CfP: People, Places, and Things in the Global Eighteenth Century

Image: Francisca Efigenia Meléndez y Durazzo, Portrait of a a Seated Girl Holding Flowers, ca. 1795, tempera on ivory, 5 × 5 cm (Dallas: Meadows Museum, SMU, MM.08.01.20).

Nancy Um is chairing a research panel at the conference “Art and Architecture in the Long Eighteenth Century: HECAA at 25,” November 1-4, 2018, held at Southern Methodist University, and currently accepting proposals for presentations. See the panel abstract and submission details below.

Research Panel: People, Places, and Things in the Global Eighteenth Century
Increasingly broad in its definition, the “global eighteenth century” is often used to point to the widened geographic scope of the field, particularly in instances of visual exchange that push past perceived cultural boundaries or hinge upon the movement of artists, art objects, and visual practices across extended distances. This panel aspires to a more rigorous notion of the global eighteenth century: one that questions stable and enduring associations between people, places, and things; examines interactions, movements, and exchanges that are multi-sited rather than binary; and/or takes into account the structures and institutions that facilitated, but also encumbered, eighteenth-century travel, trade, and exchange. Please submit a proposal using this form by February 7, 2018.
More information on the HECAA conference can be found here.

Faculty Activities: Karen Barzman at the Archivio di Stato di Venezia

On November 14, 2017 Karen-edis Barzman will deliver a talk titled “‘Una fortezza di tanto momento.’ Novigradi, al confine tra Dalmazia e Bosnia ottomana” (‘A Fortress of Such Great Moment:’ Novigrad, at the border between Venetian Dalmatia and Ottoman Bosnia), at the conference Castelli, Fortezze e archivi. Fonti sulle fortificazioni veneziane nello Stato da terra e nello Stato da mar , organized by the Archivio di Stato di Venezia. The conference is co-sponsored by the Istituto ellenico di studi bizantini e postbizantini di Venezia and runs from November 13-14 at the Archivio di Stato di Venezia.

Faculty Activities: Jeffrey Kirkwood at New York University

This Saturday, October 27, Jeffrey West Kirkwood will participate in the symposium The Quality of Quantity: The German Critical Tradition in the Age of Datafication at New York University. His paper is titled “An Alternative History of Facts: From Ernst Mach to Kellyanne Conway”:

During a January 22, 2017 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor to President Donald Trump, introduced a phrase that would gain almost instant notoriety: “alternative facts.” Conway was responding to the heavy criticisms of White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer’s claims that the crowd in attendance for Trump’s inauguration “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” On the one hand, Chuck Todd claimed that for Spicer aerial photographs “tell the story,” implying that they documented a reality that was self-evident. On the other, Spicer and Conway also contended that satellite and overhead images were rigged by mass media outlets to indicate a lackluster turnout when compared to previous inaugurations. The images were thus seen simultaneously as proof per se of what they depicted and likewise treated as highly manipulable instruments of deception whose truth was tied to protocols of fact production.

What the dust-up recalls is an overlooked artifact of earlier discourses about the possibilities for multiple, legitimate, counterfactual states tied to mechanical image-making technologies. Namely, it calls to mind the matter of what are called “counterfactuals.” As the paper contends, counterfactuals, and specifically counterfactual thought experiments, were a centerpiece of epistemologies rooted in optical technologies that reached their apex at the beginning of the twentieth century. From Galileo to Ernst Mach (who coined the term “thought experiment”), optical technologies did not merely provide positive evidence for real states, but also introduced methods for dealing with states that did not or could not exist.


Undergraduate and Faculty Activities: University Art Museum Study Room Exhibit

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The University Art Museum is currently displaying an exhibit demonstrating a range of nineteenth-century photographic formats and processes from the daguerreotype and the calotype paper process to the collodion wet-plate glass negative, the stereograph and the photogravure. The exhibit is in the Kenneth C. Lindsay Study Room and was organized in conjunction with ARTH 280, Distinguished Professor John Tagg’s course on “Histories of Photography.” The exhibit will be open for two weeks. A study guide is available in the exhibit.

Faculty Activities: Tom McDonough with Vincent Meesen

On September 28, Associate Professor and Chair of Art History Tom McDonough joined artist Vincent Meesen for a discussion of the latter’s work under the auspices of Concordia University’s Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montréal, Québec (Canada).

The subject of their conversation was Meesen’s video One.Two.Three. A musical and historical dérive set to a Congolese rumba, this film explores the participation of Congolese intellectuals in the Situationist International movement and the unfinished work of decolonization from 1968 to today.

Commissioned for the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, One.Two.Three circumvents the trap of Situationist mythology by way of a protest song composed by Congolese Situationist Joseph M’Belolo Ya M’Piku in May 1968, its lyrics long folded away in the archives of Belgian Situationist Raoul Vaneigem. Shot in and around the legendary Kinshasa nightclub, Un. Deux. Trois, Meessen worked with M’Belolo and a group of young female musicians to produce a new rendition of the song. In the course of the band’s perambulations through the club and their attunements to one another the venue becomes an echo chamber for the impasses of history and the unfinished promises of revolutionary theory.

More information available at

Register now for “Mobile Bodies: A Long View of the Peoples and Communities of Maritime Asia”

Registration is now open for the international conference “Mobile Bodies: A Long View of the Peoples and Communities of Maritime Asia,” to be held at Binghamton University, November 10-11, 2017.

Organized by the Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas, “Mobile Bodies” is the first of a series of annual conferences on Asian issues. This conference will feature panels that deal with trade, migration, travel, and movement across the Asian seas, historically and to the present day. Plenary speakers include Anand Yang (University of Washington), Eric Tagliacozzo (Cornell University), Angela Schottenhammer (University of Salzburg), and Ranabir Samaddar (Calcutta Research Group). The keynote address will be delivered by the celebrated author Amitav Ghosh.

Please see below for the preliminary program and the announcement for the keynote lecture and book signing. For more information, please visit the conference website. Register for the conference by November 2 via Eventbrite. Questions and inquiries may be sent to

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