UC Berkeley History of Art Department



  • 2014 Judith Lee Stronach Travel Seminar Symposium

    Student participants in this year's Travel Seminar to the Bay of Naples will present their research papers at a Symposium in honor of the Seminar's benefactor, Judith Stronach.  The Symposium will end at approximately 1:00 p.m. (refreshments will be served at a break in the program).

    Schedule of presentations:

    Professor Andrew Stewart: Opening Remarks

    Professor Christopher Hallett: Hellenism and Luxury on the Bay of Naples: A Travelogue

    • Kelsey Turbeville: "Cultivated Interiors at 'Villa A' at Oplontis"
    • Aaron Brown:  "Pisciculture as Spectacle in the Praedia of Julia Felix"
    • Sarah Smith: "Diadems are a Girl's Best Friend: Jewelry in Pompeiian Portraiture"
    • Caroline Cheung: "Metamorphoses and Salvation in the Cult of Isis at Pompeii"
    • Eric Driscoll: "Theatrical Aesthetics: Nature and Culture at the Edges of the Roman House"
    • Miriam Said: "'Panhandling:' Pan and the She-Goat from the Villa of the Papyri"
    • David Loer: "Luxury on Show: The Suburban Baths at Herculaneum"
    • Amanda de Joinville: "Reflections of Wealth on Pompeiian Walls: Technique, Materials, Pigment"
    • Kevin Moch:  "The Dionysiac Bronzes from the Atrium of the Villa of the Papyri"


  • The Prison-house of Painting: Giorgio de Chirico's Willful Claustrophilia

    Ara Merjian, New York University

    Ara Merjian, an alumnus of our department, is the author of a new book, Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City.  His talk is generously co-sponsored by the Department of Italian Studies.

  • Laughter: A Human Characteristic in Classical Imagery

    Rolf Michael Schneider, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

    My interest in representations of emotion, particularly laughter, took shape while I was studying Hellenistic and Roman sculptures of satyrs. My questions have been rather ambitious. How distinctly were (and could be) emotions expressed in classical imagery? Whose faces and/or bodies were affected by laughter? Who commissioned such images and for what purposes? In which social and religious places was visual laughter familiar? How does it relate to (present) concepts of (ancient) history? Influential for my research have been inter alia studies on the carnivalesque (Michail Bachtin), on Darwin and facial expression (Paul Ekman), on laughter as a phenomenon of cultural psychology (Stephen Halliwell), on the sinister, bare-teethed Gorgo (Jean-Pierre Vernant), and on medieval laughter (Jaques Le Goff). Most profoundly, however, I have profited from the essay ‘Lachen und Weinen: Eine Untersuchung nach den Grenzen menschlichen Verhaltens’ (1941), written by Helmuth Plessner. He developed a type of philosophical biology and anthropology which, in cultural studies on laughter, has gone for the most part unnoticed. It was he who made me aware of the fundamental human relationship between laughter and body. As laughter is a crucial property of man (Aristotle, de an. 3.10) a key question of my lecture is why the visually ‘obsessed’ cultures of Greece and Rome produced countless texts negotiating virtually all aspects of (the paradoxes of) laughter but almost no equivalent images. What price had such a society to pay when it limited laughter in its otherwise omnipresent and very human-like imagery so radically? Keeping this in mind I will discuss in my lecture the difficulties encountered when distinguishing between smiling, grinning, and laughing in imagery (in contrast to texts) and the relationships between laughter, face, and body. In a further step I will tackle two case studies: the ‘Archaic Smile’ and laughter in the world of Dionysus. At the end I will relate my conclusions to the normative aesthetics of ancient imagery - which, as far as laughter is concerned, seems to border on the non-human.

    Prof. Dr. Rolf Michael Schneider has been invited to U.C. Berkeley as part of Berkeley's exchange program with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. He will be giving two lectures on behalf of the Department of History of Art and the Department of Classics.

