LaCharles Ward is cultural theorist whose research interest spans the areas of Black visual culture as theory and method, critical theories of Blackness, the history of ideas, photography (histories and theories) and the cultural study of law. 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 first book manuscript based on his dissertation, Black Forensis: Evidence, Visuality, and the Aesthetics of Black Life, which is a cultural examination of the concept of evidence as it's brought into relation with anti-blackness and Black life. The book asks: why is that evidence, when in defense of Black people, always fail to meet the proper evidentiary standards? What would it mean to bring the intellectual project of Black studies and Black visual culture to bear on the question of evidence? And, how are Black people and artist theorizing new definitions and formations of evidence? Black Forensis argues that our ways of interpreting and seeing evidence, visual or otherwise, have been systematized by what Ward refers to as a "totalizing ascription of evidence," which the book critically argues against. Ultimately, the book 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.
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. Since the pandemic, though, he's rekindled his love affair with art house cinema and the art of staying put.