Exhibition Gallery Talk: A Site of Struggle with Leslie Harris and Miriam Petty: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Exhibition Gallery Talk: A Site of Struggle with Leslie Harris and Miriam Petty

12:30 PM-1:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu March 3, 2022
12:30 PM-1:30 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


This program is offered by Northwestern faculty Leslie Harris, Professor of History, and Miriam Petty, Associate Professor of Associate Professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film.

Exhibition Gallery Talks are offered monthly by Block Museum staff, Northwestern faculty and students, or community leaders in Evanston to explore and discuss the questions and ideas raised in A Site of Struggle.

Program participants are invited to tour the exhibition independently before or after the seated program. Discussion will center respectful participation and shared learning. Advance registration is required



Leslie M. Harris is Professor of History and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A specialist in Pre-Civil War African American history, she has authored or co-edited five books, including In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City (2003) and most recently Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (2019, with James T. Campbell and Alfred L. Brophy).  Harris has also participated in a number of public history projects, including the award-winning Slavery in New York exhibition (2005-2007) at the New-York Historical Society, and the accompanying book (with Ira Berlin); the re-interpretation of the urban slave quarters at Telfair Museum’s Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia, which included the edited volume Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (2013, with Daina Ramey Berry); and the interactive website “People Not Property” with Historic Hudson Valley (New York, 2019). She is currently working on Leaving New Orleans: A Personal Urban History, which uses memoir and family, urban and environmental histories to explore the multiple meanings of New Orleans in the nation, from its founding through its uncertain future amid climate change. Harris received her undergraduate degree at Columbia and her doctoral degree at Stanford. Before moving to Northwestern, she taught for 21 years at Emory University. Her work has been supported by the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, the Mellon and Ford Foundations, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas, and the University of Maryland.


Miriam J. Petty is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School at Northwestern University, and Associate Professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film. She writes and teaches about race, stardom, performance, reception, adaptation, and genre and is especially interested in the history of African American representation in Hollywood film. Her first book, Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood (University of California Press, 2016) seeks a historical recalibration of early Hollywood film stardom, via its meditation on Black actors of the era. Stealing the Show won the 2017 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Best First Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Krasna-Krausz Foundation’s 2017 Best Moving Image Book Award. Petty is currently at work on a book project examining contemporary media mogul Tyler Perry’s stardom, his stage and screen productions, and his appeal for contemporary African American audiences. At Northwestern, Petty serves as affiliate faculty in African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Performance Studies. She is a Charles Deering McCormick Chair in Teaching Excellence, and a past Director of Graduate Studies for the Screen Cultures PhD Program.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu