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Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judith Butler, Isaac Julien: Conversation

Thursday, March 4 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

Isaac Julien, Helen Pitts Class of 1859 (Lessons of the Hour), 2019.

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts and the San Francisco Public Library honor Women’s History Month with this conversation between Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judith Butler, and artist Isaac Julien about the legacy of the influential women in the life of Frederick Douglass (1818-95). Julien’s genre-breaking, ten-screen film installation “Lessons of the Hour-Frederick Douglass” (2019) celebrates the abolitionist as an early figure in the intersectional pursuit of human rights. The piece is on view through March 13, 2021 at the Foundation’s San Francisco gallery.  

This event is hosted online via Zoom. Attendance is free with registration. 

The panelists will explore the influential role of figures important to Douglass’ life and voice. Julien worked closely with Bernier, professor of United States and Atlantic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, on Lessons of the Hour’s narration to construct “tableaux vivants” that reimagine Douglass’ relationships to a range of key historical figures, including his first wife Anna Murray-Douglass, his second wife Helen Pitts, and the suffragette Susan B. Anthony. 

Currently the Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature at the UC Berkeley, Butler has compelled generations of activists, artists, and students to grapple with notions of gender performativity, individualism, and power. Her renowned scholarship in the fields of philosophy, ethics, and feminist, queer, and literary theory guides her moderation of the conversation.