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Lecture Series Fall 2020: Jay Cephas

Authentically You: Histories of Navigating Race and Identity in Data Landscapes

You're invited to join us for a lecture on November 11 by recipient of the Carter Manny Award, Jay Cephas! The lecture, "Authentically You: Histories of Navigating Race and Identity in Data Landscapes", will discuss how perceptions of race have long functioned to both validate and invalidate forms of the urban environment, while the buildings, streets, and infrastructures of the city have likewise served to (in)validate race.

In an effort to counter the racialized practices underscoring so-called scientific studies of people and places, W.E.B. Du Bois invented new forms of demographic mapping and visual analysis as part of his late nineteenth-century studies of Black spatial practices. Du Bois' studies, which sought to authenticate and validate Black urban life through data visualization, revealed the fallacies of the prevailing bio deterministic imagination, a pseudo-scientific epistemology built on beliefs rather than empirical evidence that fundamentally shaped urban data analysis.

City and Rural Population book cover
"City and Rural Population," W.E.B. Du Bois,The Georgia Negro: A Social Study, 1900.Courtesy of W. E. B. Du Bois Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Income and Expenditure of 150 Negro Families in Atlanta, GA
"Income and Expenditure of 150 Negro Families in Atlanta, GA, USA,"The Georgia Negro:A Social Study, 1900. Courtesy of W. E. B. Du Bois Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst

W . E. B. Du Bois at the Paris Exposition 1900
W. E. B. Du Bois at the Paris Exposition, 1900. Courtesy of W. E. B. Du Bois Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Watch video recap here.