The Dhaka Art Summit, Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM) at Cornell University, and Asia Art Archive, with support from the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative, launch a new research project entitled Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia. The project brings together a team of leading international faculty and emerging scholars to investigate parallel and intersecting developments in the cultural histories of modern Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. 

These regions have been shaped by shared institutional and intellectual developments during the twentieth century, including the rise of modern art practices associated with the withdrawal of colonialism and the consolidation of nationalism, the founding of institutions such as the art school and the museum, and increasing exchange with international metropolitan centres via travel and the movement of ideas through publications and exhibitions. Viewing them in terms of statist and national art histories obscures their analysis in a comparative framework. By contrast, this programme emphasises a connected and contextualised approach to better understand both common developments as well as divergent trajectories. 

The curriculum will cover both core concepts and emerging perspectives from postcolonial, decolonial, transnational, transcultural, and global discourses, with seminar topics that range from art and social difference, creolisation, exhibition histories, postcolonial nationalisms, media and popular culture, multiple modernisms, pedagogy, and transnational networks, among others. Participants will be actively engaged in the sessions as experts in their own respective disciplines. By presenting two papers during the course of the programme, early career scholars will be encouraged to pursue their research informed by the theoretical and art historical contexts of this project. 

By integrating presentations by participants with core faculty lectures, the programme is envisioned as a reciprocal process of learning exchange. Presentations will also take place at peer institutions in Hong Kong and Bangladesh, as well as at the Dhaka Art Summit. Field trips such as collection, museum, and modernist architecture visits and guest lectures will be organised during both the Hong Kong and Dhaka sessions. With the goal of optimising the impact of in-person workshops, virtual meetings will be held in addition to the respective Hong Kong and Dhaka sessions. 

Emerging scholars from and with connections to Africa, South Asia, and/or Southeast Asia currently enrolled in a graduate programme in Art History, Architectural History, or Cultural Studies, or who have finished their graduate training in these fields in the last three years, were encouraged to apply. Twenty-one scholars were selected from a competitive international applicant pool. The scholars and their research proposals can be found on the right-hand column.

This is a closed-door event. The open call for participation ended on 28 Feb 2019.

Image: Muzharul Islam, College of Arts and Crafts, Dhaka. Photo: Randhir Singh.
Image: Muzharul Islam, College of Arts and Crafts, Dhaka. Photo: Randhir Singh.

 

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Open Call | Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia
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Application deadline:
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