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Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Anna Arabindan-Kesson is an Assistant Professor of African American Art in the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Arabindan-Kesson specializes in African American, Caribbean and British Art with an emphasis on histories of race, empire, and transatlantic visual culture in the long nineteenth century. She teaches courses on African American and Caribbean Art and Material Culture, Art of the Black Diaspora, and Art and Empire. Her research focuses on processes of cultural exchange and geographical movement, underpinned by histories of colonialism, and the legacies of these encounters in contemporary art practice. Arabindan-Kesson hails from Sri Lanka, via Australia and the United Kingdom, and received her Ph.D in Art History and African American Studies from Yale University. Her research has also been generously funded by fellowships from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Winterthur Museum, Library, and Gardens and most recently the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art. Her current book project, Threads of Empire: Art and the Cotton Trade in the Atlantic Ocean World 1830-1900 uses the  visual and material cultures of the nineteenth-century cotton trade as a paradigm to explore the intersection of local and international networks of production, labor, and consumption across the long nineteenth century. She recently completed a chapter on the nineteenth century photography of Indian labourers in Jamaica for the book Victorian Jamaica (Duke UP, 2015), and another chapter on New England cotton production and trade with Zanzibar for the book Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England (UPNE, 2014). While her research is grounded in nineteenth century histories of art and culture, Anna's research also encompasses work on contemporary art of the black diaspora. She is currently working on an article about the portraiture of Barkley L Hendricks for the Tate In Focus projects and in 2009 she co-curated the traveling exhibition "Embodied: Black Identities in American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery.” Her work has been supported by several research grants including fellowships from the Huntington Library, the Gilder Lehrman Center for Slavery Studies, the Yale Women, Religion, and Globalization Project and the Yale Center for British Art. Anna has also held a Dissertation Fellowship at Winterthur and a Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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