W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: A Conversation with Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert 

In W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018), editors Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert brought together the first complete publication of Du Bois’s groundbreaking charts, graphs, and maps presented at the 1900 Paris Exposition. A selection of Du Bois’ pioneering data visualizations are currently on display at Cooper Hewitt in the exhibition Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair. 

Join us for an evening with the editors as they discuss these data portraits through the lens of Du Bois’s life, work, and scholarship.  An audience Q + A will follow.  


  • Program Length: 75 minutes 
  • Interactivity Level: Low to Medium. This program will include a presentation and a 30-minute audience Q + A. Participants are welcome to submit questions or simply listen in.  
  • Intended Audience: General public, particularly those interested in Du Bois’ life and work 


Whitney Battle-Baptiste is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst. A native of the Bronx, New York, Dr. Battle-Baptiste is an activist-scholar who sees the classroom and campus as a space to engage contemporary issues with a sensibility of the past. Her academic training is in history and historical archaeology. Her research critically engages the interconnectedness of race, gender, class, and sexuality through an archaeological lens. Her research sites include Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation, the Abiel Smith School on Beacon Hill in Boston, the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite (or House of the Black Burghardts) in Great Barrington, MA, and a community-based heritage site at Millars Plantation, on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. Her books include Black Feminist Archaeology (2011), W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (2018), co-edited with Britt Rusert. In her spare time, she is completing a second edition of Black Feminist Archaeology and an edited volume on new directions of research about the legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois with Dr. Richard Benson. In 2021, she became the President-elect of the American Anthropological Association. She will become President of the organization in 2023.

Britt Rusert is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, science, and visual culture in the long nineteenth century and an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture (New York University Press, 2017) and co-editor of W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018). Fugitive Science received sole finalist mention for the Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association as well as an honorable mention for the MLA’s Prize for a First Book. Rusert is currently completing a book about William J. Wilson’s Afric-American Picture Gallery (1859), an experimental text from the late antebellum period that imagines the first museum of Black art in the United States. In 2023–24, she will be a fellow in the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.  


  • Location: Virtual. A Zoom webinar link will be e-mailed to you upon registration. 
  • What to Expect: This program will include brief presentations with slides by speakers, followed by an audience Q&A. The program will be livestreamed and available on Cooper Hewitt’s YouTube channel.  
  • Accommodations: The program includes live CART captioning. For general questions, please email us at CHEducation@si.edu. If we can provide additional accessibility services or accommodations to support your participation in this program, email us or let us know when registering. Please make your accommodation request as far in advance as possible—preferably at least one week before the program date when possible. 

Special Thanks

Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair is made possible with major support from The Hearthland Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional support is provided by the Ehrenkranz Fund and The Felicia Fund. 


Featured Image: W. E . B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America. Princeton Architectural Press, 2018.