Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art is conceived as an intellectual laboratory to address the ecological and aesthetic dimensions of human interaction with geographical, geological, botanical, zoological, astronomical, and climatic formations from the micro to a planetary scale. How was the interrelationship between the nonhuman and the human visually configured in geographically distinct, yet often interconnected, terrains in different moments of history? How did striated knowledge-systems, the agentive qualities of matter, and aesthetic practices shape such configurations, topographies, and spatial orders? To what extent were particular aesthetic practices related to the economies of religious systems or social arrangements? What are the conceptual interconnections, or conversely interstices, between theories of nature, ecology, environment, and aesthetics? While literary ecocriticism has become a field of intense debate over the last decades, the ecological turn in visual culture studies is still at its early stage. The conference thus aims to bring art history, a discipline that has for long been concerned with notions of landscape, nature, materiality, and aesthetic processes, into this... [show more]
Body and Empire: A Conversation
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby
Still Thinking about Olympia’s Maid
Opening with Manet’s voyage to Brazil after the second French abolition of slavery, this talk focuses on the too often overlooked black woman in Manet’s Olympia (1863) and the model Laure who posed for this painting and others. Manet’s painting stages a creole scene that makes visible France’s long reliance on slavery, but also its Revolutionary redefinition of all blacks as paid workers after the second abolition of slavery in 1848. How does thinking about the entry of blacks, specifically black women, into France’s economy of wage labor differently illuminate Manet’s painting?
Of the "Effeminate" Buddha and the Making of an Indian Art History
Internalizing colonial accusations of the “effeminacy” of the native male body, nineteenth-century Indian ideologues and reformers attempted to redeem the national body through a range of phallocentric body cultures. Anti-colonial art history, however, deliberately appropriated colonizing discourses of the effeminate native body to epistemologically challenge the hegemonic hyper-masculinity advocated by both the regulatory mechanisms of the British Em... [show more]
Sugata Ray has been awarded the Historians of Islamic Art Association's 2014-15 Margaret Ševčenko Prize for his essay Shangri La: The Archive-Museum and the Spatial Topologies of Islamic Art History. The Ševčenko Prize, awarded annually for the best essay written on any aspect of Islamic visual culture, is named in memory of Margaret Bentley Ševčenko, the first and long-serving Managing Editor of Muqarnas, a journal devoted to the visual culture of the Islamic world and sponsored by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and at MIT.
Ray's essay on the twentieth-century display of Islamic art in the United States was researched during his 2013 tenure as Scholar-in-Residence at the Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu.
An international conference on global water systems and cultures of spatiality in India.
Organizers: Sugata Ray, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley (in association with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi and Venugopal Maddipati, School of Design, Ambedkar University, Delhi)
Dates: July 24-25, 2014
Venue: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi, India 110011 (Details here)
Concept note: The reciprocal relationship between global water systems and cultures of spatiality in constituting historical events across time and space has received little attention in ecohistories of India. Spaces of Water: New Paradigms in Ecocritical Enquiry is an attempt to address this opacity in environmental studies by bringing together leading scholars, artists, architects, and activists from India, Europe, and the United States to articulate new forms of ecocritical thinking that reads the cultural as both determining and being determined by the environmental. How does the environment shape, and is shaped by, the ontological domain of affective spatialities? Over two days, speakers will rethink the intersections between water systems and the phenomenol... [show more]
On February 18, 2014, the UC Berkeley Center for South Asia Studies is presenting a conference spearheaded by History of Art faculty member Sugata Ray on Collecting South Asia, Archiving South Asia at the BAM Theater. Sponsors of the event are the CSAS, the Arts Research Center, the Asian Art Museum, and our department.