LaCharles Ward is an interdisciplinary scholar of Black visual culture, law, and cultural studies. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Annenberg School for Communication with affiliation with the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is currently working on his book manuscript based on his dissertation, which examines the intimacies between blackness, law, evidence, and visual culture in the 21st-century. Specifically, he offers an aggressive rhetorical, conceptual, and visual reading of "legal evidence" as it is brought into relation with anti-blackness, black death, and Black life. He queries how and why certain forms of documentation (i.e., video footage of black death ) and witnessing (i.e., eyewitness testimony) of anti-black violence continue to fail as legible evidence in defense of Black people. He argues for and develops a new conceptual apparatus--black evidence--for understanding and interpreting evidence that is grounded in a sustained commitment to black life and not to upholding the whiteness of law and visuality.
LaCharles received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Culture with a graduate certificate in African American Studies from Northwestern University. He received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in Communication Studies. His research spans the areas of black visual culture as theory and method, black feminist theory, history and theories of photography, and the cultural study of law and legal theory. His scholarship is driven by a refusal to allow the State and other death producing entities to have the last word on Black life.
When he is not teaching or writing, you can find him exploring his local communities, eating his way through every city he visits with his partner, spending ample time in art museums, obsessing over the best coffee and methods for brewing it, cooking and hosting friends, and taking photographs.