About this Project

The Afterlives of Slavery is a digital platform that investigates the relationship (and endurance) of visual practices fostered during the slaveholding era in the circum-Atlantic world and contemporary modes of seeing black bodies. It consists of two digital exhibits exploring the history of visual regimes of enslavement and their legacies in post-slavery societies:

Visualizing/Performing Blackness in the Afterlives of Slavery: A Caribbean Archive

Curated by Danielle Roper

This exhibit will feature the work of performance and visual artists from the Caribbean. Each artist was invited to create a digital performance/visual art piece reflecting on the legacies of slavery in their individual countries. Together, these pieces address the visualization of blackness in post-slavery societies and allow for a way to investigate the functions and meanings of the concept “afterlives of slavery” as a theoretical and temporal framework for critically engaging visual regimes of racialization in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

Palimpsests: Re-embodiments of the Enslaved in the Nineteenth Century and their Afterlives

Curated by Agnes Lugo-Ortiz

This exhibit will include images, texts, and audio organized around a series of themes that highlight iconographic relationships between nineteenth-century visual culture on slavery and contemporary images pertaining to both the violent policing of black bodies and practices of resistance against racist violence.


The Afterlives of Slavery is an initiative of the Working Group on Slavery and Visual Culture, an interdisciplinary forum at the University of Chicago that investigates images of slavery and the slave trade as well as the creation and use of images and objects by enslaved peoples and slaveholders. 

This platform is supported by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society through two projects: the Slavery and Visual Culture Working Group and Visual Regimes of Enslavement. The Afterlives of Slavery is also supported by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC).

Faculty Organizers

Agnes Lugo-Ortiz 
(University of Chicago, Romance Languages and Literatures)

Allyson Nadia Field
(Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago)

Christopher Taylor
(English, University of Chicago)

Danielle Roper
(Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)

Larissa Brewer-García
(Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)

Graduate Students

Cristina Esteves-Wolff (Curatorial Assistant, Translator, and Editor)  
(Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)

Eva Pensis
(Music & Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Chicago)

Isabela Fraga (Curatorial Assistant and Website Manager)
(Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)

Pedro Doreste
(Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago)