Daughters of the Dust Conference

Daughters of the Dust: ‘We Carry These Memories Inside of We’

The Avery Research Center presents a two-day symposium and art
show celebrating the Black Art aesthetic of filmmaker Julie Dash.

September 16-17, 2011

The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center, Carolina Low Country and Atlantic World (CLAW) Program, and African American Studies Program (ASST), The International African American Museum (IAAM) and the South Carolina Historical Society examine the lessons learned from Daughters of the Dust and its influence in the academy and society.

The 20th anniversary of Daughters of the Dust provides the space and opportunity to reflect on converging discourses of race, gender, and class and the impact they had on Black women’s lives, identities, and agency at the turn of the 19th century. Filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries to become the first African American woman to debut a film with wide release across the country.

Daughters of the Dust is a highly artistic film that introduced many Americans to the history, opulence, and complexity of the South Carolina Gullah-Geechee culture and contextualizes it within wider discourses on race, class, gender, and skin-color at the turn of last century. Here Dash turns the camera’s gaze onto her ancestors and their rich culture that thrived for centuries and continues to do so today.

Dash’s cinematic post slavery narrative gives us a unique prism through which to examine South Carolina Low Country culture, namely that of the Gullah Geechee traditions, Black women’s rights, and race relations at the turn of the 19th century. Furthermore such dialogue provides insight about the rich cultural contributions of the Gullahs to American art, cuisine, and history. This symposium features presentations by faculty, artists, filmmakers, graduate students, and public history professionals.



MUSEUM TOURS: The Avery Research Center is currently open for guided tours by appointment and self-guided tours on selected days.

QUARTERLY OPEN HOUSE: The Avery Research Center currently offers self-guided tours each quarter (April, July, October, January) on Wednesdays. Advance registration requested.

ARCHIVES: Researchers must schedule a consultation BEFORE making a research appointment.