Alexis Boylan

From Wine Moms to QAnon: A Workshop on Online Wellness and White Supremacy

From Wine Moms to QAnon: or, What’s the Problem with Self-Care? The Surprising Connections between White Supremacy and Online Wellness. Friday, March 22, 2024. 12:30pm Workshop. 2pm Panel 1: Unexpected Crossovers to Conspiracy. 3:30pm Panel 2: So What’s the Problem with Self-Care?. UCHI Conference Room.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities. The panel discussion will be livestreamed with automated captioning.

The Medical Humanities & Arts Initiative presents:

From Wine Moms to QAnon: or, What’s the Problem with Self-Care? The Surprising Connections between White Supremacy and Online Wellness

March 20, 2020
Writing Workshop: 12:30–2:00. Register to attend workshop.
Panels: 2:00–5:00pm. Register to attend panels virtually

Homer Babbidge Library, UCHI Conference Room

The spread of online racism, homophobia, and misogyny continues to wreak havoc in our homes, our schools, and our streets. Media coverage has illuminated how the toxic masculinity of the Proud Boys and other hate groups function in these spaces. Most of us—students and faculty alike—know to avoid these openly hateful spaces, and often take refuge in seemingly frivolous posts about wellness, beauty and self-care. Yet the spread of white nationalism continues unabated, often with “recruits” emerging in surprising places.

Join us for an interdisciplinary workshop and panel discussion that explores how mommy blogs and beauty influencer posts offer “innocent” vehicles for white supremacist tenets of purity, and rigid bodily surveillance.

The day will begin with a writing workshop (12:30-2:00 pm) in which all researchers working on adjacent topics will be invited to join us in group writing and discussion in response to a pre-circulated article. Join us for lunch and the opportunity to think and write with other scholars thinking through these thorny issues. This workshop is open to faculty and graduate students. Registration is required.

The workshop is followed by two panel discussions, open to all. Please consider inviting your undergraduate students; we are eager to learn from their perspectives on contemporary online culture.


12:30-2:00 Writing Workshop with Lunch Register for the workshop

2:00-3:30 Panel 1: Unexpected Crossovers to Conspiracy

“Conspiracism” Eric Berg, Philosophy, UConn
“Romance” Alexis Boylan, Art History, Africana Institute, UConn
“Wine Mom” Beth Marshall, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, CA

3:30-3:45 Coffee Break

3:45-5:00: Panel 2: So What’s the Problem with Self-Care?

“Retreat” Leigh Gilmore, English, The Ohio State University
“It Girls” Tracy Llanera, Philosophy, UConn
“Microbiome” Rebekah Sheldon, English, University of Indiana

Picturing the Pandemic Exhibition Opening

Exhibition Opening

Thursday, October 27th 5–7 p.m.
Downtown Library in Hartford


Hartford Public Library and UConn are excited to host an opening reception for “Picturing the Pandemic: Images from the Pandemic Journaling Project,” the first public exhibition of photos and journal entries collected by the team at the Pandemic Journaling Project detailing the experience of ordinary people during COVID-19. Speakers include Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin; UConn President Radenka Maric; Jasmin Agosto, education and community outreach manager, Hartford Public Library; Michael Lynch, director of UConn’s Humanities Institute; Kathryn Libal, director of UConn’s Human Rights Institute; Ty Hughey, executive director of Haddam-Killingworth Youth and Family Services; Melina Das, 10th grader, Wethersfield High School; and UConn faculty and Picturing the Pandemic Co-Curators Alexis Boylan & Sarah Willen

Since its launch in May 2020, the Pandemic Journaling Project has given ordinary people a place to chronicle and preserve their pandemic experiences. Over the following two years, more than 1,800 people in 55 countries created nearly 27,000 individual journal entries—for themselves, and for the history books.

“After collecting photographs, audio recordings and written journal entries from people around the world for two and a half years, we’re honored and thrilled to be partnering with the Hartford Public Library in launching what we think is a quite unusual exhibition,” said Sarah S. Willen, co-founder of PJP and co-curator, together with fellow UConn Professor Alexis Boylan, of the exhibition. “Our PJP team often describes PJP as a form of grassroots, collaborative research and history-making. In this exhibition, we’re expanding that mission to show how all of us, no matter our age, background or life stage, can find strength, solidarity and maybe even healing in creative expression and in recording, and sharing, our stories.”

