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Sarah Lewis: “Vision & Justice: Art, Race, and Power in a Contested Democracy”

Picture of Sarah Lewis

12:00 pm | 2/20/2020 | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Osher Theater | Until 2:00 pm | 2/20/2020

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard University


How do images—photographs, films, and videos—create narratives that shape our definition of national belonging? In the Naturalization Act of 1790, America defined national belonging—citizenship—as being white, male, and able to hold property. Is the journey from that definition to the current day a legal narrative alone, or is it also a cultural one? And if it is a cultural narrative, what are the inflection points along that journey? How has the work of the arts enlarged our notion of who counts in society from the founding of the country to the present day?

This talk and discussion with scholar Sarah Lewis will address these overarching questions and explore how narratives created by culture—the arts, performances, and images—have both limited and liberated our definition of national belonging in this contested democratic age.

Sarah Lewis is an associate professor of history of art and architecture and of African and African American studies at Harvard University. She served as guest editor of the “Vision & Justice” issue of Aperture, which received the 2017 Infinity Award for Critical Writing and Research from the International Center of Photography.

Admission is free. This event is co-sponsored by the History of Art Department. For more information, visit

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