Karen Barzman at Renaissance Society of America

Associate Professor Karen Barzman will be presenting a talk this Saturday, March 24, at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Washington, D.C. Follow the link for time and location.

“Mapping Dalmatia:  Cartography and the Management of the Venetian Stato da Mar”

In the prevailing economy of the sovereign state, territorial boundaries are essential to establish and maintain.  Hence the centrality of lines on maps.  What marks off one state from another are width-less cracks signed and sealed, as it were, by the logic of the line – that which has length but no thickness or distance across. Purely discursive (with no material referent), such lines nonetheless have tremendous authority in modern statecraft, permitting informed discussion and decision-making from dispersed locations about site-specific matters concerning jurisdiction and the limits of rule.

Lines on maps were an innovation of early modern Europe.  It was there and then that cartography became part of a developing “information-technology” tied to the governance of local, regional and trans-regional polities with an increasing dependence on the collection, archiving, and delivery of data across vast distances, including information in pictographic form.  This was a system of managing the state in which a clear vision of (and consensus about) boundary lines became desirable – for Venice along the eastern Adriatic, with increasing urgency over the years.

This paper focuses on a hand-drawn map produced before the Venetian “stato da mar” (maritime state) was composed of bounded units. It represents Venetian Dalmatia, a province of porous and shifting limits for almost 300 years, until that part of central Europe was fully surveyed by all parties, with borders fixed on printed maps in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Raising questions about the efficacy of maps in the “paper management” of the state when territories, realms, and kingdoms were summoned forth merely toponymically, this map, I argue, nonetheless stands at the beginning of practices of modern statecraft employing new media – an early, mobile form of display-based data-management we take for granted today.

Graduate student activities: Hyeyun Chin in London and Angelique Szymanek in Montreal

Royal Exchange, London

Binghamton Art History goes abroad! If you find yourself in Montreal this weekend (March 16th-17th), join doctoral student Angelique Szymanek at Concordia University’s Art History Graduate Student Association Conference, “Situate Yourself: Embodied Knowledge in Art and Visual Culture.” Angelique’s talk is titled “The Fear of Rape, The Threat of Looking.”

Doctoral student Hyeyun Chin will be in London at the second annualLondon Studies Conference, to be held at the Institute of Education at the University of London (June 22nd-24th). Called “LONDONCITY 2012: London – City of Transformations?”, this interdisciplinary conference explores London’s metamorphosis over many centuries. Hyeyun’s presentation, “The Marketplace as Theatrum Mundi: The Spatial Politics of the Royal Exchange in Post-Fire London,” examines one of the most performative spaces in the city and its role as a “stage” for global commerce.

Next VizCult: Jean Givens, University of Connecticut

“Taking Villard’s Lion at Face Value”

Wednesday, March 21, 5:15 pm

FA 218

Villard de Honnecourtʼs frontal lion—more precisely, the adjacent comment that the drawing was contrefait al vif—has long provoked questions about the artist, his intention, and his veracity. Does the comment mean what it seems to say? Does Villard say what he means? By extension, the lion and the claims made for it require us to consider whether Villard worked “from life” (that is, from firsthand observation); how we might reach a reasoned conclusion on that point of workshop practice, and above all, why this issue warrants our serious attention. This paper responds to these questions by offering some guidelines for separating things seen from things imagined, and by proposing just why we should care about Villardʼs status as a truth-teller.

Jean A. Givens is Professor of Art History at the University of Connecticut.

This Thursday: Nancy Um to speak at University Museum

The Undergraduate Art History Association and Binghamton University Art Museum present:


Thursday, March 15 at Noon, FA 213-Art Museum

Prof. Nancy Um

“The Calligraphic Arts of India: Three Manuscript Pages in the University Art Museum”

Page from a Hindu prayer book, ca. 1800. Ink, colors, and gold on paper, Kashmir, India 2006.93

Please join us as members of Binghamton University Art History Department host a series of discussions about selected works from the Art Museum’s permanent collection.

These events are free and open to the public.

Pamela Smart in Houston

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Art History Pamela Smart recently participated in a series of events organized by the Menil Collection in tribute to the collection’s much-loved Byzantine frescoes, which will return to Cyprus later this year. The frescoes have been on long-term loan to the Menil Collection since 1983 and a special chapel (designed by Francois de Menil) was built and consecrated to house them during the interim years. On Thursday, February 16, Smart presented a talk titled “Collecting as a Vocation: the Menil Project,” reflecting on the unique practices and strategies of the collection’s founder, Dominique de Menil. The following Sunday, Smart took part in a panel discussion with Annemarie Weyl Carr (University Distinguished Professor of Art History at S.M.U.) and William Vendley (Secretary General of the World Conference of Religions for Peace) on the collection’s commitment to fostering the relationship between art and spirituality.

Graduate student activities: Chris Balsiger and Angelique Szymanek at Rutgers University

Two Binghamton Art History doctoral students will participate in the 34th Annual Warren and Beatrice Susman Graduate Conference at Rutgers University on March 23rd and 24th. Titled “Inaccessible Places: Writing a Different Kind of History,” the conference emphasizes innovative approaches to art historical research. Angelique Szymanek will present “Look Out! Feminist Performance Art and Sexual Violence,” and Chris Balsiger will present “Emil Kaufmann: ‘Acknowledgments’ as Untapped Archive.”