Art History, Postcolonialism, and the Global Turn Conference

Art History, Postcolonialism, and the Global Turn is a three-day conference (Sep. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23), that brings together international art historians to discuss whether, or to what degree, postcolonial discourses stand to be recuperated and revised in 21st-century art history, architectural history, visual studies, and art criticism. In cases where political alliances have frayed and nascent national governments foundered, radical politics have sometimes given way to disillusionment, while transnationalism, hybridity, and self-fashioning settle in as new norms. For some in the Global South, “postcolonial” may indeed appear misleading as an overall designation. Nevertheless, what could be the implications of moving past postcolonialism as we arguably celebrate a cosmopolitan world that has yet to be fully realized? With neoliberalism giving rise to what art historian Anthony Gardner has called “a resurgent focus on North Atlantic relations,” what would be the cost of letting the postcolonial slip away?

The conference also presents a film by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, entitled Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder. The screening is followed by a conversation between the director and Vazira Zamindar (Brown, History) and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (RISD, Photography).

Conference Speakers and Participants:

Alexander Alberro
Virginia Bloedel Wright ’51 Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay
Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

Jennifer Bajorek
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Visual Studies, Hampshire College

Tammer El-Sheikh
Assistant Professor of Art History, York University

Anthony Gardner
Head of School and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory. Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University
Fellow in Fine Art, Queen’s College, Oxford University

Sonal Khullar
W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Diana Martinez
Assistant Professor and Director of Architectural Studies, Tufts University

Ijlal Muzaffar
Associate Professor of Modern Architectural History, RISD

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa
Assistant Professor of Photography, RISD


The conference is organized by:

Foad Torshizi
Assistant Professor of Art History, Rhode Island School of Design

Joshua I. Cohen
Assistant Professor of Art History, The City College of New York/CUNY

Vazira F-Y Zamindar
Associate Professor of History, Brown University


The conference is sponsored by:

RISD Division of Liberal Arts, RISD MA Program in Global Arts and Cultures, RISD Associate Provost for Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI), RISD Global, Brown University Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown Arts Initiative, Brown University Art History from the South, Brown University Department of History, Brown University Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Brown University
Decolonial Collective on Migration of Objects and People

Dial-In Information

Please visit our website to register for the Zoom link and login information:

Friday, October 23, 2020 at 11:00am to 1:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type



Division of Liberal Arts, Global Arts and Cultures




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