Symposium: East-West Dialogue in Art History and Visual Culture

A 15th c. copy of the Dala’il al-Khayrat from the Chester Beatty Library’s collections. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.)

On November 13th, I had the pleasure of attending a symposium in Trinity’s Long Room Hub called “East-West Dialogue in Art History and Visual Culture,” hosted by the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies. The topic (cultural mixing between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East), is a pet interest of mine, planted as an adolescent in the post 9/11 world, watered by my French studies as an undergraduate [1], and (I’m out of metaphorical verbs here)’d by an independent study on francophone literature of the Maghreb during grad school. My scholarship quickly turned to more familiar waters (i.e. Western modernism), but my interest in post-colonial North Africa was rekindled by a trip to the Chester Beatty Library in March 2013. I saw amongst its collection of beautiful medieval manuscripts a very early sharing of iconographies which I hadn’t realized existed. Although I am by no means an expert on Arabic or visual cultures, I’ve chosen to preserve what I learned during Trinity’s symposium in this blog post. If any of the above ideas float your boat, read on. I’ll organize my thoughts by paper title/presenter.

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Stick with what you know, kid.

My motivation

Like most of my classmates, I am not pursuing a master’s in Digital Humanities because I’m already an expert on the topic.1  I came to Trinity with the intention of learning a thing or two, discovering my compelling and totally marketable idea, and cultivating a career (ac? alt-ac?? who knows?) in the field.  One piece of prior knowledge I bring to the table is that DH scholars do not just teach, research, and publish like your average humanities professor.  No, DH scholars know which side their bread is buttered on.2  An important activity for this breed of academic is branding, and your blog helps you promote your brand.

toast which says "tastes like funding" on it

The photo used in this sophisticated info-graphic is in the public domain, because I’m a professional. (Thanks, Wikimedia Commons!)

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