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Tagesarchiv für den 12. August 2016

Summer School 2016 – Abstracts Morning Lectures
12. August 2016, Melanie Altanian | 0 Comments

Visible and invisible borderlands – art history’s unresolved epistemic frontiers

Monica Juneja

My talk takes its cue from Etienne Balibar’s designation of a border as something that goes beyond being a mere boundary between two states, rather performs a “world-configuring function”. In what ways does the notion of a border become a “condition of possibility” for the proliferation of boundaries as modes of producing authoritative knowledge? One important domain of such knowledge has been art history that, participating in and even constitutive of processes of nation building, was conceived of as a path to understand and account for the particularities of “national cultures”. My talk engages with these epistemic foundations and early histories of the discipline at a profoundly global conjuncture as it negotiated a dialectic of crossing and redefining boundaries. From the strivings of early “world art histories” (Weltkunstgeschichte) to encompass a new and ever-increasing diversity of objects that had made their way from regions of the world to Europe and confronted museums, curators, publics and not least a discipline fixated on Classical Antiquity with fresh challenges, I look at the way concepts of modernist art history get appropriated, re-configured and also reaffirmed as the discipline migrates beyond Europe to colonies and young post-colonial nations. I argue that this exercise assumes an urgency in contemporary times as art history strives once again to become “global”, carried by the euphoria of dissolving borders and a shared art world generated by contemporary art and the “excess visibility” (Jean Fisher) it accords to cultural difference. To what extent does the “intimate proximity” (Okwui Enwezor) induced by the global contemporary eschew an engagement with art history’s unresolved epistemic frontiers and what would be the logical consequences of a transcultural art history that worked to replace inherited notions of culture and the art historical apparatus that rests on them with more dynamic models of identities constituted through transborder relationships?


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