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The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

“At the Table” Speaker Series | Hard to Swallow: The Racist Messages Behind American Images of Fruit

February 24, 2022 @ 5:30 p.m.

This in-person talk will take place in the Center for Creative Photography Auditorium.

Though delicious to look at, representations of fruit in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries had dark consequences, like perpetuating cruel, racist stereotypes about the people who produced and consumed it in the U.S.

This book talk with Kent State professor Shana Klein – author of The Fruits of Empire: Art, Food, and the Politics of Race in the Age of American Expansion – will bring together Art History and Food Studies to reveal how pictures of fruit struck the nerve of the nation’s most heated debates over labor, race and citizenship. It is part of the UAMA “At the Table” Speaker Series presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Art of Food, and is co-sponsored with the UArizona Center For Regional Food Studies.

Shana Klein is an art historian trained in the history of American art, with sub-specialties in African-American and Native-American art.  She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of New Mexico, where she completed the dissertation – and now book – The Fruits of Empire: Art, Food, and the Politics of Race in the Age of American Expansion.” Klein has been awarded several fellowships for her research, including at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, United States Capitol Building, Huntington Library, Henry Luce Foundation and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. She has published research in journals such as American ArtPublic Art Dialogue and Southern Cultures. Her explorations of art, food and racism have also been featured on a number of digital publications and podcasts. Klein’s research interests include: American visual and material culture, food studies, race and post-colonial studies, and art and social justice.

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