Bettina Carbonell is an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. She teaches American literature, with a focus on ethics and human rights, and interdisciplinary courses in the Humanities and Justice Major. Her research interests include the representation of American, particularly African American history and culture in both literary narratives and museum exhibitions.  Her work appears in Mississippi Quarterly and History and Theory and she is Editor of Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts (2nd. Ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Carbonell’s project is “Discontinuous Narratives: The Collection, Deployment and Efficacy of Visual Artifacts in the Representation of African American History and Culture.” Carbonell undertakes a comparative analysis of major regional institutions dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of African American history and culture. She examines the museological and the concrete (exterior and interior) terrain of this landscape—which will soon be altered by the addition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture scheduled to open in Washington, D.C. in 2015. In terms of larger contexts, her work is informed by ongoing interdisciplinary and global conversations concerning the intersections of memory and history, and the ethics and efficacy of collections, exhibitions, and narratives devoted to the subject of difficult history. One goal of the project is to bring these culturally unified yet individually distinctive institutions to the forefront of that ongoing critical discourse.

Seminars & Working Groups