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Night at the Museum Faculty Dialogue

February 21 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

UConn faculty Alexis L. Boylan (Africana Studies and Art and Art History), guest curator of Seeing Truth, and Sandy Grande (Political Science and Native American and Indigenous Studies), will discuss the Night at the Museum franchise and representations of Indigeneity, art, and museums. Positioned as a light, family-friendly comedy, the films use the American Museum of Natural History as the backdrop for antics about a night guard and objects and people that come to life in the museum after dark. Yet amidst the humor are in fact some very complicated and dark suggestions about the authority of museums, historical memory, and the role of Indigenous peoples and their participation in contemporary culture. The discussion will suggest how we as audiences might resist and reimagine traditional thinking about museums and knowledge making.

The exhibition, Seeing Truth: Art, Science, Museums, and Making Knowledge, and related public programs are generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Speaker bios:

Alexis L. Boylan is the director of academic affairs of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) and a professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and the Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Visual Culture (MIT Press, 2020) and Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). Her next book focuses on the visual culture of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in the 20th century and how art and science antagonize and inspire cultural dialogues about truth, knowledge, race, and authority.

Sandy Grande is a Professor of Political Science and Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Connecticut with affiliations in American Studies, Philosophy, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Across her work, she aims to produce more nuanced analyses of the colonial present. She was recently awarded a Fellowship through the UConn Humanities Institute for a project on Indigenous Elders and aging. She was also a recipient of the Ford Foundation, Senior Fellowship. Her book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was published in a 10th anniversary edition and a Portuguese translation is anticipated to be published in Brazil in 2023. In addition to publishing numerous articles and book chapters, she is a founding member of New York Stands for Standing Rock. As one of their projects, they published the Standing Rock Syllabus. In addition to her academic and organizing work, she has provided eldercare for her parents for over ten years and remains the primary caregiver for her 94-yr. old father.


William Benton Museum of Art
253 Glenbrook Rd
Mansfield,, CT United States
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