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Online: Olfactory Racism and the Atlantic World, with Prof. Andrew Kettler

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Professor Andrew Kettler presents a lecture on the role of smell in ideas about race and the environment in the age of Atlantic slavery.

About this Event

This presentation uses smell as a frame of analysis for understanding constructions and perceptions of race and the environment in the age of Atlantic slavery. Professor Andrew Kettler shares the history of aromatic consciousness in the making of Atlantic-era resistance to the racialized olfactory discourses of state, religious and slave masters.

To justify their dehumanizing practices, proponents of slavery defined African bodies as inferior and deserving of enslavement. Slaves were considered noxious and pungent by their owners, inferior to their masters. By branding African bodies as odoriferous, slave owners equated them with beasts of burden: well-equipped for hard labor. The enslaved people themselves were trapped in situation in which modern hygiene and other trappings of the Enlightenment remained beyond their reach.

Registrants to this event will receive the preface to Kettler's monograph, The Smell of Slavery: Olfactory Racism in the Atlantic World (Cambridge 2020), before the start of class, and chapter one as further reading subsequent to the event.

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This event is presented as part of our Scent and Society series, an ongoing exploration of the multiplicity of perfume histories across time and across the world. Please be advised that this talk may broach very difficult topics, and some of the historic images and texts in the presentation will have been originally created to be hurtful and demeaning to targeted communities. We engage in this conversation in the interest of public discourse about how historic and contemporary thinking relate to scent. Our purpose is to celebrate the historic diversity of scent practices in the hopes of creating a fuller representation of how humans have engaged with scent, and to understand the underpinnings of xenophobia, racism and all forms of othering in order to combat them. We welcome questions, feedback and comments at hello@artandolfaction.com.

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This is an online talk. The Zoom link will be sent by email 24 hours before the class.

This event is presented as part of our relaunched 'Scent and Society' series. Scent and Society is an ongoing exploration of the multiplicity of perfume histories across time, and across the world.

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ABOUT ANDREW KETTLER

Andrew Kettler served as an Ahmanson-Getty Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019-2020. He is currently teaching at the University of South Carolina, Rutgers University, and Presbyterian College. His work has appeared in Senses and Society, the Journal of American Studies, the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association and the Australian Feminist Law Journal. His current monograph, The Smell of Slavery: Olfactory Racism in the Atlantic World (Cambridge 2020), focuses on aromatic consciousness in the making of Atlantic-era resistance to the racialized olfactory discourses of state, religious and slave masters.

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Image credit - noses: The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Image credit - Colonial Map of Berbice: Wikimedia Commons

Image credit - laptop: Michael Geiger on Unsplash

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ATTENDANCE AND REFUND POLICY

This is an online class that will take place on Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent by email approximately 24 hours before the class. Lest this email end up in your spam folder, please be sure to add hello@artandolfaction.com to your address book.

+ Event times are listed in Pacific Time; please use a time converter for your local start time.

+ Please download and install Zoom before the class starts, to avoid last minute technical issues.

+ Please be sure to attend, live! Learn more about how we teach here.

+ Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds or credit for missed sessions. Here is our refund policy: Cancellation with refund or credit requests made 48 hours or more before the scheduled class will be honored with gusto! Refunds or class credits requested less than 48 hours before the course begins, on the day of the course or after the course has started will not be granted. Note also that event tickets are non-transferable.

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