Analysis of (Mis)representation of Black Bodies in Spanish Museum Iconography


ACLS HBCU Faculty Grants


World Languages and International Studies


Considering state museums as spaces of knowledge production, this project analyzes how Spanish public museums have (mis)represented Black bodies in official iconography. This research sheds light on the ways in which white mythology, which has served as a foundational part of the national imaginary, is reproduced in said spaces. This is important because archaeological museums and cave interpretation centers tend to imagine and represent mainly white males as inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula. In other words, Spanish museums of antiquity conceive the representation of the past from an undiscussed palette of white skin, following Eurocentric ideas established by nineteenth-century scientific racism. These public iconographic exhibits do not align with the recent studies on ancient DNA, which suggest that dark to very-dark skinned people have inhabited the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years. This project challenges the misrepresentation of Black bodies and looks for ways to diversify the euro-white visual repertoire.