories of race, empire, and migration.