Faculty Highlight

June 24, 2022

Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology and African American Studies, Anna Arabindan-Kesson, is a recipient of the 2022–23 Rome Prize, in her capacity as a Terra Foundation Fellow, for her project entitled "A Dream of Italy: Black Geographies and the Grand Tour."

The American Academy in Rome awards the Rome Prize annually via a national competition.  Recipients receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the Academy in Janiculum Hill, Rome.

Anna was asked about her project.  In her own words:

My project is based on a new book that examines the experiences of Black artists and writers who embarked on a “Grand Tour” of Italy during the nineteenth century. For this fellowship, I focus on the travels of African American artist Robert S Duncanson in conversation with the travel narrative of an enslaved writer named David Dorr. Both men describe their travels in Italy as transformative, as they studied the nation’s historical architecture, art and recently excavated classical ruins. Tracing these journeys, I explore three themes: a) how did they translate their experiences for audiences in both Italy and the United States b) how did their encounters with Italy’s art historical ‘past’ help frame their hopes for different kinds of political futures and c) can these written and artistic descriptions help us reconceptualize Italy itself as a Black geography in ways that could intervene in the discourses of migration, nation, and belonging that continue to circulate today?