Press Release

‘… From Abolition to Black Lives Matter’

October 26, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

Laura Wexler, Ph.D.

Yale Professor to Discuss Historic Vision for Photography Nov. 9 at Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio – Yale University professor Laura Wexler, Ph.D., will discuss “Frederick Douglass, Photography, and the Image of the Nation: A Vision of Justice from Abolition to Black Lives Matter” in a free presentation at Ohio Wesleyan University. Wexler will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave., Delaware. 

Wexler is the co-director of Yale’s Public Humanities Program and a professor of American Studies, of Film and Media Studies, and of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. She holds an affiliate position in Yale’s Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program, and she is the founder and director of the university’s Photographic Memory Workshop. 

In the 1860s, Frederick Douglass gave several public lectures about the importance of the then-new invention of photography. In his landmark essay “Pictures and Progress,” he outlined the role he hoped photography would play in fostering a more democratic society after the Civil War. 

Wexler’s presentation links his critical thought with present-day issues, including African American control of representation and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Wexler centers her scholarship and teaching on photography and visual culture. Her many publications include the award-winning book “Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism” and the essay “A More Perfect Likeness: Frederick Douglass and the Image of the Nation,” featured in the book “Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity.” 

Currently, Wexler is teaching a graduate seminar in the Digital Humanities, developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a seminar on American Public Sculpture, developed in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

Wexler’s presentation represents Ohio Wesleyan’s 2017 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 institutions, including Ohio Wesleyan. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. Learn more at www.pbk.org


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.