Art, Identity, and Social Exchange: Maya-Teotihuacan Interactions at Plaza of the Columns, Mexico

Join us on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm (PST) — via Zoom
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SugiyamaWorkInProgress2020Nawa Sugiyama, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside

Professor Sugiyama received her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Harvard University in 2014 and continued as a Peter Buck Post-doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. In 2016, she began her appointment as Assistant Professor at George Mason University and transferred to the Anthropology Department at University of California-Riverside in 2019 where she established the Archaeological Research Laboratory. She is co-director of the Project Plaza of the Columns Complex at the UNESCO world heritage site of Teotihuacan, Mexico, where she is leading the excavation of a principal palatial structure in the ancient metropolis. She specializes in topics pertaining to the construction of ritualized landscapes, human-animal interaction, inter-regional exchange, and the processes and consequences of urbanization.







African Cities and Writing New Histories, A Conversation

Join us on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm (PDT) — via Zoom
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Ademide Adelusi-Adeluy, Ph.D.
Department of History, University of California, Riverside

Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi is a historian of Lagos, Nigeria. Her research combines an interest in interdisciplinary questions around the use, design and even destruction of West African cities in the nineteenth century. She received her PhD in History from NYU in 2016. Her recent work explores how colonial maps can be used to perform spatial analysis of indigenous city cultures, and how mapping applications can be leveraged to produce public histories of these sites. She teaches classes on Africa, urban history, digital storytelling and historical cartography at UC Riverside, where she is an assistant professor of History.

Prita Meier, Ph.D.
Department of Art History, New York University

Prita Meier is associate professor of African art and architectural history at New York University. Her scholarship centers on the spatial and aesthetic politics of coastal cities, ports, and border territories and she is the author of the book Swahili Port Cities: Architecture of Elsewhere. Her current research focuses on the material technologies and image cultures of travel and transportation. Most recently she has published articles on photography’s role as a material artifact of mobility and she has also written about the cultural life of Africa’s postcolonial engineering megaprojects.






Statement of Support and Solidarity by the History of Art Department

We the History of Art Department band together in solidarity with our students and protesters locally, nationally, and globally in condemnation of antiblackness and systemic racism. We raise our voices in outrage against racist injustice in all forms that Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color face in this country today, from police violence to the disparities in healthcare made evident by COVID-19. We mourn the needless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and too many others that have paid the price of the long national shame of racism. We will not stand for it. We must change.

At UC Riverside, we have long promoted our campus as a place of inclusion, diversity, free- thinking, and social betterment. In the past weeks students have raised their voices and called for our support. We must ensure that our actions match our ideals. We now call upon our leadership, and all parts of the campus including our own department, to directly engage this vital moment to empower a university shaped at every level by the ethos of Black Lives Matter. This means an escalating commitment to understanding the day-to-day realities of Black students, staff, and faculty.

We in Art History will take this time to be sure that our practices support these core values. We will care for those around us. We want our students to know that we support them. We encourage them to reach out to us for counsel and understanding. Our commitments as teachers, scholars, and human beings guide us.

–The Members of the History of Art Department

Situating Sovereignty: Art and Indigenous Experience in Sixteenth-Century Mexican Missions

Savannah Esquivel
Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Chicago

Wednesday, March 11 at 5:15pm
ARTS Seminar Room  333


How did Indigenous Mexican communities experience the art and architecture of sixteenth-century missions? I situate monastic mural painting in the broader discourse of Indigenous sovereignty and local knowledge systems to displace the traditional narrative of European colonial hegemony that dominates the study of art and religious conversion. Through analysis of the relationship between murals, architecture, and their viewers, I argue Indigenous artists drew on their experiential knowledge of their land to structure new social and political relations through Christian art. This new account of colonial Mexican art thus challenges modern notions of the Mexican missions as primarily places for religious conversion and European colonization.












Woven Silk as Embodiment: Tapestry and Imperial Portraiture at the Yuan Court from a Mongol Perspective
Yong Cho, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University

Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 5:00pm
ARTS Seminar Room 333

The Mongol ruling house during China’s Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) enshrined portrait images of deceased emperors and empresses along with tantric Buddhist mandalas intended to represent their ritual embodiments. Interestingly, these images— portraits and mandala—were woven completely in silk using the technique of tapestry with slits (kesi). This was a dramatic departure from established tradition in China and North Asia, where such images were either painted or sculpted.

What accounted for this transition in medium, with Yuan rulers opting to produce images of their own bodies as silk tapestry? Examination of the available visual and textual evidence suggests that Yuan rulers understood the process of weaving silk as an especially efficacious means to producing embodied images, where the subject was understood to be present, rather than merely represented. Evidence also shows that such woven images were a product of collaboration among artisans from different corners of the Mongol Empire —a testimony to the cosmopolitan outlook of rulers who, even as they rose to power in China, did not relinquish their ties to the steppe.




Engaging Objects: Looking at Art With Malcolm Baker

Looking at art with Malcolm Baker is always an adventure. This conference celebrates Distinguished Professor Emeritus Baker’s scholarship and his time at UCR. Baker is an eminent authority in the history of sculpture, especially in 18th-century Britain, France, and Germany. Within that field, he developed a keen interest in portraiture and the history of collecting and display. Professor Baker had an important career as a curator in the UK, first as Assistant Keeper of the Department of Art & Archaeology at the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, then as Keeper, Deputy Head of Research, and Head of the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries Project in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He taught at the Universities of York, Sussex, and at USC before joining UCR’s Department of the History of Art as Distinguished Professor. As chair of the Art History department at UCR he was a key figure in developing and consolidating its ties with the Huntington Library and Gardens and the Getty Museum and Research Institute. Professor Baker’s joy in front of works of art colors and informs his research as much as his teaching, and students love his classes. During the conference, we will look with friends and colleagues at some engaging objects to honor his career and his unique approach to art and its display.

Join us as we celebrate the career of Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Malcolm Baker. 



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