The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) & Center for Black Visual Culture (CBVC) at New York University are both interdisciplinary spaces for students, faculty, post-doc fellows, artists, scholars and the general public. Founded in 1969, IAAA’s mission continues to research, document, and celebrate the cultural and intellectual production of Africa and its diaspora in the Atlantic world and beyond with a commitment to the study of Blacks in modernity through concentrations in Pan-Africanism and Black Urban Studies. The CBVC, expanding on that mission, is a space for scholarly and artistic inquiry (framing and reframing) into the understanding and exploration of images focusing on Black people globally with critical evaluation of images in multiple realms of culture, including how various archives and the development of visual technologies affect the construction of representations. The goals of IAAA and CBVC converge to promote and encourage collaborative research projects, experimental learning and open spaces to the larger community for broad and thematic discussions through various, diverse and dynamic public programming and initiatives by way of conferences, lectures, workshops, screenings, exhibitions, readings, performances, visiting scholars, artist residencies and publications.


Freemasonry and the Visual Arts from the Eighteenth Century
Forward Historical and Global Perspectives
(Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020) 

Friday, January 31


6 – 8 pm

Tisch School of the Arts-NYU
721 Broadway, 12th floor, Dean’s Conference Room

A book presentation and round table discussion with William D. Moore (Director, American and New England Studies Program, BU),  Reva Wolf, co-editor of Freemasonry and the Visual Arts (Professor of Art History, SUNY New Paltz), and Deborah Willis (Chair, Department of Photography and Imaging/Director of IAAA/CBVC, NYU).

For RSVP and more info:

Modernity, Fascism & Resistance: How Four Ethiopians Confronted,
Maneuvered and Survived the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-1941
Thursday, February 6

7:00 PM

 NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street   NY, NY

A lecture by Yemane Demissie (NYU Professor / Filmmaker) with Heran Sereke-Brhan (Ph.D. Cultural Historian, Interim Executive Director, Commission on the Arts & Humanities). In collaboration with Centro Primo Levi, NYU Department of History, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, NYU Department of Italian Studies, NYU Center for the Study of African and the African Diaspora (CSAAD)

For RSVP and more info:

The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion
(Aperture, 2019)
Friday, February 7

1:00 PM – 2:30 pm

Tisch School of the Arts-NYU
721 Broadway
Riese Lounge, 1st floor

On the occasion of the recently released Aperture photography book, The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, the objects speak series proudly presents its inaugural event: a conversation with art critic, curator and author Antwaun Sargent and Dr. Isolde Brielmaier, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies in the Department of Photography, Imaging and Emerging Media at Tisch School of the Arts, on redefining representation of the Black body.

For more information and to RSVP:

Photo: Steven G. Fullwood

The Not Obvious: Black Archives in Other Places
 Tuesday, February 11

6 – 8 pm

Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture-NYU
14A Washington Mews, 1st Floor Space

Can a film festival be an archive? This program seeks to engage archivists, librarians, scholars, curators, artists and audience goers in a conversation in black archival resources housed outside of black institutions. Throughout New York City, there are a number of so-called hidden black archival resources in mainstream institutional records. There are also events such as film festivals whose platforms arguably could be considered as “archival” for black films no longer in wide distribution.

PANELISTS: Melay Araya (Associate Artistic Director + Archivist, The Town Hall, NYC), Ashley Clark (Senior repertory and specialty film programmer, Brooklyn Academy of Music). Moderator: Steven G. Fullwood, Project Director, Center for Black Visual Culture, Institute of African American Affairs.

Please RSVP: or (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email.

100 YEARS|100 WOMEN: Women Creating Nouns, Not Adjectives
Saturday, February 15   

4:30  –  6:00 pm 

Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue  (at 66th / 67th Streets), NY, NY

NYU joins Park Avenue Armory and other commissioning partners from across New York City to produce 100 YEARS|100 WOMEN, a cultural event to mark 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Part of the Armory’s annual “Culture in a Changing America” all-day symposium, the panel title “Women Creating Nouns, Not Adjectives” references the quote by suffragist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton:  “I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” Invited artists will look at ways on how they have had to reflect on womanhood, citizenship, intersectional feminism, and the myriad ways they navigate these issues in their work. How is gender used as a means to interrogate, redefine, extrapolate boundaries?  And looking at the title of this panel, how does an adjective become a noun and vice versa? And what values do we place on these words? Visual artists include: Zalika Azim, Renee Cox, Rose DeSiano, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Lorie Novak, and Yelaine Rodriguez. Moderated by Deborah Willis (Director, NYU-IAAA & CBVC; Chair, NYU-Department of Photography and Imaging) and Ellyn M. Toscano (NYU Senior Director for Programming, Partnerships and Community Engagement in Brooklyn).

NYU co-sponsoring departments: Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation, Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture, Department of Photography and Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts.

This event is the first of a two-part, multi-disciplinary exploration of the impact of the 19th Amendment on the cultural and social landscape of America and beyond. Part II, on May 16th, will showcase and celebrate the 100 commissioned works by women artists.

Ticket required. For schedule and to purchase tickets please visit:

Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial by Jessica Ingram
(The University of North Carolina Press, 2019)
Tuesday, February 18

7:30 - 8:30 pm

Strand Books, 828 Broadway at 12th Street, NY, NY

Join Jessica Ingram in conversation with Deborah Willis as they discuss Ingram’s landscape photographs in Road Through Midnight. The result of nearly a decade of research and fieldwork, Ingram unlocks powerful and complex histories to reframe sites of pivotal events during the civil rights era.

