Graduate Activities: Anwar Ibrahim, dissertation defense

The Department of Art History

is pleased to announce that, on,

Thursday, April 23, at 2:00

in the Art History Commons, FA 218,

Anwar Ibrahim,

candidate for the doctoral degree in Art History,

will defend his dissertation,

“Politics, Controversy and Design in Post 9/11 American Mosques: The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, Roxbury, Massachusetts,”

before a committee composed of Professors Nancy Um (Chair), Julia Walker, and Kent Schull (History).

The defense is a public event and open to all. We look forward to a lively, instructive and informative discussion and invite you all to attend.

Faculty Activities: Nancy Um at Washington University

NG-444 copy

On April 20, Associate Professor Nancy Um will be participating in the Workshop on Material Culture and Thing Theory Sponsored by the Eighteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Salon at Washington University, along with Michael Yonan (University of Missouri-Columbia), Sophie White (Notre Dame), and Alex Dubé (Washington University). Um’s paper is titled titled “Spices, Porcelain, and Wood: Material Registers of Dutch Exchange around the Indian Ocean, ca. 1700.”

This week at CEMERS: Paul Schleuse, Binghamton University


Wednesday, April 15 at 3:00 PM in the IASH Conference Room (LN1106)

Paul Schleuse, Associate Professor of Musicology, Binghamton University

“Image, Imitation, Imagination: Woodcut Illustrations in Adriano Banchieri’s Music Books”

paul schleuseIllustrations in prints of renaissance music are extremely rare, beyond generic elements like initial letters, decorative borders on title pages, and printer’s marks. When they do appear they can tell us much about a book’s function: as unusual (and expensive) additions they could not have been used haphazardly; as images not visible to a separate audience they strongly suggest that the music was intended for the enjoyment of the singers themselves. A handful of Venetian prints from the years around 1600 use images of theatrical performances in precisely this way, most notably Orazio Vecchi’s L’Amfiparnaso (1597), whose woodcuts were custom-made to portray situations from the commedia dell’arte-style scenario that unifies the book. Vecchi’s imitator Adriano Banchieri composed no fewer than four distinct books of three-voice canzonettas that rewrite L’Amfiparnaso and also use woodcut illustrations, but they do so in a more haphazard manner. As I will show, most of Banchieri’s images were recycled from a set of at least thirty-one generic theatrical woodcuts that first appeared in prints of Venetian comedies in 1591 and 1592. These illustrations will shed new light on Banchieri’s purpose in repeatedly re-inventing his theatrically themed canzonettas, on the recreational function of these books, and on his shifting views of performance practice for these works at a time that also saw the emergence of opera.

Annual Ferber Lecture: Toni Veneri, Istituto Gramsci del Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trieste

Pietro Vesconte World Map

World map by Pietro Vesconte. From the Liber Secretorum Fidelium Crucis by Marino Sanudo il Vecchio, c. 1325 (London, British Library, MS 27376).

In conjunction with the Spring 2015 VizCult series, the Art History Department presents the annual Ferber Lecture on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 5:15pm in the University Art Museum (Fine Arts Building).  Toni Veneri, Director of the Istituto Gramsci del Friuli Venezia Giulia in Trieste, Italy, will address the uneven shifts in cartography from medieval conceptions of place and itinerary or passage to models of homogeneous, measurable, empty space associated in the Enlightenment with scientific progress, in a paper titled “Renaissance Maps and Travel Literature:  Between Competing Orders of Place and Space.”  The Ferber Lecture is open to the public.  All are welcome.

Renaissance Maps and Travel Literature: Between Competing Orders of Place and Space

A common assumption in historical writing is that “the Renaissance” gave rise to a new spatial awareness – part of a break in Western epistemology that fostered unprecedented practices of measurement and description, which in turn made possible increasingly global exploration and territorial command. Maps and travel accounts, more than any other form of cultural production, are said to render visible the depth of this change, which involved a broad rethinking of scientific categories and, ultimately, a radical shift in the representation of geographic space.  As early as humanist thought and moving through the enlightenment, this shift was heralded as a scientific advance.  Positivists, characterizing what preceded as the product of naivety or ignorance, have long embraced it as a hallmark of modernity.  This paper addresses a theoretical challenge to the “modern” notion of space initiated in the last century by (among others) Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Yuri Lotman, Michail Bachtin, and Michel Foucault, who (if to different ends) turned from quantitative models of empty, measurable, homogeneous space with its endless equivalences to think about movement (passage), route (itinerary), and the qualitative differences accorded place.  The result was a reassessment of the so-called “medieval” imago mundi and the all-but-forgotten (Aristotelian) notion of place, a critical turn more recently taken up by the humanistic geographers Yi-Fu Tuan and Franco Farinelli.  As I will argue, when considering “Renaissance” cartography and travel literature their reflections are significant, prompting a discursive shift from the notion of replacement and inexorable advance to a discussion of contamination and coexistence between incommensurate and competing spatial orders.  Their work also invites a consideration of the codependency or mutual implication of space and place, which can be seen in the reception of Marco Polo’s “voyages” some 250 years after its production, when this narrative (as late as the late sixteenth century) still informed the production and reception of maps at the dawn of modern geography and its regime of descriptive accuracy and truth.