‘On Whiteness’: A conversation with acclaimed author Claudia Rankine, March 24


[Boston, MA – March 15, 2017]  ArtsEmerson proudly announces On Whiteness, a live conversation with MacArthur Foundation Fellow and acclaimed author, Claudia Rankine. As the Fresh Sound Master Artist in Residence at Emerson College, Rankine will present an investigation of the historically unquestioned role whiteness plays in race relations and will be followed by a Q&A with Rankine and ArtsEmerson Co-Artistic Director, P. Carl. The special event takes place Friday, March 24, 2017 at 6pm, at the landmark Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre located at 219 Tremont Street, in Boston’s Downtown Theatre District. The event is free and open to the public, with reservation required at www.artsemerson.org or by calling 617.824.8400.

“Given that the concept of racial hierarchy is a strategy employed to support white dominance,” says Ms. Rankine, “whiteness is an important aspect of any conversation about race. This talk will make visible that which has been intentionally presented as inevitable so that we can move forward into more revelatory conversations about race.”

“Claudia Rankine is one of the great artists of our time,” shares ArtsEmerson Co-Artistic Director P. Carl. “Her voice is a critical contribution to our current political reality and her book Citizen: An American Lyric has changed the way we talk about race in America. She was an obvious choice to be the Fresh Sound Master Artist-in-Residence this year. ArtsEmerson is honored to be working with her on a new play for our 2017-2018 Season. Her presence will be deeply felt in Boston over the next year and this residency kicks off many more conversations that her writing will spark in the months to come.”

“Claudia goes deeply into troubled waters, with a fearlessness that both illuminates and challenges notions of race in America,” says David Dower, Co-Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson. Her gaze is fixed squarely on questions of whiteness, and any chance to hear from her directly about what she sees is exhilarating. It will also give us a peek at the preoccupations underlying her new play she’s writing with ArtsEmerson.”

About Claudia Rankine
A 2016 “Genius Grant” MacArthur Fellow, Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. For her book Citizen, Rankine won both the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was the first book ever to be named a finalist in both the poetry and criticism categories); and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in California and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.
For more information, visit http://claudiarankine.com/.

About the Fresh Sound Foundation
The Fresh Sound Foundation builds vibrant and viable communities through the arts, economic development, and stewardship of the environment. It believes that celebration of the arts can create common ground, encourage tolerance, and even help heal a nation torn apart by war. It focuses on supporting the business needs of arts organizations, so that artists are free to do what they do best. For more information, visit http://freshsoundfoundation.org/.

About ArtsEmerson
ArtsEmerson is the professional presenting and producing organization of the Office of the Arts at Emerson College, and aims to address gaps in Boston’s cultural landscape by putting the world on stage and inviting diverse audiences from across the region into its historic downtown venues. Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard under the auspices of Emerson College, ArtsEmerson quickly established a reputation for putting great work from diverse cultures on its stages — work that emanates from the language of theater, yet pushes the boundaries into dance, music, and opera.  The organization is committed to building a cultural institution that embraces and reflects the changing demographics of the City of Boston. ArtsEmerson operates from the core belief that the arts are for everyone. In 2015, Orchard moved into the role of Creative Consultant. Currently ArtsEmerson is led by Co-Artistic Directors, David Dower and P. Carl, and Executive Director, David Howse. This shared leadership model reflects the organization’s values — that multiple voices are essential to leading a 21st century arts organization. Click here for more information.

About Emerson College
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in the liberal arts, communication, and the arts. The College has approximately 3,500 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its beautifully restored 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, DC, London, China, the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa. The College has an active network of 37,000 alumni. For more information, visit emerson.edu.
Click here for information.

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