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Picturing Us: The Power of the Gaze, A Conversation with Dr. Deborah Willis

About the Event


Feb 1, 12 – 1:30pm


Alumnae Lounge, 40 Talbot Avenue, Medford

Join the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Inclusive Excellence at Tufts University for a conversation with Monroe France and Dr. Deborah Willis. France and Willis will discuss Willis’s extensive photographic career, connecting her artistic practice to the work of Christian Walker, a photographer, critic, and curator who graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in 1984. Walker was a path-making gay Black photographer active in Boston and Atlanta, who made compelling and experimental work about queer sexuality, race, and their intersections from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. His work is the subject of an exhibition Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant, organized by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, and on view at the Tufts University Art Galleries at SMFA, 230 Fenway, through April 21, 2024.

Monroe France is the inaugural Vice Provost for Institutional Inclusive Excellence at Tufts University and a professor of practice at the Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life. Previously, Monroe served as the Senior Associate Vice President for Global Engagement and Inclusive Leadership in the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation at New York University (NYU). Monroe’s career at NYU spanned nearly 20 years and he has 25 years of progressive experience in higher education, non-profits, corporate sectors, arts & creative industries, as well as social responsibility, humanitarian, & philanthropy initiatives as an educator, professor, professional trainer, consultant, strategist, and keynote presenter.

Deborah Willis, Ph.D. is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has affiliated appointments with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis and the Institute of Fine Arts, where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. She is the director of NYU’s Center for Black Visual Culture/Institute of African American Affairs. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation, contemporary women photographers, and beauty.