Select submissions from the project will be displayed at Hartford Public Library through December alongside a selection of images from the library’s Hartford 2020 collection, a collection of photographs by Hartford-based photographers Andy Hart, Jasmine Jones, and Ray Shaw that capture Hartford’s public sphere in 2020: protests, parks, buses, testing clinics and outdoor performances.

In addition to journal entries collected digitally, the project hosted a series of in-person programs this summer at Hartford Public Library locations across the city where children were encouraged to create art that captured their thoughts and feelings about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their daily lives. Selections from those programs will be displayed in the Children’s Department at the Downtown Library as well as at Hartford Public Library branches across the city.

“A core part of Hartford Public Library’s mission is providing resources to encourage individual exploration, as well as preserving and recording Hartford’s history,” said Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget E. Quinn. “We are proud to partner with the team at the Pandemic Journaling Project on this exhibition that not only chronicles a tumultuous time in our collective history, but hopefully sparks conversation about claiming our voices, learning from others and creating meaningful change in the world, as well as inspiring others to share their stories.”

The opening reception at the Downtown Library will include remarks from the exhibition curators, as well as from project participants. Refreshments will be served and guests will be invited to view the exhibition that has been installed throughout the library.

Future public exhibitions of Pandemic Journaling Project materials are planned at Providence Public Library in Rhode Island; the Mark Twain Center for Transatlantic Relations in Heidelberg, Germany; and the Centro de Estudios de Género, el Colegio de México in Mexico City, Mexico.

For more information about the Pandemic Journaling Project visit To register for the event on October 27th visit

Download press release

Publishing NOW: Gita Manaktala of MIT Press

Poster for Publishing NOW with Gita Manaktala of MIT Press in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan. December 2, 2020, 11:00am. Live. Online. Registration Required. With headshot of Manaktala.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute presents:

Publishing NOW!

With Gita Manaktala of MIT Press in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan.

December 2, 2020, 11:00am–12:00pm

An online webinar. Event registration is required for attendance.

Gita Manaktala is the Editorial Director of the MIT Press, a publisher of scholarship at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and technology. Known for intellectual daring and distinctive design, MIT Press books push the boundaries of knowledge in fields from contemporary art and architecture to the life sciences, computing, economics, philosophy, cognitive science, environmental studies, linguistics, media studies, and STS. Gita’s own acquisitions are in the areas of information science and communication. Until 2009, she served as the press’s marketing director with responsibility for worldwide promotion and sales. In this role, she helped to develop CISnet, an online collection of the Press’s computer and information science titles, now on the IEEE Explore platform. She has served on the board of directors of the Association of American University Presses and co-chaired its first diversity and inclusion task force, which led to a standing committee dedicated to Equity, Justice, and Inclusion, which she also co-chaired. She is a regular speaker on topics in scholarly communication and publishing.

Alexis L. Boylan is the acting director of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and the Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Visual Culture (MIT Press, 2020), Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), co-author of Furious Feminisms: Alternate Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road (University of Minnesota, 2020), editor ofThomas Kinkade, The Artist in the Mall (Duke University Press, 2017), and editor of the forthcoming Ellen Emmet Rand: Gender, Art, and Business (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). She has published in American Art, Archives of American Art Journal, Boston Review, Journal of Curatorial Studies, and Public Books. Her next book focuses on the art created for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City and how art and science antagonize and inspire cultural dialogues about truth and knowledge.

UCHI Presents André Leon Talley

Poster for André Leon Talley talk. A picture of Talley in a red sweater and straw boater hat. The text beside the image reads: UCHI and the Africana Studies Institute present fashion critic/scholar, activist, and author of the recently published The Chiffon Trenches, André Leon Talley, in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan and Melina Pappademos. Live, online, registration required. November 12, 2020, 6:00pm.

Fashion journalist and former Vogue editor-at-large

André Leon Talley

in conversation with Alexis L. Boylan and Melina Pappademos

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm (Online—Register here).

Cosponsored by the Africana Studies Institute.