For RSVP, admission fee (includes copy of book) and more info please contact:

Robyn and Whitney: A Song For You  
Friday, February 21  

6 – 8 pm

NYU Silver Center, Jurow Lecture Hall
32 Waverly Place, 1st Floor
(between University Place/Washington Square East and Greene Street)

A reading and book discussion with author Robyn Crawford, author of A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston (Dutton/Penguin Random House, 2019).

Coal, War & Love by Rudean Leinaeng
(Tulipbud Press/BookBaby, 2019)
Thursday, February 27

6 – 8 pm

Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture-NYU
14A Washington Mews, 1st Floor Space

Join author Rudean Leinaeng as she reads and discusses her work with her son, Lyle Ashton Harris. In the early 1900s, Al Johnson is 29 years old when he meets the woman of his dreams―nineteen-year-old Evie Ashton. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, but Evie is used to a certain lifestyle that Al labors to provide. Through struggles and hardships, against the backdrop of the Great War and the Spanish flu, Al and Evie fight for survival―both for their family, and for the life they've built together. Based on a true story, Coal, War & Love explores what it meant to be poor and "colored" in the early 20th century. For many, it was a time of imagination and great hope, a wonderful time to be alive―but for others, it was rife with struggle that only the strongest might overcome.

Please RSVP: or (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email.

Photo: Mckinley Smith, Jr.

Born and raised in New York City, Rudean Leinaeng received a BA degree in Chemistry from Hunter College and an MS from New York University.  She was a Professor at Bronx Community College where she taught for 30 years.  During the 1970s, Rudean lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for two years.  It was a life-changing experience, especially for her two young sons, Thomas and Lyle, who accompanied her.

After participating in the struggle for a free South Africa during the 1980s as a member of Women for Racial and Economic Equality, she and her husband Pule Leinaeng, an African National Congress activist, took up residence in Bloemfontein, South Africa.  In 2002, she co-produced the acclaimed documentary film, Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela, directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris.  In 2012, she was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame for her activism and leadership.

Lyle Ashton Harris - Photograph by John Edmonds

Lyle Ashton Harris has been widely exhibited internationally, including most recently in “Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story’’ and “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. His work was included in the Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the Whitney Biennial (2017), and presented by Cinéma Du Réel at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018), among others.

Harris is represented in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York as well as other collections.

Harris received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2016), the David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2014), and the Rome Prize Fellowship (2000) among other awards and honors.  He is a Professor of Art at New York University.

Archives as Activism
(when in QUARANTINE)
A Virtual Discussion
Monday, April 13  

5 – 6 pm

How do we as activists, community members, practitioners, advocates, documentarians, artists, and researchers actively engage with archives and cultural histories during a pandemic and while in quarantine? The speakers will facilitate an open discussion on the challenges of community archival work in and outside of quarantine, with an aim to brainstorm and reimagine experiences and observations about new archival initiatives, and discuss the things we can do during this current historical moment.


MIRANDA MIMS (co-founder of the Nomadic Archivist Project; Special Collections Archivist in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation at the University of Rochester)

SHAWN(TA) SMITH-CRUZ (co-coordinator of Lesbian Herstory Archives; Associate Dean for Teaching Learning, and Engagement of NYU Libraries)

Moderated by:
STEVEN G. FULLWOOD (co-founder of the Nomadic Archivists Project; Project Director for the Center for Black Visual Culture-NYU)

For more info and on-line Zoom Meeting instructions please go to:

Billy Gerard Frank’s  Second Eulogy: Mind the Gap
A Virtual Screening & Discussion
Tuesday, April 14

Narratives of the Diaspora is an opt-in interactive experience featuring a Virtual Screening & Discussion

At Your Own Pace

Pre-watch a screening of Billy Gerard Frank’s
Second Eulogy: Mind the Gap


Live Stream Film With Us!
Tuesday, April 14th at 5:15 pm

Followed by discussion at 6:00 pm with
Billy Gerard Frank (Filmmaker)
Seph Rodney (Hyperallergic) and
Lyle Ashton Harris (NYU Steinhardt)

To register, view film and for more information:

Sponsored by NYU Center for the Humanities
Co-sponsored by The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and
the Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture



Exposing Slavery
Photography, Human Bondage, and the
Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America
(Oxford University Press, 2019)
A Virtual Discussion
Thursday, April 30th

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm EST

Location: On-line

A virtual book talk with author
Matthew Fox-Amato

Moderated by Daniel Dawson

Within a few years of the introduction of photography into the United States in 1839, slaveholders had already begun commissioning photographic portraits of their slaves. Exposing Slavery explores how photography altered and was, in turn, shaped by conflicts over human bondage.

For more information and link/instructions to watch the discussion on-line please visit:

Is Hip-Hop A Religion?
A Virtual Discussion
Thursday, May 14th

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EST

Location: On-line

A virtual talk with
Harry Allen

Moderated by Piper Carter

In his talk, Is Hip-Hop A Religion?, Harry Allen takes on this issue: could hip-hop, with its manifold beliefs, objectives, and often sublime corpus of texts, be a religion, itself?

For more information and link/instructions to watch the discussion on-line please visit:


The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) & Center for Black Visual Culture (CBVC) at New York University would like to thank all of our co-sponsors including NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation; Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography & Imaging; and Park Avenue Armory.



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