Here are links to interviews with (or by) Nell Irvin Painter, including video, audio, and print media.
MacDowell-92nd Street Y
92nd Street Y is a world-class cultural and community center in NY, NY.
MacDowell-92nd Street Y—This partnership series between MacDowell and the 92nd Street Y will take place over the course of 2021 and is hosted by MacDowell Fellow, author, visual artist, and MacDowell Board Chair Nell Painter.
A Conversation on the Enactment of Identity: Andrea Martin, Indhu Rubasingham and Jacqueline Woodson. Moderated by Nell Painter.
How do these artists—a lauded novelist, theatre director, and actor—interpret the relationship between their personal lives and the art they generate?
Individual experience doubtless nourishes art, even as art is creation, not a reenactment of life. This conversation probes that relationship, as both something to exploit and something to avoid.
Recorded online December 16, 2020. Video.
MacDowell and 92nd Street Y Salon: The Enactment of Identity. Join Nell Painter, Chang-rae Lee, P. Carl, and Michael Chabon as they discuss the various relationships that interact with their art practice.
Moderator and MacDowell Chair Nell Painter, author Chang-rae Lee, author P. Carl, and author and former MacDowell Chair Michael Chabon discuss the relationship between the artist’s vision, the creation of character and story, and the ways their own individual and social identities (however they interpret them) interact with their art practice.
Recorded Thursday, May 6, 2021.
This partnership series between MacDowell and the 92nd Street Y will take place over the course of 2021 and is hosted by MacDowell Fellow, author, visual artist, and MacDowell Board Chair Nell Painter.
Across The MacDowell Dinner Table: On Memoir. T Kira Madden, Sally Field, Nell Painter, and Riva Lehrer in an on-line conversation showcasing how artists share their visions and challenges across every art form.
Moderated by MacDowell Executive Director Philip Himberg, this hour-long program from MacDowell and 92Y’s salon series will focus on memoir, particularly the animating impulse that drove these multidisciplinary artists to examine the arc of their lives, and what surprises awaited them as they put pen to paper.
Online Thursday, August 26, 2021, 7 pm ET.
Nell’s Video/Audio Interviews (recent)
Stop Messaging Me, a Black Journalist, About White Irish “Slaves”—A wide-ranging conversation about how white people became “white.” Nell is interviewed by Garrison Hayes for Mother Jones magazine. October 22, 2023. Video and text.
This interview includes the fluidity and historical contexts of racial identities in general, the cyclical nature of historical erasure in American education, and even Dr. Painter’s perspective on the capitalization of Black and “White.”
"The US: Whose country, 'tis of thee? – Nationalism Reimagined." Nell is interviewed in a podcast by World Review from the New Statesman.Nell's segment starts at 19:00 min. in. Available wherever you listen to podcasts. November 8, 2022. Audio.
This podcast series looks at nationalism in its different forms around the world, and alternative approaches to creating a sense of nationhood. At the 19:00 min. mark in this episode Nell explains why she’s thinking about the local and the global, not the national.
Nell’s interview on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station (on radio show Here & Now): "Sojourner Truth court documents found 194 years after legal battle to free enslaved son." June 20, 2022. Audio.
Historian Nell Irvin Painter is calling a new find in the New York state archives dramatic and moving. The documents accidentally uncovered by archivist Jim Folts detail abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth’s legal battle — and victory — to free her 9-year-old enslaved son. Folts and Irvin Painter join Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about the unexpected find and its significance.
Nell’s video interview with the Department of African American Studies, Princeton University in “The Extraordinary Women of AAS Featuring Nell Painter” March 28, 2022. Video.
The Department of African American Studies sat down with the exceptional Nell Irvin Painter, Faculty Emerita, to reflect on her professional journey, achievements, and future endeavors.
The U.S. and the Holocaust, a new three-part, six-hour series directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. The U.S. and the Holocaust features interviews with some of the country’s leading scholars on the period, including Nell Irvin Painter. Full series premiered September 18, 2022; streaming on PBS.org. Video.
Nell discusses her book, The History of White People with John Piche of The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library's 1619 Project discussion group. In this interview, "History of White People with Nell Irvin Painter," Nell begins with discussing just what it means to be "white" and how ideas of whiteness developed using Ancient Greek and Roman sources. Ralph Waldo Emerson's influence is explored before delving into eugenics, anti-Semitism, and Irish Immigration. October 17, 2022. Video.
Nell is interviewed online by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts: In this virtual discussion, originally hosted live by the MFA’s Contemporaries Curators Circle, scholar and artist Nell Painter speaks with curators from the Museum’s Department of Contemporary Art about "Black Power in Print." ("Black Power in Print" is an on-line project—a collaboration between the MFA and MoMA—examing the Black Power movement’s legacy in visual culture.) November 15, 2021. Video.
Nell appears in a new Showtime docuseries “It's Gonna be all White” (Episode 1). Showtime describes the series as “A deep dive into America's past and present through the experiences of people of color.” March 2022. Video.
Here is an 6:37 min. excerpt (thanks to Sonya Denyse from UTA):
• Stream from this site
• Stream from Nell’s page on UTA (Nell’s talent agency for speaking engagements)
• Download mp4 video file (920MB)
Nell’s on-line interview with TSL: TSL Time to Talk: In Conversation with Nell Irvin Painter 2/18/2. (Time & Space Limited is a creative space in Hudson, NY). Topics include Sojourner Truth, Nell's art, new books, Faith Ringgold, Harriet Tubman. February 18, 2022. Video.
