posted by Allison Walters — Nov 02, 2020
In honor of Election Day, we present a roundtable discussion from the 108th CAA Annual Conference in Chicago on women and voter suppression. Sponsored by the Committee on Women in the Arts, this session took place on February 13, 2020.
Chairs: Sally Brown, West Virginia University; Liz Kim, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Discussants: Karen Mary Davalos, University of Minnesota; Jo-Ann Morgan; Marshall Reese, of LigoranoReese, Independent Artists
This session considers how artists and scholars have explored voter suppression as a subject matter across historical and cultural boundaries with a view toward examining the present. In the US, voter suppression targets particularly women who are black, immigrant, elderly, young, low-income and disabled, keeping them from the polls. Since 2010, 25 states have placed new restrictions that make the exercise of fundamental voting rights harder. This change has been exacerbated by the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, enabling states to institute discriminatory voting laws. The legacy of Jim Crow laws persists through these recent shifts in policy, while disproportionally affecting growing voter groups such as Latino/a voters in the US. In these political times, historical lessons can be drawn from the past, in the ways women have collectively fought against political silencing. Our roundtable panelists address and illuminate how artists and activists work and have worked creatively to resist and fight voter suppression for women, as well as reflect on broader political suppression issues for women voters. From the Chicana feminist art of the 1970s, to the imagery of the revolutionary women of the Black Power Movement, to public art interventions in the Trump era, this session aims to take a broad and reflective approach to this politically urgent topic.