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Race and Intellectual Property Law

March 22, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

The kick-off event for the Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice’s Spring Symposium will explore questions about the construction of racial identity based on access to and control of the production of knowledge (in the form of art, pop culture, and mass media). How does intellectual property law facilitate cultural appropriation? How does it ascribe value to racialized representations for public consumption? How can it be leveraged to bring the means of (art) production to people of color? How do our collective understandings of art and race determine the creation and interpretation of intellectual property law? This panel will seek to address these questions and much more.

Antwaun Sargent (@sirsargent) is a freelance writer and contemporary art critic who is published on Vice,, Huffington Post, and many other platforms. Sargent hails from Chicago, his unique aesthetic combines the written word with fashion statements, incorporating issues of social injustice with visual art in a delicate balance of creativity and criticism.

Anjali Vats is Assistant Professor of Communication and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. She teaches courses in the areas of race, rhetoric, law, and media studies. Her research is focused on rhetorics of race in law and popular culture.

Minh-Ha T. Pham is an interdisciplinary scholar and Associate Professor at the Pratt Institute whose research examines how relations of race, gender, and capitalism shape and are reshaped by social media practices and platforms. Currently, she is working on two book projects: (1) a book, tentatively titled Social Legality: Mediating Race, Morality, and Piracy, that investigates how social media is an extra-legal but no less authoritative site for the production and maintenance of race and property relations in the context of fashion design, a work that is not protected under US copyright law (2) a co-edited collection of essays (with Anjali Vats and Deidre A. Keller) that intends to expand the interdisciplinary scope and reach of the subfield of race and intellectual property beyond the legal academy.

Kimberly Drew (@museummammy) is a writer, curator, and activist with a passion for innovation in art, fashion, and cultural studies. Drew received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History and African-American Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies. An avid proponent of black spaces, Drew first experienced the art world as an intern in the Director’s Office of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her time at the Studio Museum inspired her to start the Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art, sparking her interest in social media. Drew is currently the Social Media Manager at The Met.

The conversation will be moderated by Sarah Lewis, a bestselling author, curator, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard University. Her essays on race, contemporary art and culture have been published in many journals as well as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America and for the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rizzoli.

Lunch from Haley House will be served.


March 22, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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