Local Americanists: Autumn M. Womack

September 12, 2019
4:30 - 6:00 PM
2115 Tawes Hall

Autumn Womack is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and African American Studies at Princeton University.

On Thursday, September 12, Womack will give a talk entitled "'A Deplorable Spectacle': Performance, Photography, and Nineteenth-Century Anti-Lynching Activism." This talk recovers the curious history of the multi-modal Baker Exhibit, a wildly popular anti-lynching spectacular featuring the survivors of the 1898 Lake City, South Carolina lynching. Recovering a broad range of media and performance practices associated with the Exhibit – including photographs, dancing, motion-picture, and reform style rhetoric – Womack reveals an all-but-lost chapter in late nineteenth-century anti-lynching reform activism while considering the enduring effects of situating survival and embodied performance at the center of histories of anti-black violence.

From Womack's department website:

Autumn Womack earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2013. She is currently at work on her first book manuscript “Reform Visions: Race, Visuality, and Literature in the Progressive Era.” Bringing together the fields of social science, visual culture, and literary studies, “Reform Visions” examines the important formal and technical features of emergent visual technologies such as photography, motion pictures, and social surveys to black literary aesthetics from the 1880s through the 1920s.

Autumn has taught classes in 19th and 20th century African American literature, Post-bellum “experimental” fiction, the Harlem Renaissance, visual culture, as well as single-author seminars on Toni Morrison (Spring 2014). She looks forward to developing courses in Black visual culture, African American Literary Theory, Social Science and Literature, antebellum performance culture, and African American periodicals.


For more information contact: Robert S. Levine (rlevine@umd.edu)