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A lecture by Robin Bernstein (Harvard), followed by a conversation with Freyja Hartzell (BGC) and Dominique Jean-Louis (New-York Historical Society)

In the mid-twentieth century, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark conducted their famous “doll test” in which they asked African American children whether they preferred Black or white dolls. Most children identified white dolls as “nice” and Black dolls as “bad”—proof, the Clarks argued, that segregation psychologically damaged Black children. These findings figured pivotally in Brown v. Board of Education. In this lecture, Robin Bernstein defamiliarizes the “doll test” by locating it not in the history of Civil Rights but instead in a history of representational play—violently racist practices of play that were, for a century, coordinated through Black dolls.

Wednesday, October 12, 6 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

$15 General Admission | $12 Seniors
Free for people with a college or museum ID, people with disabilities and caregivers, and BGC members

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