On March 2019, co-founding member Agnes Lugo Ortiz gave a lecture at the University of Puerto Rico on “Visualizing the Enslaved Face in the Transatlantic World.” The lecture was part of the series Conferencias Caribeñas, organized by the Institute of Caribbean Studies at UPR.

In her talk, Lugo-Ortiz claims that “our visual memory of slavery” is largely inhabited, “on the one hand, by the intense and hyper-visual inscription of nameless bodies in eternal agony; and, on the other, by faces drawn in diffuse profiles, indistinguishable shadows, over what is offered to us as a visible but unidentifiable suffering surface.” This dissolution of the face on the body, which is part of the desubjectifying logic typical to the plantation regime, wasn’t absent from the abolitionist rhetoric, she adds. Lugo-Ortiz then proposes that we turn our attention from the enslaved body to the enslaved face.

Watch the full lecture below:

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