Nell is interviewed as part of a podcast on NPR's "Invisabilia" series: "White v. White?" The podcast's subject is "A city council candidate says he's black. But his opponent accuses him of being a white man pretending to be black." Nell discusses race as a social construct, the meanings which change over time. March 27, 2020. Audio.
Nell is interviewed by MetroFocus: The Podcast host Jenna Flanagan on the social construction of race and Nell’s book “A History of White People.” MetroFocus: The Podcast – ‘A History of White People.’ Nell explains how the notion of race evolves with time and outlines her position on current racial frustration in the United States. January 24, 2018. Audio.
Nell’s appearance on MSNBC "The Last Word": Lawrence O'Donell interviews Nell about Sojourner Truth, in segment "Recovered docs show how Sojourner Truth won son’s freedom from white man." February 2, 2022. Video.
Nell's video on NBC: Think—Opinion, Analysis, Essays “The complex history and an uncertain future of American whiteness” by Nell Irvin Painter, August 3, 2020. Video.
Nell's interview on Canadian radio: “There is no such thing as the 'white race' —or any other race, says historian.” CBC Radio, The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, Sunday September 17, 2017. Audio and text.
Video of Nell's interview with Carol Jenkins on CUNY Television’s Black America series “Black America – Through a Painter's Eye with Nell Painter.” April 26, 2017. Video.
Nell’s Video/Audio Interviews (2016 and older)
Nell’s videos on C-SPAN: This C-SPAN search page includes links to several videos. 23 videos with transcript text, dating from 1997 through 2016.
2010 National Book Festival. Nell talked about her book The History of White People in the History and Biography Pavilion.The 10th annual National Book Festival was held by the Library of Congress on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. C-SPAN’s BookTV aired live coverage of the day’s events, including authors speaking in the History and Biography Pavilion interspersed with interviews and viewer calls with featured authors. (Nell's talk begins at 1:40:25 into the video.) September 25, 2010. Video with transcript text.
Berkeley historian interview series: Video of Nell’s interview with Harry Kreisler, “Reflections of an Historian,” in the Conversations with History series at the University of California, Berkeley. Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes historian and artist Nell Irvin Painter for a discussion of her intellectual odyssey. Professor Painter discusses the influence of her parents, her work as a historian and the importance of art as a way to complement the traditional historical narrative. November 7, 2013. Video.
Interview on ABC News with Dianne Sawyer: Diane Sawyer and author Nell Irvin Painter discuss what it means to be ‘white’ in “The Conversation: The History of White People”
What does it mean to be ‘white’? Is it one race of people? Were people defined as ‘white’ hundreds of years ago? In her new book, “The History of White People,” author Nell Irvin Painter tells the story of what she considers a forgotten chapter in history: the story of whiteness. From antiquity to the modern era, Painter explores the concept and how the definition of ‘white’ has taken on many forms.
In this interview, Diane Sawyer asks Painter how notions of ‘whiteness’ came to be. They discuss how white beauty has affected definitions of beauty in general, the origin of ‘Caucasian’ and whether such a term can accurately describe someone. And Painter ponders the question of whether we live in a truly post-racial society. April 1, 2010. Video.
Big Think Interview With Nell Irvin Painter. A conversation with the professor of American history at Princeton. March 31, 2010. Video with text transcript.
The Colbert Report on Comedy Central with Stephen Colbert: Nell Irvin Painter debates the meaning of white people and arm-wrestles Stephen over the Scots-Irish. March 17, 2010. Video.
Nell’s Print Interviews
Nell is interviewed by Harryet Candee for The Artful Mind magazine, “Nell Irvin Painter: Historian/Writer/Artist.” (link to downloadable pdf of article on our website) or online issue at issuu.com. October 2022 issue. Print.
Harryet Candee noted in her introduction: “This past summer, Linda Mussman, Co-Founder of Time & Space Limited in Hudson, New York, introduced me to Nell at the TSL Gallery. It was there I caught her in a very energized state of mind, busily sorting through and uncovering art work that was to be hung the same day for her opening ‘A Million Nells: Heedless Self Portraits Over the Years.’ Nell's work will be on view through October 9, 2022.” The article is illustrated with 11 images of Nell's art.
A profile on Nell by Sammy Gibbons for northjersey.com (part of the USA Today network), “It's never too late: Why this successful NJ historian changed career paths in her late 60s” Published December 14, 2020. Print.
Nell is interviewed by the Kansas City Star newspaper: "At 67, she could have retired, but instead she reinvented herself. It wasn’t easy." October 30, 2020. Print.
Also, the Kansas City Public Library streamed an on-line conversation with Nell, led by Kaite Mediatore Stover, the library’s director of readers’ services, featuring "Old in Art School" by Nell Painter, the Library's "book-of-the-moment selection". November 16, 2020. Video.
Nell is interviewed by Lauren O'Neill-Butler for the on-line publication November, "Nell Painter— In conversation with Lauren O'Neill-Butler," November Magazine, No. 5. (novembermag.com is a publication of interviews with thinkers about art, politics, media, architecture, and philosophy). The interview took place September 2020. Print.
Nell is interviewed in the Boston Review: "The Historian’s Art", Jonathan M. Square, Walter Johnson, Nell Painter.
Jonathan M. Square, the curator of Nell's two recent exhibits at Harvard University, introduces the conversation between Nell and Walter Johnson (Harvard historian and Nell’s former student). January 6, 2020. Print.