Erin Reitz F'16

Erin  Reitz
Lecturer
Art History
Northwestern University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2016
Doctoral Candidate
Art History
Northwestern University
From Oakland to Outer Space: The Political Geographies of the Black Panthers, 1966-1982

This project—the first comprehensive art historical study of Black Panthers imagery—brings into focus the centrality of the Panthers’ image-making to their revolutionary ideology, identifying how the scenes pictured in their artworks were intended to relate viewers to the actual places that the organization wanted to occupy and liberate. The dissertation explores the drawings, paintings, photographs, and films that publicized the Panthers’ activities and interests in far-reaching geographies. It traces the expansion of their political ambitions, from their grassroots beginnings in the Bay Area through their period of strategic internationalism, which culminated in the founding of an international headquarters in Algiers. By emphasizing that Panther artists pointedly situated their work outside the institutional and discursive bounds of the art world, this project reframes dominant art historical narratives about the formal, spatial, and political concerns of 1960s and 1970s art.