Zoë Hopkins

Zoë Hopkins is a joint concentrator in History of Art and African American Studies. She was born and raised in New York City, where she developed a lasting passion for visual art and Black aesthetics. Her research is guided by an interest in the overlappings between critical theory and Black visual culture, with a particular interest in photography. In addition to her research with the Gordon Parks Foundation, she also conducts research as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Outside of the classroom, she writes criticism for art publications including Artforum International Magazine, Hyperallergic, the Brooklyn Rail, and Cultured Magazine. 

Zoë’s research looks at early twentieth century Black vernacular photography, focusing on the phenomenon of “real photo postcards.” Developed in 1907, the real photo postcard democratized and popularized the postcard by enabling people to print postcard-sized negatives onto a blank card. Zoë’s project tends to the production and circulation of real photo postcards in Black communities during the Great Migration, examining how real photo postcards performed as indices of Black kinship and sociality in an era of mass movement. The project seeks to trace the movement of real photo postcards alongside the movement of Black life, and thus to understand how the production and circulation of these objects visualized, formulated, and asserted Black kinship in its most itinerant years. In other words, how might the real photo postcard tell a story of photography as an expression of community generated intimacy?