Call for applications

Connecting Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia

Dhaka + Hong Kong, Bangladesh
Deadline: 28 February 2019

Connecting Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, South and Southeast Asia

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 ‘Connecting 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 South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Shaped by shared institutional and intellectual developments that are closely related, these regions are marked by similar experiences during the twentieth century. These include 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 centers via travel and the movement of ideas through publications and exhibitions. Viewing this in terms of statist and national art histories obscures their analysis in a comparative framework. By contrast, this program emphasizes a connected and contextualized 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, creolization, exhibition histories, post-colonial 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 program, 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 program is envisioned as a reciprocal process of learning exchange. Presentations may also take place at universities 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 organized during both the Hong Kong and Dhaka sessions. With the goal of optimizing the impact of in-person workshops, virtual meetings will be held in advance of and following the respective Hong Kong and Dhaka sessions.

Emerging scholars from and with connections to Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia currently enrolled in a graduate program in Art History, Architectural History, or Cultural Studies, or who have finished their graduate training in these fields during the last three years are encouraged to apply.

Travel and accommodation expenses will be fully covered. Participants must commit to attending both the Hong Kong and Dhaka sessions for the full duration: Hong Kong from August 11-22, 2019; and Dhaka from February 5-16, 2020; with additional distance-learning sessions to be held digitally during 2019 and the first half of 2020.

To apply, please submit a single PDF document with:

1.    Your name, email address, institutional affiliation, and postal address.
2.    A statement (500-700 words), outlining the nature of your current work, its involvement with the modern art history of Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and what you believe you could gain through your participation in this program.
3.    A two-page CV, including a selection of your most relevant publications or research projects.
4.    Two letters of recommendation.

Please email the documents specified above as a single document to by Thursday 28 February, 2019. Please list your name (last name, first name) in the subject line of the email. File name of the attachment should be LASTNAME-FIRSTNAME.PDF (your last name and first name respectively).


Preference will be given to applicants based in East Africa, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Selection of the participants will be made based on the recommendations of the project team, comprised of Project Leader Dr. Iftikhar Dadi (Cornell University); Guest Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Giorgis (Addis Ababa University), Dr. Salah Hassan (Cornell University), Dr. Simon Soon (University of Malaya), Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason (University of Leiden), Dr. Ming Tiampo (Carleton University); Organizers Amara Antilla (Solomon R Guggenheim Museum) and Diana Campbell Betancourt (Dhaka Art Summit); and the Asia Art Archive team led by John Tain (Head of Research AAA) with researchers Sneha Ragavan, Chuong-Dai Vo, and Michelle Wong

Applicants will be notified of the outcomes by mid-March, 2019. Dhaka Art Summit will facilitate visas to Bangladesh for accepted applicants.



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