Book Talk Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class

Book Talk
Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class

May 14, 2010
UW Club Conference Room
11:00am to 12.00pm

BanksPatricia A. Banks is featured in the Center for Multicultural Education's Book Talk series on May 14, 2010. In her book, Represent: Art and Identity Among the Black Upper-Middle Class, Banks traverses the New York and Atlanta art worlds to uncover how Black identities are cultivated through Black art patronage. Drawing on over 100 in-depth interviews, observations at arts events, and photographs of art displayed in homes, Banks elaborates a racial identity theory of consumption that highlights how upper-middle class Blacks forge Black identities for themselves and their children through the consumption of Black visual art.  She not only challenges common assumptions about elite cultural participation, but also contributes to the heated debate about the significance of race for elite Blacks, and illuminates recent art world developments. In doing so, Banks documents how the salience of race extends into the cultural life of even the most socioeconomically successful Blacks.

Patricia A. Banks is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Mount Holyoke College. Her research and teaching interests include the sociology of culture and race and ethnicity. She received her Ph.D. and A.M. from Harvard University and B.A. from Spelman College (Valedictorian, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). Her research has been published in journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies. In 2009-2010, Professor Banks is in residence as a Fellow at the W.E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Professor Banks has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, an Exchange Scholar at Columbia University, and received fellowships or grants from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, AAUW, the UNCF/Mellon Program, and the Irene Diamond fund. She has been recognized for teaching excellence by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and presented her research at major conferences such as the Collecting African American Art: Aesthetics, Methods, and Marketplace Conference at the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, and the Arts, Culture and the Public Sphere Conference in Venice, Italy.