Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media Culture and Communication at New York University, speaks on “Freedom and the Global South: The Legacy of Black Reconstruction” as part of GIPCA’s Great Texts public lecture series on Thursday 23 May 2013.

In 1935 W.E.B. Du Bois published his monumental work Black Reconstruction. More than just a history of Reconstruction after the abolition of slavery (1865-77), his book was a blueprint for freedom. For Du Bois, the global South was the hope for a different future. Drawing on own his prize-winning book, The Right to Look,  Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff’s presentation will track the legacy of Black Reconstruction in our understanding of democracy, education, debt and land justice. He connects Du Bois’s project to the global social movements since 2011 and their call for a new reconstruction for our own time.

Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media Culture and Communication at New York University, and is one of the founders of the academic discipline of visual culture in books like An Introduction to Visual Culture (1999/2009) and The Visual Culture Reader (1998/2002/2012). He is also Deputy Director of the International Association for Visual Culture and organised its first conference in 2012. His most recent book The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. He is currently working on expanding the project into a trilogy. The second part will deal with countervisuality in the global social movements of 2011, in which Mirzoeff was an active participant with Occupy Wall Street and Strike Debt. The concluding volume looks beyond the limits of visuality and visualizing to the possibilities of resonance, jubilee and mutual aid.

Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff’s visit to the University of Cape Town is supported by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s office.

Great Texts lectures will take place on Thursdays for the month of May. This lecture will take place on Thursday 23 May 2013 at 17:30 at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town; and is free. Refreshments will be served from 17:00; no booking is necessary. For more information on the Great Texts series, please contact 021 480 7156 or

Photograph by Carl Pope.

Nicholas Mirzoeff audio recording available for download.

Venue: Hiddingh Hall

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa