History of Art Graduate Department of Art

Meet Our Postdoctoral Fellows: Julia Lum

Friday, February 15, 2019

 Julia Lum

SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

I came to the University of Toronto after completing my PhD in art history at Yale University. Before that, I did a master’s degree in art history at Carleton University.

Many things attracted me to the University of Toronto: its faculty, its world-class library and museum collections and its opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement. I wanted to work with Mark Cheetham, whose scholarship on landscape, eco art and art theory advances urgent sets of issues that connect across periods and traditions.

My own research about the art of eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain, cross-cultural exchange and landscape art has shifted since I began postdoctoral research. My new project looks at the photographs and landscape views made by British and American surveyors who marked the 49th parallel North American border between Lake of the Woods and the Pacific Coast from 1857 to 1876.

The question of how Canada and the United States took shape, and what other kinds of knowledge and cultural practices were adopted or suppressed in the process of making the line, is something that I’m particularly poised to think about in Toronto. Not only are there photographs and papers at the Archives of Ontario, but the original reports, engravings and publications of the boundary survey are within easy reach at UofT’s magnificent Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and at Robarts Library. No less important is the strong contingent of Toronto-based Indigenous and Settler artists and scholars whose practices are reframing how we think of nations and sovereignties.

My approach to this research question is enriched by attending workshops at interdisciplinary centres such as the Jackman Humanities Institute, and by seeking expertise in fields as diverse as cultural geography, environmental studies, anthropology and Indigenous education. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with the art history and visual studies faculty, graduate students and with scholars across campus.

Ariella Minden at the KHI

Friday, February 15, 2019

In September 2018 it was announced that one of our graduate students, Ariella Minden, received a Max-Planck Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI) in Florence. We asked Ariella to reflect on her time at the KHI under the supervision of Prof. Alessandro Nova and what the next 18 months have in store for her as she continues this amazing fellowship.

As a second year PhD student in the Graduate Department of Art at the University of Toronto my desk looks exactly like what one might expect of someone who has just started to undertake a book-length study also known as my doctoral dissertation. There are books piled high, well above my head, notes scattered about with ‘brilliant ideas’ that turn into passing thoughts, and a to-do list or three written on post-it notes stuck to the frame of my computer screen. The slight difference, however, is the location of my desk, which is not in Toronto, but instead at the Kunsthitorisches Institut in Florence where I am a pre-doctoral fellow.

The Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI) is a Max Planck Society institute for art historical research, which also houses one of the largest art libraries in Europe. Having just celebrated its 150th birthday, the KHI remains a vibrant intellectual centre with hundreds of scholars making use of its resources, a regular program of lectures and seminars, and a team of pre- and post-doctoral fellows divided between two departments who carry out their own research while also taking part in larger working groups led by the directors of each department.

“What is your role in this ecosystem?” I hear you ask. I am a member of Prof. Alessandro Nova’s department where I am writing my dissertation on visual culture in Bologna during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. My project examines the ways in which artists and scholars worked in concert to generate knowledge, a conceit facilitated by the presence of the University, the oldest in Europe. During my two-year fellowship at the KHI, I am expected to give regular research-in-progress papers both at departmental meetings as well as for my pre-and post-doctoral colleagues. I presented the initial results of my research last October, speaking about three illustrated anatomical treatises published in 1521, 1522, and 1523. Focusing on the texts’ woodcuts, I discussed these books as sites of collaboration and experimentation to better understand print culture in Renaissance Bologna. Complimentary to my own research, I am part of the working group “Rinascimento Conteso”- “The Contested Renaissance.” Within this framework I take part in site visits, reading groups, and seminars where the goal is to reconsider and challenge traditional narratives of the Italian Renaissance by offering new critical methodologies or reintroducing previously neglected corpora.

I cannot overstate how fortunate I am to be part of such an intellectually vibrant community. At the KHI itself, I am surrounded by colleagues and mentors who continue to be lively interlocutors as my dissertation begins to take shape. The weekly academic programming has exposed me to a range of topics with which I had little prior familiarity. Furthermore, living in Florence has allowed for me to be immersed in the works of art that I study and am passionate about. I have had the opportunity not only to explore the artistic collections of the city itself, but to travel to other cities throughout Italy, an experience that has enriched my perspectives on certain object. This has opened up new avenues in my current project and continues to create fertile grounds for work in the future. With such a rich start to my fellowship, I look forward to what the next 18 months have in store!

Book Announcement: Maritime Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Thursday, February 14, 2019

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book edited by Professor Carl Knappett and Professor Justin Leidwanger:

Maritime Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean World brings together scholars of Mediterranean archaeology, ancient history, and complexity science to advance theoretical approaches and analytical tools for studying maritime connectivity. For the coast-hugging populations of the ancient Mediterranean, mobility and exchange depended on a distinct environment and technological parameters that created diverse challenges and opportunities, making the modeling of maritime interaction a paramount concern for understanding cultural interaction more generally. Network-inspired metaphors have long been employed in discussions of this interaction, but increasing theoretical sophistication and advances in formal network analysis now offer opportunities to refine and test the dominant paradigm of connectivity. Extending from prehistory into the Byzantine period, the case studies here reveal the potential of such network approaches. Collectively they explore the social, economic, religious, and political structures that guided Mediterranean interaction across maritime space..

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Published: November 2018
Online ISBN: 9781108555685
eBook:
Cambridge University Press
Amazon Kindle
Rakuten kobo

 

2019 Winter Reading Week

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Winter Reading Week for Faculty of Arts and Science undergraduate students takes place February 18 to 22, 2019. Not all Faculties offer reading weeks. To find out if your Faculty has a reading week, please contact them directly.

A reminder that SGS does not have a reading week and graduate courses may or may not be offered this week. Graduate students are advised to review their syllabi/contact their Professors for most up-to-date scheduling information.

The Department of History of Art / Graduate Department of Art will be open for regularly scheduled office hours during Reading Week.

Classes Cancelled – Downtown Toronto Campus (Feb 12)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Due to worsening conditions, all classes starting at 4pm or later on our Downtown Toronto campus are cancelled.

This includes all tutorials, labs, tests, meetings and other on-campus activities.

Buildings and facilities remain open.

An update will be posted Feb. 13, 2019, by 6:30 am.

For updates, including the status of campuses for tomorrow morning, please visit the Campus Status page on UofT’s homepage.

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