Theories and Methods for the “Global” Modern

City College , New York, United States
08 Apr 2016

Theories and Methods for the “Global” Modern

Rama and Lakshmana in the Monsoon, detail from Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, ca. 1775. Courtesy Mehrangarh Museum Trust, RJS. Photo: N. Greentree.

Today’s “global” turn in art history and museum curating is spurred by recent escalations of economic and cultural globalization.

Many publications and museum interventions accordingly emphasize contemporary art, celebrating diversity and inclusivity in the art world. Does the new “global” field especially encompass the 20th century and the contemporary, even though globalization as a phenomenon is nothing new? Indeed, since at least the 15th century, when trade networks grew truly worldwide, and since the 19th century, when modern imperial systems expanded, the “global” has become historical. Centuries of far-ranging artistic exchanges can now be examined through historical documents and other forms of evidence and inquiry. This symposium throws “global” modern artistic phenomena open to the widest possible understanding of modernity, considering early modern through contemporary eras. The symposium seeks to grapple with “global” modern art history as an emerging field—including its core methodologies and concerns, exciting possibilities, and potential pitfalls.

Clare Davies, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art—Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, Metropolitan Museum of Art

“In the Beginning, After the End: The Origins of the Modern Egyptian Art Object” 


Thomas Dacosta Kaufmann, Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

“Ranges of Response: Asian Appropriation of European Art and Culture” 


Anneka Lenssen, Assistant Professor—Global Modern Art, University of California, Berkeley

“Sight/Sensation: Global Modernism in the Arab East” 


Kavita Singh, Associate Professor—Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

“Museums and Monuments, on the Globe and in the World”


Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Harvard University



Symposium organized by the Art Department at The City College of New York, with support from the Division of Humanities & Arts, the Simon H. Rifkind Center for the Humanities, and The Martin and Toni Sosnoff President’s Fund for Excellence in the Arts.

Symposium convenor/contact: Prof. Joshua I. Cohen,

The City College of New York
Art Department
Compton-Goethals Hall, room 249
160 Convent Avenue
(enter at 140th Street and Amsterdam Avenue)
New York, NY


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