  • From Memory to Marble: The Frieze of the Voortrekker Monument at Pretoria

    Rolf Michael Schneider, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

    My paper is about one of the largest historical narratives in marble we know. It is a frieze or, at the beginning rather several friezes, first conceived in the early 1930s and designed for the Voortrekker Monument. It was inaugurated on 16 December 1949, and was to become the National Icon of South African apartheid. In other words, it is intricate and controversial. The final frieze models, cast in plaster, were finished around October 1947 to be carved eventually in Carrara marble. The frieze is a case in point for classical archaeologists, art historians and historians alike as it allows us to reconstruct many of the complex processes involved in the making of such an ambitious narrative. Thus, in my paper, I will primarily focus on the roles, interactions and ideologies of the people who turned memory into history and history into imagery. The rich documentation around the frieze enables us to show how and why 17 years of early South African history (1835-1852) were reduced, changed and finally petrified (in)to 92 metres of over-life-sized marble. My paper has grown out of a joint book project which the art historian Elizabeth Rankin (Auckland) and I are writing together.

    Prof. Dr. Rolf Michael Schneider has been invited to U.C. Berkeley as part of Berkeley's exchange program with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.  He will be giving two lectures on behalf of the Department of History of Art and the Department of Classics.

  • Islam and Religious Pluralism?

    Roxanne L. Euben

    The Goldman School of Public Policy presents a research lecture by Roxanne L. Euben, Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. 

    "Questions about the relationship between Islam and religious pluralism often descend into claims and counter-claims about the intolerance or ecumenicalism of Islam. Rather than posing Islam as a distinctive challenge to religious pluralism and pluralism as a particular challenge to Islam, I outline an Islamic ethos of talab al-'ilm (travel in search of knowledge), and argue that it constitutes an exhortation to Muslims to regard openness to and appreciation of religious pluralism as an enactment of Islamic piety. I then examine to two concrete examples of travel in search of knowledge to make visible those contingent and mundane mechanisms through which dislocating exposures to different peoples, as well as to their beliefs and practices, can yield a relative openness and even willingness to learn from them."

    Euben is the author of Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism (Princeton University Press, 1999), Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search Of Knowledge (Princeton University Press, 2006), and writer/editor (with Muhammad Qasim Zaman) of Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden (Princeton University Press, 2009). Her work has also appeared in such academic journals as Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, The Journal of Politics, International Studies Review, The Review of Politics and Political Psychology. She has previously been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and American Council of Learned Societies.


  • The Whisperers

    Christopher Wood

    Sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature.

  • The Problem of Folk Art

    Berkeley Folklore Roundtable presents a talk by Margaretta Lovell.

    This talk will emphasize 19th and 20th-century American folk art and broach questions about fabrication, audience, and interpretation.  How is folk art similar to folklore? folk music?  How is it profoundly different as a subject of analysis?  What uses were made of 19th-century folk art in 20th-century America by mainstream culture elites?  What opportunities for the study of folk art are ripe for scholarly attention?

  • Dunhuang

    A Symposium on New Perspectives in Dunhuang Studies

    The Dunhuang Grottoes on the ancient Silk Road, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, are a splendid treasure house of art from ancient China. For more than 100 years, the discovery, conservation and study of those grottoes have attracted worldwide attention.

    Co-sponsored by Center for Buddhist Studies, C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Center for Chinese Studies and Institute of East Asian Studies.

    UC Berkeley

  • History of Art Graduate Symposium: "Invisibility--Illegibility"

    The 2014 History of Art Graduate Symposium: “Invisibility--Illegibility” draws together six graduate students from a wide range of institutions to speak on the themes of invisibility and illegibility in art and visual culture. The symposium is comprised of two panels that address a wide range of objects, communities, and experiences that fall outside of or exceed the boundaries of vision and discourse. The symposium concludes with a keynote address by Alexander Nemerov, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University, whose work on memory closely relates to the theme of the symposium.

