Please join us in congratulating Professor Flood on the opening of Silsila.
Silsila was founded to connect two recent developments in the humanities: a burgeoning interest in histories of transcultural and transregional contacts and an increased attention to the historical value of material culture. Both foreground the mobility of artifacts, images, materials, and techniques and their often complex interrelationships with the migrations and movements of human consumers and producers.
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Professor Edward Sullivan is about to publish a new book, Making the Americas Modern. This book presents an audacious account of the ways in which the arts in the Americas were modernized during the first half of the twentieth century. Rather than viewing modernization as a steady progression from one ‘ism’ to another, Edward J. Sullivan adopts a comparative approach, drawing his examples from North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America. By considering the Americas in this hemispheric sense he is able to tease out many stories of art and focus on the ways in which artists from different regions not only adapted and experimented with visual expression, but also absorbed trans-national as well as international influences. He shows how this rich diversity is most evident in the various forms of abstract art that emerged throughout the Americas and which in turn had an impact on art throughout the world.
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The Medieval Academy of America has announced the election of Kathryn A. Smith to the Council of the Medieval Academy of America. The Medieval Academy of America is the largest organization in the world promoting excellence in the field of medieval studies, representing more than 3500 medievalists in North America and worldwide. It was founded in 1925 and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Academy publishes the quarterly journal Speculum and awards prizes, grants, and fellowships. The Council is the governing body of the Medieval Academy, functioning as its Board of Directors.
We are thrilled to share the news that Dr. Prita Meier will be joining our department in Fall 2018 (after a fellowship year at CASVA, Washington, DC) as one of the College’s three Mellon Urban Humanities appointments. Dr. Meier comes to us from the School of Art + Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was an assistant professor of African Art.
Dr. Meier’s research focuses on the arts and architectures of East African port cities and histories of transcontinental exchange and conflict. She is the recent author of Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (2016) and has published widely in the journals Art History, African Arts, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Artforum, and Arab Studies Journal. She has also contributed to several exhibition catalogues and edited books. She is now working on a new book about the social and aesthetic history of photography in Zanzibar and Mombasa and is co-organizing an exhibition and edited volume titled World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean, a project supported by a 2016-17 NEH Humanities Project Grant. She has held fellowships at the Clark Art Institute (2014-15), Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities (2009-10), and Johns Hopkins University (2007-8).
Dr. Meier’s arrival will allow us to offer new courses on African art and “oceanic modernisms” that will further globalize our curriculum, broadening and enriching our geographic and chronological scope in all sorts of exciting ways. No less promising are the potential connections that our new colleague will no doubt forge with the College’s program in African and Africana Studies.