“Looking At and Looking Away: Gender, Racialized Police Violence and Visibility” by Dr. Sherri Irvin (Presidential Professor of Philosophy, University of Oklahoma)
Racialized police violence against Black men and boys has garnered national attention in the U.S. over the past few years. Videos of police killings of unarmed Black men have circulated widely. The mothers and female partners of the victims have often been highly visible, particularly in their expressions of grief. These injustices have often been treated as objects of fascination and voyeurism, especially by white viewers. Police violence against women and girls of color, on the other hand, has garnered far less attention. In this presentation, Irvin will examine how culturally embedded practices of looking at and looking away interact with gender and race to make violence against the Black male body seem a suitable object of vision while violence against the Black female body is erased, without leading to justice for victims of any gender. Irvin will ask what it would mean to replace objectionable forms of looking at and looking away with a respectful form of seeing that treats such violence as an affront to humanity and forces the seer to acknowledge and combat the underlying injustice.
Dr. Sherri Irvin is Presidential Research Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies and Co-Director of the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. Her edited collection “Body Aesthetics” (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) addresses the aesthetics of the body in relation to social justice, art, evolutionary theory, race, gender, disability, sexuality and sport. Her monograph, “Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art” is under contract with Oxford. Much of her recent work pertains to the intersections of aesthetics and social justice.
With the support of the Alice McLellan Birney Women Studies Fund and the Lecture and Fine Arts Fund.