    Symposium Schedule:

    9:30am - 9:50am Coffee and Pastries

    9:50am - 11:30am First Panel: Below the Radar
    Discussant: Aglaya Glebova

    John Blakinger, Stanford University, "A New Bauhaus Camouflage"

    Jackson Davidow, MIT, “Competing Contracts: Cruising and Photography in the Digital Age”

    Rachel Newman, Stanford University, “Laboring in Silence and Solitude: William Berryman's Scenes of Jamaican Sugar Plantations”

    11:30am - 1pm Lunch Break

    1pm - 2:30pm Second Panel: Forming From the Margins
    Discussant: Grace Harpster

    Michael Hatch, Princeton University, “Delineating the Illegible in Huang Yi's 'Engraved Texts of the Lesser Penglai Pavilion' (1800)”

    Lex Lancaster, UW-Madison, “Hap Histories: Ghosts of Chance in the Lesbian Feminist Archives”

    Laura Somenzi, Emory University, “Building Knowledge: Francesco di Giorgio and the Trattati di architettura ingegneria e arte militare”

    2:45pm - 3:30pm Keynote Address
    Dr. Alexander Nemerov, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University, "Snowflake: Wilson Bentley's Civil War"

    The event is co-sponsored by the Departments of History and Comparative Literature, the Program in Medieval Studies, and the Townsend Center.

  • "Deaf What? Constructing James Castle"

    Brenda Brueggemann

    The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society presents a lecture by Brenda Brueggemann, a candidate for a faculty position in Disability Studies.  Brueggemann is Professor of English at University of Louisville, where she has recently joined the faculty as Director of the University Composition Program. Brueggemann is an international figure in Disability Studies, one of the founders of the field (especially within Rhetoric) in the late nineties. Her books include Disability in the Arts and Humanities (Routledge 2012), Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places (New York UP, 2009), and Lend Me Your Ear: Rhetorical Constructions of Deafness (Gallaudet UP, 1999). She also was the editor of and a contributor to Literacy and Deaf People: Cultural and Contextual Perspectives (Gallaudet UP, 2004) and coeditor and contributor of Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (Modern Language Association, 2002) and Women and Deafness: Multidisciplinary Approaches (Gallaudet UP, 2006). She has served as editor for the Gallaudet University Press "Deaf Lives" series (autobiography and biography) and coedited the journal, Disability Studies Quarterly from 2006-2012. Brueggemann was the founder and faculty advisor for the American Sign Language program, and the director for the interdisciplinary Disability Studies program, at Ohio State University.

    This event is wheelchair-accessible and will be captioned. For disability-related accommodations, please contact Susan Schweik at sschweik@berkeley.edu. Please refrain from wearing scented products at the event. 

  • Humanities 2.0: New Tools for the Digital Age

    A symposium on the digital humanities to address such topics as: What is digital humanities? What is does it mean to engage with humanities digitally, to use digital tools for research and to present the results of your study in digital form? The digital world is not just a substitute for books and journals; it offers entirely new tools, formats, and types of access. Its audiences may be different, and authorship may be differently defined. What tools exist for these new forms of research? What are the challenges in terms of funding, sustaining, and collaborating on DH projects? Can the infrastructure that sustains our paper-based scholarship incorporate similar functions for digital work? What should the peer-review process be for digital research and publishing?

    1:00    Keynote

    Dan Edelstein, Faculty Director of Humanities+Design Research Lab, and Professor of French and History, Stanford University
    Nicole Coleman, Staff Director of Humanities+Design Research Lab, and Academic Technology Specialist, Stanford University

    2:00    Digital Research & Website Presentations

    Justin Underhill, Lecturer, History of Art, UC Berkeley
    Elizabeth Honig, Associate Professor, History of Art, UC Berkeley
    Almerindo Ojeda, Professor, Linguistics and Director, Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas and Project for the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art, UC Davis

    3:00    Roundtable Discussion: Logistics of Initiating, Sustaining, and Validating a Digital Humanities Project

    Patrick Schmitz, Associate Director, Architecture & Development, Research IT, UC Berkeley
    Quinn Dombrowski, Digital Humanities Coordinator, Research IT, UC Berkeley
    Eric Schmidt, Classics and Religion Editor, UC Press
    Joan Starr, Manager, Strategic and Project Planning and EZID Service Manager, California Digital Library
    Erik Mitchell, Associate University Librarian, UC Berkeley

    (wine and cheese reception to follow)


    Keynote bios


    Dan Edelstein

    Dan Edelstein is Professor of French and, by courtesy, of History at Stanford University. He is also Director of French and Italian, and Chair of Undergraduate Studies, French. Additionally, he serves as Faculty Director for the Humanities+Design Research Lab at Stanford and as a Chair of the Digital Humanities Focal Group (DHFG).