André Leon Talley is a fashion critic/scholar, activist, and the author of the recently published memoir The Chiffon Trenches.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Alexis Boylan Lead Author of New Book on Feminism and Mad Max

University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, is the lead author of a new book entitled Furious Feminisms: Alternative Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). The book uses the feminist credentials of George Miller’s 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road film to ask “what is possible, desirable, or damaging in theorizing feminism in the contested landscape of the twenty-first century.” The authors tackle this issue from four different disciplinary angles: art history, American literature, disability studies, and sociology. Other authors of the book are Anna Mae Duane,  associate professor of English at UConn and a UCHI Class of 2016-2017 Fellow; Michael Gill, an associate professor of disability studies in the department of Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University; and Barbara Gurr, associate professor in residence in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at UConn. 


Cover the book surrounded by the headshots of the authors: Alexis Boylan, Anna Mae Duane, Michael Gill, and Barbara Gurr


Alexis Boylan Reviews Two Books on Art, Creativity, and AI

BoylanUniversity of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, is the author of a recent article in the Boston Review that examines two new books on creativity, innovation, and artificial intelligence: The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI (Belknap Press) by Marcus du Sautoy and The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI_Powered Creativity (MIT Press) by Arthur I. Miller. These books “contend that AI is nothing to fear because humans are so much better at being creative than are machines.” Boylan, also an associate professor of art and art history at UConn, emphasizes both books’ failure to transcend hegemonic ideas of human artistic expression. Both books center their argument on a largely white and male definition of creativity and genius, dismissing altogether the contribution of feminist and black aesthetics, for example, to the totality of the human artistic potential and output:

Both books share a kind of a priori acceptance…, that computers and machines have already displaced a certain kind of person from labor, society, and community. That’s not a question, it is the reality that these books start from. It’s also not what they see to be the problem: the problem for the authors only arises when AI threatens those who have historically controlled capital and historical narratives, and whose ideas of creativity, genius, innovation, and evolution have reigned supreme. These fears about AI, therefore, stand in for the dread of a certain cultural elite, who have weaponized creativity in a broader neoliberal narrative about human worth—and who now fear the same will be done to them. Perhaps then we should be forced to watch AI blossom and shine; maybe we deserve to be taken over with another kind of creativity.”



UCHI Awarded Luce Foundation Grant for “Seeing Truth’ Exhibit

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to be the recipient of a $275,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the programming of an exhibition entitled “Seeing Truth: Art, Science, and Making Knowledge (1750-2023).” This exhibition will be presented at the William Benton Museum of Art during the 2023 academic year in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History. UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas made the announcement at the reception marking the 19th season of UCHI’s fellowships. The grant, whose principle investigator is UCHI Director of Academic Affairs, Alexis Boylan, will bring together various scientific, cultural, and educational artifacts to challenge our notions and ideas of what counts as a “scientific” object or a work of “art.” Seeing Truth is one part of UCHI’s larger upcoming initiative entitled The Future of Truth. To learn more about Seeing Truth, visit a UConn Today article on the grant.  

New Book by UCHI Associate Director Alexis L. Boylan.

"Six men, all artists, find their way to New York City at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and find friendship and love. They are also crushed emotionally and creatively by capitalism."

Arriving in New York City in the first decade of the twentieth century, six painters-Robert Henri, John Sloan, Everett Shinn, Glackens, George Luks, and George Bellows, subsequently known as the Ashcan Circle-faced a visual culture that depicted the urban man as a diseased body under assault. Ashcan artists countered this narrative, manipulating the bodies of construction workers, tramps, entertainers, and office workers to stand in visual opposition to popular, political, and commercial cultures. They did so by repeatedly positioning white male bodies as having no cleverness, no moral authority, no style, and no particular charisma, crafting with consistency an unspectacular man. This was an attempt, both radical and deeply insidious, to make the white male body stand outside visual systems of knowledge, to resist the disciplining powers of commercial capitalism, and to simply be with no justification or rationale. Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man maps how Ashcan artists reconfigured urban masculinity for national audiences and reimagined the possibility and privilege of the unremarkable white, male body thus shaping dialogues about modernity, gender, and race that shifted visual culture in the United States. -

The Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Alexis L. Boylan as New Associate Director

Alexis L. Boylan, Associate Professor, (Art & Art History and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies).

Professor Boylan’s research focus is on American art from the colonial to the contemporary periods, with particular emphasis on race and gender. She is succeeding Brendan Kane, Associate Professor (History) who is completing his term as Associate Director.