Talks & Readings

From Seneca Village to Brooklyn: A Conversation with Tomashi Jackson

SUN, Sept 15, 2019
4 pm

Floor 3, Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater

Drawing on research for her works on view in the 2019 Biennial, Tomashi Jackson convenes this conversation about the long history of displacement and gentrification in New York City. Jackson’s project examines the destruction of Seneca Village, a free Black community that was razed in the 1850s for the creation of Central Park. The artist draws a parallel between this history and contemporary practices of redevelopment that rely on the targeted dispossession of Black and Brown property owners through the Third Party Transfer Program. 

The discussion includes Tourmaline, Tsubasa Berg, Diana diZerega Wall, Meredith B. Linn, Kelly Mena, K-Sue Park, Nan Rothschild, Marie Warsh, and Stephen Witt.

Tourmaline is an artist and filmmaker whose work includes Salacia, Mary of Ill Fame, Atlantic is a Sea of Bones, The Personal Things, Lost in the Music and Happy Birthday, Marsha! She is also an editor of TRAP DOOR, an anthology on trans cultural production published by the New Museum & MIT Press.

Tsubasa Berg is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York.

Diana diZerega Wall is Professor Emerita at the City College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She specializes in the archaeology of New York City, and has looked at the construction of gender, race, and class in the city from the 17th through the 19th century. Her books include Unearthing Gotham (with Anne-Marie Cantwell) and The Archaeology of America's Cities (with Nan Rothschild).

Meredith B. Linn is Assistant Professor of Historical Archaeology at Bard Graduate Center. Her work has focused on 19th-century New York City, particularly upon the health-related experiences and strategies of Irish immigrants and upon Seneca Village, the predominantly African American community whose land was taken by the City to construct Central Park. Linn was part of the team that excavated Seneca Village and is a co-author, with Nan Rothschild and Diana diZerega Wall, of the archaeological site report. She has also published articles about her Irish immigrant research and is currently working on books about both projects.

Kelly Mena is a housing reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle covering foreclosures, deed theft and tenant rights. She was formerly the Senior Editor at Kings County Politics. Her work has also appeared in Our Time Press

K-Sue Park is Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches about property, immigration, and the creation of the U.S. land system through the process of colonization. Park is the recipient of fellowships from UCLA School of Law and the Fulbright program. Her writings have appeared in major publications, such as Contemporary Art Quarterly and the New York Times.  

Nan Rothschild is a Historical Archaeologist and Professor at Columbia University whose focus has always entailed the intersection of the social and the material. She has done fieldwork in New York City and New Mexico. She is the author of New York City Neighborhoods, the 18th Century; Colonial Encounters in a Native American Landscape; The Archaeology of American Cities (with Diana Wall); and many articles.

Marie Warsh is a landscape historian and writer. She has worked for the Central Park Conservancy for thirteen years and is currently the historian. Recent research projects include Central Park playgrounds, resulting in a book about the playgrounds from the 1960s and 1970s that is forthcoming in fall 2019. Her current research is focused on monuments in Central Park and the history of Seneca Village. Working with the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History, she has developed a program of interpretive signage that will be installed in the park in October 2019. She is also the co-editor of Prospect, a journal of art and writing on various landscape topics.

Stephen Witt is a writer and journalist based in New York. He currently writes for Our Time Press and BanksLoveMe.com, and previously was a staff reporter at Courier-Life/News Corp. Witt’s writing has appeared in City & State, The Village Voice, and City Limits, among other media outlets. In 2005 he received the New York Press Association's "News Story of the Year" for a piece written about group homes in Gravesend.

This event is free but registration is required.

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

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