Media and Reviews

The Harvard Gazette: "Exploring the North’s long history of slavery, scientific racism" review 

The Harvard Magazine: "See Their Faces" review 

The New York Times: "The First Photos of Enslaved People Raise Many Questions About the Ethics of Viewing" review 

The New York Times: "11 New Books We Recommended This Week" review 

The New West Indian Guide: "Bookshelf 2020" review

"An extraordinary book that concerns the Caribbean at once peripherally and centrally: To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes, edited by Ilisa Barbash, Molly Rogers & Deborah Willis (Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press/Aperture, 2020, cloth US$ 60.00). Focusing on daguerreotypes of seven enslaved men and women (identified as Alfred, Fassena, Jem, Renty and his daughter Delia, and Jack and his daughter Drana) made in 1850 South Carolina at the behest of zoology professor Louis Agassiz of Harvard, scholars (from senior Afro-Americanists Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higgenbotham to several still working on their degrees) present varied analyses of these early attempts to support scientific racism with images. It is a book filled with images and words that make one weep and that range from Agassiz’s photos of enslaved and Indigenous people in Manaus to the fraught ethical considerations involved in presenting these images. In our view, the issues are handled with dignity and thoughtfulness and raise questions for every scholar of race and slavery. To whom do these images belong? And who has a right to see them?" Full review.

LensCulture: "Favorite Photobooks of 2020" review 

The Boston Globe: "How the camera confronted slavery—and still does" review 

The Od Review: "To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes" review 

Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism review.

Winterthur Portfolio Review

“To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes … succeeds… by applying critical pressure to the fields of anthropology, art history, museology, and history; by unabashedly confronting the twin roles of slavery and white supremacy in Harvard’s history; and by treating and discussing Delia, Renty, Alfred, Fassena, Jack, Drana, and Jem not simply as photographic subjects but as fully realized humans.” Full review.