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Jasmine N. Cobb, Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and Assistant Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Jasmine N. Cobb

Jasmine Nichole Cobb is the Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University. She earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and, most recently, an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women.

Her first book, Picture Freedom:  Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century (NYUP 2015), traces the emergence of Black freedom as both an idea and as an image during the early nineteenth century. Through an analysis of popular culture of the period—including amateur portraits, racial caricatures, joke books, antislavery newspapers, abolitionist materials, runaway advertisements, ladies’ magazines, and scrapbooks, as well as scenic wallpaper—Cobb explores the earliest illustrations of free Blacks and reveals the complicated route through visual culture toward a vision of African American citizenship. Presently, she is editor of African American Literature in Transition, Vol. 2 (Cambridge, forthcoming), on black literature produced between 1800 and 1830 and the array of cultural, technological and political transitions associated with these works. She is also at work on a second monograph, New Growth:  The Art and Texture of Black Hair after Emancipation, which evaluates visual constructions of “natural” hair to reveal the vestiges of slavery that are latent in notions of contemporary freedom.

Cobb is also a co-director of “From Slavery to Freedom: Representations of Race and Freedom in the African Diaspora," the newest lab sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. The "From Slavery to Freedom" lab examines the life and afterlives of slavery and emancipation through courses and research projects.


Contact Info:
Office Location:  PO Box 3552, Durham, NC 27702
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2224
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2019):

    Smith Wrhs A290, Tu 10:05 AM-12:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as VMS 254.01)
  • AAAS 390S.03, SPECIAL TOPICS Synopsis
    Smith Wrhs C106, Tu 01:40 PM-04:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as ROMST 390S.03, VMS 390S.03)

Ph.D.University of Pennsylvania2009

African American women • Antislavery movements • Law • Motion picture film • Performing arts • Slavery • Visual communication

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Cobb, JN, Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance, by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Art Bulletin, vol. 98 no. 4 (October, 2016), pp. 528-530, Informa UK Limited [doi]
  2. Cobb, JN, A more perfect union: Black freedoms, white houses, Public Culture, vol. 28 no. 1 (January, 2016), pp. 63-87, Duke University Press [doi]
  3. Cobb, JN, Picture Freedom Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century (April, 2015), pp. 288 pages, ISBN 1479829773  [abs]
  4. Cobb, JN, "forget Me Not": Free Black Women and Sentimentality, Melus: Multi Ethnic Literature of the United States, vol. 40 no. 3 (January, 2015), pp. 28-46, Oxford University Press (OUP), ISSN 0163-755X [doi]  [abs]
  5. Cobb, JN, Directed by Himself: Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, American Literary History, vol. 26 no. 2 (April, 2014), pp. 339-346, Oxford University Press (OUP), ISSN 0896-7148 [doi]

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