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May 3 Lunchtime Looks to focus on race, William Kentridge’s Universal Archive

Rose Casey

Rose Casey will deliver, “Rooted in Black and White: Racial and Environmental Landscapes in William Kentridge's Universal Archive,” for Lunchtime Looks at the Art Museum of West Virginia University May 3.

Casey, assistant professor of English at WVU, will explore the aesthetics and politics of the tree series in William Kentridge's Universal Archive. She argues that the tree series shows how ideas are constructed—including ideas about race—and as such are open to change.

“These linocut trees are beautiful works of art, which is why they attract our attention and have achieved critical acclaim,” said Casey. “But they also offer an intricate exploration of South Africa's long history of colonial oppression and apartheid-era racial segregation. ‘Rooted in Black and White’ connects Kentridge's artistic process, including his attentiveness to the materiality of aesthetic production, to South Africa's colonial and apartheid history.” 

Casey specializes in contemporary world literature, law and the humanities, and aesthetic theory. Her articles, published and forthcoming, address questions of race, gender and geopolitics, including women's property rights in Indian novelist Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things; petroleum extraction and land law in Nigerian writer Ben Okri's short story "What the Tapster Saw;” and feminist aesthetics in South Korean author Han Kang's novel, “The Vegetarian.” Dr. Casey is currently completing a book manuscript, “Aesthetic Impropriety: Property Law and Postcolonial Style,” which examines the aesthetic construction of property law in order to show how books act upon the world. 

Lunchtime Looks begins at 12 p.m. Friday, May 3. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bag lunch to enjoy for the first portion of the hour in the Museum Education Center. At approximately 12:20 p.m., Casey will begin her talk in the gallery. The program will wrap up by 12:50 p.m. to give attendees time to get back to their offices by the end of the lunch hour. 

Lunchtime Looks is free and open to the public. For more information on the museum, visit