UC Berkeley History of Art Department

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  • Christopher Bollas: Mini-Course and Residency at the Townsend Center Fall 2016

    The seminar and residency will explore the work of the most influential psychoanalyst writing in English today, Christopher Bollas, who will be scholar-in-residence at the Townsend Center in the first week of November 2016. Bollas is widely known for his pioneering, polymathic, and maverick investigations of unconscious perception of objects and the object world, including human beings—work that has been highly suggestive for many domains of the humanities and social sciences—and more recently for his exploration of fractured unconsciousness (anxiety, hysteria, breakdown, and schizophrenia). Prior to Bollas’s visit, we will discuss his published works (including The Freudian Moment, The Shadow of the Object, Being a Character, and When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia) as well as forthcoming and in-progress work that he will provide. Students will present their own projects to the group, and will develop questions to be discussed in seminars with Bollas himself and for one-on-one meetings with him during his residency.

    Three seminar sessions will be convened by Professor Whitney Davis (History of Art) and will meet on three Wednesdays (September 21 and October 5 and 18) from 5:15 – 7 pm, at the Townsend Center. Participants must attend these seminars; the events of Bollas’s residency, which will take place in the afternoons/early evenings of October 31 and November 1, 2 and 3; and one-on-one meetings with Bollas.

    The seminar is open to graduate students in any program, for 1-unit credit. Students can register for the course by enrolling in Rhetoric 244A, History of Art 298, or Comparative Literature 298. Advance communication with and permission of the instructor required (wmdavis@berkeley.edu). You may also contact the Townsend Center at tansmana@berkeley.edu.
     

    TAGS: Whitney Davis, Townsend Center, Christopher Bollas, Alan Tansman, psychoanalysis

  • Toward a Post-Culturalist Art History: Symposium on the Work of Whitney Davis at the Center for Humanities, Freie Universität, Dahlem, Berlin, April 27/28, 2016

    Symposium Description: Art-historical and visual-culture writing has often assumed that pictures produced in a given historical and geographical milieu track a visual culture, that is, established ways of seeing informed by a relatively stable configuration of shared meaning. Is this just an indispensable methodological abstraction, or is it possibly detrimental to our understanding of the temporally and/or geographically distant forms of pictorial experience? The symposium will tackle this question taking as its departing point the recent analytic work by Whitney Davis (in A General Theory of Visual Culture and the forthcoming Visuality and Virtuality: A Historical Phenomenology of Images and Pictures), who has been developing a model of “succession to visuality” as a historical process that is never totalized and is not well characterized in strong culturalist terms that assume a consolidated culture constituting one's visual experience. Professor Davis will present a public lecture in the evening of April 27 and in the morning of April 28 an overview of his position, followed by response papers by Prof. Gerhard Wolf (Florence), Prof. Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden), Dr. Hans-Christian Hönes (Warburg Institute, London), and Dr. Jakub Stejskal (Berlin). 

    TAGS: Whitney Davis, Post-Culturalist, Freie Universität

  • Whitney Davis gives 2016 Rumble Lecture in Classical Art

    Whitney Davis delivered the third annual Rumble Memorial Fund Lecture in Classical Art in the Great Hall at King's College London, under the title "Queering Classical Art." The event was sponsored by the Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Department of Classics at Kings. Professor Davis was introduced by Professor Roderick Beaton, the Director of CHS, and Dr Michael Squire, Lecturer in Classical Art at Kings, and the traditional speech of thanks was given by Professor Hugh Smith, Head of Classics at Kings. 

    TAGS: Whitney Davis, Rumble Lecture, King's College London

  • Whitney Davis Speaks at Townsend Center "Book Chat" series

    Townsend Center "Book Chat" series : A General Theory of Visual Culture

     

    Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
    Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

    Professor of History of Art Whitney Davis’ teaching and research interests include prehistoric and archaic arts; worldwide rock art; neoclassicism in Western art since the later Middle Ages; the development of professional art; art theory in visual-cultural studies; modern art history; the history and theory of sexuality; queer theory; world art studies; and environmental, evolutionary, and cognitive approaches to the global history of visual culture. His latest publication, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton University Press, 2011) examines the question: What is cultural about vision—or visual about culture?

    Expansive in scope, this book draws on art history, aesthetics, the psychology of perception, the philosophy of reference, and vision science, as well as visual-cultural studies in history, sociology, and anthropology. It provides new definitions of form, style, and iconography, and draws important and sometimes surprising conclusions (for example, that vision does not always attain to visual culture, and that visual culture is not always wholly visible). Davis uses examples from a variety of cultural traditions, from prehistory to the twentieth century, to support a theory designed to apply to all human traditions of making artifacts and pictures—that is, to visual culture as a worldwide phenomenon.

    After an introduction by Alan Tansman (Director, Townsend Center), Professor Davis will speak briefly about his work, read a short excerpt, and then open the floor for discussion.

    TAGS: Whitney Davis, Townsend Center