Oct. 8, 2007 -- Throughout the fall and spring semesters, the University of Virginia Art Museum will present colloquia that explore themes generated by its special exhibitions focusing on American identities and our Southern legacy. The program supports three of the museum’s exhibitions — "William Christenberry: Site/Possession," "The Dresser Trunk Project" and "The Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art." The series will begin on Oct. 5 at 5:30 p.m. with a talk by Natsu Taylor Saito, Professor of Law at Georgia State University.
Saito's lecture, "Taboo Subjects: Manifest Destiny and American Empire," explores how we reconcile celebrated American values with the realities of the United States' disposition of indigenous peoples, acquisition of overseas territories and its current practices in the War on Terror. In order to address these current realities, Saito will examine many taboo subjects, from our glorification of Columbus's "discovery" of the Americas to the racial hierarchies and divisions that still define American society. Her talk will consider these themes through the lens of manifest destiny — the belief in a peculiarly American purpose of bringing civilization to this continent and the world.
Saito is an attorney and professor of law at Georgia State University, and co-director of the Human Rights Research Fund. Her scholarship focuses on international human rights and the legal history of race in the U.S. She has published numerous Law Review articles and a recent book, "From Chinese Exclusion to Guantánamo Bay: Plenary Power and the Prerogative State" (2007). Saito’s talk is co-sponsored by The Bridge, Progressive Arts Initiative and the University of Virginia Council for the Arts.
The U.Va. Art Museum is open to the public without charge Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Parking is available on Bayly Drive, off Rugby Road.
For information call (434) 924-3592 or visit the museum Web site at www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.
• Oct. 30, 5:30 p.m.
The American Identities Colloquia continues with a talk by Carmenita Higgenbotham, assistant professor, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia, and Jane Gaines, professor, Department of English, Duke University
• Nov.13. 5:30 p.m.
"The Dresser Trunk Project"
William Williams, associate professor, University of Virginia, Craig Barton, chairman, Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia, and Lisa Henry Benham, assistant professor, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Utah, will discuss the issues addressed in the museum’s exhibition "The Dresser Trunk Project."
• Dec. 5, 5:30 p.m.
"Imagining Hale County"
Grace Hale, associate professor, Corcoran Department of History, Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History, and graduate student Scott Matthews, all of the University of Virginia, will discuss the images and heritage of Hale County, Ala. in conjunction with the exhibit "William Christenberry: Site/Possession."
• Jan. 25, 4 p.m.
"Southern Music, American Music"
Richard Will, associate professor, and Melvin Butler, assistant professor, McIntire Department of Music and graduate student Michael Bishop, all of the University of Virginia, will discuss the significance of Southern music.
• March 28, 4 p.m.
"Writing the South"
Area writers read and discuss selections by Southern writers.