Abstract

This essay examines African American artists’ and writers’ engagement with the visual aesthetics of panoramas. Panoramas traditionally relied on an imperialist and pedagogical methodology. Yet panoramas have played a key role in African American political and artistic projects from the nineteenth century to today. The counteraesthetic strategies employed by J. P. Ball’s 1855 abolitionist panorama as well as contemporary artist Kara Walker’s panoramic silhouettes provide an important context for reconsidering the spatial and temporal revisions in Frederick Douglass’s second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom. This essay engages with the pressing scholarly project of charting a nineteenth-century African American aesthetic.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 119-155
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-04
Open Access
No
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