Nell Irvin Painter

Award Winning Scholar & Writer

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In a powerful and deeply insightful program, Painter explores issues of racial and gender identity and how they have figured into the history of America and the West. Drawing from both her extensive scholarly studies and her more recent study of visual art, Painter examines different time periods, locations, and individuals throughout Western civilization, bringing America’s rich cultural history to life on stage. Her informative and thought-provoking program urges audiences to look at history beyond the lines of difference and stereotype—to literally look at her images as well—sparking a discourse that continues well after she has left the stage.

Dr. Painter has a deep wealth of insight and knowledge in multiple subjects, and a gift for engaging her audience. I am inspired to go and read all of her books!

- San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts

About Nell Irvin Painter

Nell Irvin Painter is a distinguished and award win­ning scholar and writer.  A graduate of Harvard University, Painter went on to become the Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University. She is the author of seven books and countless articles relating to the history of the American South. Painter’s latest book, The History of White People, guides us through more than 2000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but the frequent praise of “whiteness.”

Her critically acclaimed book, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, won the nonfiction prize of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In Sojourner Truth, Painter focuses on the life of the black abolition­ist and women’s rights advocate. A related article, “Representing Truth: Sojourner Truth’s Knowing and Becoming Known,” appeared in The Journal of American History. Painter is also the author of Southern History Across the Color Line, which moves across the divides that have compartmentalized southern history, women’s history, and African American history by focusing on relationships among men and women of different races.

Speech Topics

  • Old in Art School: Lessons on Starting Over in Adulthood and Holding onto Your “Old Life” as You Start a New One
  • Personal Beauty: Images & Stereotypes
  • Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
  • Southern History Across the Color Line
  • Visual Artists Depict American and African-American History

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