Nancy Um at NYU Shanghai

Nancy Um will deliver the talk, “Viewing Mocha from Sea, Air, and Land,” a Henry Luce Indian Ocean Distinguished Lecture, at the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai. This talk will be presented on Friday, October 23, 2020, at 9 pm (New York)/ Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 9 am (Shanghai) via Zoom. Registration is required: https://cga.shanghai.nyu.edu/viewing-mocha-from-sea-air-and-land/

Nancy Um at Emory University

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at 7:30 pm EST, Nancy Um will deliver a lecture entitled “Mapping the Discipline, Plotting the Data of the History of Art,”  for MAP IT | Little Dots, Big Ideas, a lecture series at Emory University, sponsored by the Art History Department and the Center for Digital Scholarship. This lecture will be delivered by Zoom and is open to the public. Pre-registration is required by Monday, September 21: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeklu4kB270FyKdLRsEi9GyREs7vemb30y52dYb9vN6njEh5w/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

Nancy Um on the New Books Network

Nancy Um spoke with Ahmed AlMaazmi and Jenny Peruski about her book, Shipped but Not Sold: Material Culture and the Social Protocols of Trade during Yemen’s Age of Coffee (University of Hawaii Press, 2017), for the Indian Ocean series of the New Books Network. Listen here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/nancy-um-shipped-but-not-sold-material-culture-and-the-social-protocols-of-trade-during-yemens-age-of-coffee-u-hawaii-press-2017/

Binghamton Art History welcomes new visiting faculty member Shannon Steiner

Binghamton Art History is delighted to welcome Shannon Steiner, joining us as Visiting Assistant Professor of Global Medieval Art. Dr. Steiner’s research focuses on Byzantine cloisonné enamel and precious metalwork, with a focus on the intersection of Byzantine study of the natural sciences with practices of artistic production. Further areas of interest include the role that highly-skilled craftsmanship played in Byzantine articulations of imperial power, and the position of art-making in Byzantine hierarchies of knowledge. She has held fellowships from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture. She is co-director and off-site advisor to the research program “Alchemy in Byzantium” at the Institute for Historical Research at the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens, Greece. Shannon is also a practicing goldsmith and incorporates aspects of historic technique reconstruction into her research and publications. She collaborates with master goldsmiths in Connecticut and Washington DC, and has begun studying blacksmithing at the Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown, PA.

Nancy Um in caa.reviews

Nancy Um’s essay, “What Do We Know about the Future of Art History? Let’s Start by Looking at Its Past, Sixty Years of Dissertations,”  was just published as a special feature in caa.reviews. It looks at the College Art Association (CAA) dissertation roster over its sixty-year history as it migrated across CAA’s print and digital platforms. It also takes a focused look at the past seventeen years of art history PhDs in the US and Canada. Read more here: http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/3797#.Xz56zi2ZPys
Image caption: “Dissertations in Progress,” Art Journal 22, no. 3 (Spring 1963): 168.

Kevin Hatch at El Museo del Barrio

Associate Professor Kevin Hatch will deliver a talk on Wednesday, July 22, as part of the book launch for RAPHAEL MONTAÑEZ ORTIZ, a monograph dedicated to the Nuyorican artist and founder and director of El Museo del Barrio in New York. Prof. Hatch’s talk will be drawn from the chapter he contributed to the book, “Raphael Montañez Ortiz: Media Magus.”

The book launch will be hosted by El Museo, and will take place virtually from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Zoom. The event will include the participation of Raphael Montañez Ortiz and monograph editor Javier Rivero Ramos, and will feature contributions from Chon Noriega (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center), Ana Perry (CUNY Graduate Center), and artists Marcos Dimas, Pedro Reyes, and Juan Sanchez. Conversations will be followed by a Q&A.

Admission is free; tickets via Eventbrite are available here:
More information can be found here:

Workshop: Managing Your Academic Identity Online

Please consider attending the workshop “Managing Your Academic Identity Online,” to be held on Wednesday, July 29, at 2 pm by Zoom, hosted by the Department of Art History and the Binghamton Digital Humanities Research Institute (DHRI). This workshop is intended for scholars in the humanities and the qualitative social sciences and will be useful for graduate students as well.

Nancy Um at the Bombay and Indian Ocean Urbanisms Workshop

Nancy Um will deliver a paper entitled, “Two Views of Mocha,” at the plenary session of the Bombay and Indian Ocean Urbanisms Workshop on Friday, June 26, 2020, 9 – 11 am. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Center for the Study of Social Difference, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, at Columbia University, and will be held virtually. To RSVP and receive the access information, contact bombayindianoceanurbanisms@gmail.com

Julia Walker at the Society of Architectural Historians

Julia Walker will be presenting a paper today as part of the panel The Problems and Potentials of Architectural Biography at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, to be held virtually this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just AM!”: Brigitte D’Ortschy, Architecture, and Zen

In 2019, the biographer Robert Caro published his memoirs, reflecting on a career spent exploring the lives of fixers and kingmakers. For a successful biography, Caro avows, “you have to choose the right man.” With titles like The Power Broker (describing Robert Moses) and The Path to Power (referring to Lyndon B. Johnson), Caro’s oeuvre makes clear that the very terms of biography are individualist, public, political, powerful—and, perhaps above all, male.

Given the deep roots of these biases within the genre of biography, how might we understand the life of the German architect Brigitte D’Ortschy? Born and trained in Berlin, in 1950 D’Ortschy spent several months at a retraining program for German architects at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During this program, she was most affected by a lecture delivered to the group by Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1953, Wright invited her to become an apprentice at Taliesin West. After a year at Taliesin, D’Ortschy moved permanently to Japan to study Zen Buddhism, eventually becoming the first Zen master from Germany. Though she is well known to scholars of Zen, she is virtually unknown in the history of architecture, despite her prolific career as an architect and planner.

D’Ortschy’s fascinating life thus engages a number of biography’s methodological ambivalences—first in the context of her status as a woman in architecture, with its masculinist history of heroic self-fashioning through biographical performance (of which Wright may be the exemplar); and second in the context of Zen, with its simultaneous belief in both the illusoriness and the essentiality of the self. Though D’Ortschy’s spiritual exploration led her away from contemplating her life’s details, allowing her to declare, “I just AM!,” the truth, biographically speaking, proves more complex.