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Show the Issues

African American Studies student Sydney Joslin-Knapp wants to show race, not stereotypes

Finding a Lens for Issues of Race

Sydney Joslin-Knapp ’16 attempts to blend her photography degree with her African American Studies minor to show issues of race rather than merely tell them.

“Since coming to OU, I realize just how little people talk about race in a productive way,” says Joslin-Knapp. African American Studies has provided her with an additional lens by which to perceive and discuss topics of social disparity. Her interest in African American Studies is far from clinical or sterile; instead, her work is influenced by where she was raised—in a mostly black neighborhood in Dayton, OH.

Too often, artists romanticize towns and neighborhoods that have fallen on hard times, or that have had a series of oppressive actions perpetrated against them. Joslin-Knapp strives to stay away from falling into the same pitfalls of easy and under-developed depictions. But showing a genuine story, rather than displaying easy stereotypes, is a tough tightrope to walk.

Read more about her story.

Departmental Social Media

College of Arts & Sciences