    Edelstein primarily works on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, political theory, and digital humanities. He is the author of The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2010). He works with a number of colleagues at Stanford and around the world, on a large-scale, NEH-funded, digital humanities project, Mapping the Republic of Letters. The project aims to map the correspondence networks of major intellectual figures during the Enlightenment, such as Locke, Newton, and Voltaire, using the metadata for about 50,000 letters provided by the University of Oxford.


    Nicole Coleman

    Nicole Coleman is the Academic Technology Specialist for the Stanford Humanities Center, and Staff Director of the Humanities+Design Research Lab. She also serves as a Co-Manager of the Academic Technology Specialist Program.

    Coleman's work involves the application of networked resources and digital technologies in humanities research, with an emphasis on distance collaboration, interdisciplinary collaboration, data visualization, and interface design. She works in collaboration with faculty, graduate students, and individuals outside of academe to explore and develop new directions in humanities research. In 2012 Coleman co-founded Humanities+Design, a program that offers fellowships to graduate students to help prepare them for research in the digital age through the design and development of digital research tools. Her work with the Stanford Humanities Center has included: establishing a laboratory for graduate research; an online collaborative research environment (humanitiesnetwork.org); a seed-funding program for collaborative research projects; and a speaker series entitled, “New Directions in Humanities Research”.

    Event co-sponsored by the History of Art department and the UCHRI Early Modern Patterns research group


    Poster: Humanities 2.0: New Tools for the Digital Age

  • CANCELED: In My Backyard: Conversations with Art History Neighbors

    In support of the strike this Thursday by the UC Student-Workers Union on campus and system-wide, the Lecture Committee will be cancelling "In My Backyard: Conversations with Art History Neighbors" (5:30pm). We will reschedule this important event in the fall semester.Gwen Allen, Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, and Valerie Soe from San Francisco State University, Department of Art and Department of Asian Studies, in conversation with Berkeley History of Art faculty.

  • Folklore Roundtable: Pertti Anttonen, Mario Wimmer, and Deniz Göktürk

    In folklore studies, scholars have tended to draw a major distinction between pre- and post-archival folklore. The mode of circulation is regarded as being different, tradition is said to end at the door to the archive, and archival documents are considered dead artifacts. This talk will discuss the idea of viewing the archive as a link, rather than a cut, in the circulation of folklore. It will focus on two aspects in this circulation: intersemiotic translation in folklore collecting, and the subsequent act of curation.

    Pertti Anttonen is University Lecturer in folklore studies at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He is a docent in folklore studies at the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku, as well as a docent in ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä. His publications include Tradition Through Modernity: Postmodernism and the Nation-State in Folklore Scholarship.  

    In Conversation With:

     Mario Wimmer teaches Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History in the Dept. of Rhetoric. His research focuses on the cultural and institutional history of knowledge, the critical history of rationality, and the history of an historical sense.

    Deniz Göktürk is Associate Professor and currently Chair in the Dept. of German at the UC Berkeley. Her publications include a book on literary and cinematic imaginations of America in early twentieth-century German culture as well as seminal articles on migration, culture, and cinema.

    Sponsored by Berkeley Folklore Program, the Graduate Assembly, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.  For more information: ucbfolklore@berkeley.edu.


  • Archives, Censors, Wives: Research in Contemporary Asian Art

    A conversation with Jane DeBevoise moderated by Winnie Wong (Department of Rhetoric, U.C. Berkeley).   Jane DeBevoise is Chair of the Board of Directors of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong and New York.

    Organized by the Department of History of Art and the Townsend Working Groups in Contemporary Art, and Asian Art and Visual Culture. Co-sponsored by the Department of Rhetoric, the Arts Research Center, the Center for Chinese Studies and the Institute of East Asian Studies. 

  • ". . . desired and sought by the rest of the world . . . "

    The Circulation of Japanese and Mexican Art in the Colonial World

    Sofia Sanabrais, Getty Research Institute.