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CONF: “Coloring Print – Reproducing Race Through Material, Process, and Language” (NY, 15 Feb 2019)

The Association of Print Scholars is pleased to announce the scholars and papers selected for inclusion in its affiliated society panel at the College Art Association conference taking place February 13-16, 2019 in New York.

Chaired by Christina Michelon (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), the APS panel "Coloring Print: Reproducing Race Through Material, Process, and Language" investigates the racialized dimensions of print and printmaking. The medium has played a central role in the ideological founding of “race” and its hierarchies through visual representation. However, print’s materials, processes, and the language we use to describe them interface with conceptions of race in ways that require further study. For example, the term “stereotype” originated in the printing trade but has since evolved to mean an oversimplified general idea, often with pejorative racial connotations; the invention of chromolithography in the nineteenth century offered a more nuanced way of representing skin tones but simultaneously enabled the increased circulation of racist imagery; the rabid appreciation and collection of Japanese prints in the West altered artistic production globally while idealizing Eastern cultures; anthropological sketches and watercolor studies of native peoples were routinely translated to print, widely reproduced, and used as tools of imperialism and colonialism.

"Coloring Print" examines global printmaking traditions that advance our understanding of the role of the medium in the social construction of race. The papers chosen include:

"Red Ink: Ethnographic Prints and the Colonization of Dakota Homelands” by Annika Johnson (University of Pittsburgh)

"Sites of Contest and Commemoration: The Printed Life of Richard Allen, America's Early Race Leader" by Melanee C. Harvey (Howard University)

"A Franco-Indian Album: Firmin Didot’s Indian Paintings and Le Costume Historique’s Chromolithography (1888)" by Holly Shaffer (Brown University)

"The White Native Body in Asia: Woodcut Engraving and the Creation of Ainu Stereotypes" by Christina M. Spiker (St. Catherine University).


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