Birgit Hopfener to Keynote UA-UAB Graduate Art History Symposium

Dr. Birgit Hopfener, associate professor of art history, Ruth and Mark Phillips Professor and Confucius Chair at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, will present the keynote address at the 28th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History at UA on March 31, 2023.  Dr. Hopfener will present her talk titled, “A Group Dance that Never Ends: A Pluriversal Approach to the Contemporary Art Exhibition “Continuum – Generation by Generation,” at 4:45 p.m.

The symposium, a shared production of the departments of art and art history at The University of Alabama and The University of Alabama at Birmingham, will take place in the Camellia Room of Gorgas Library on UA campus and virtually. The symposium is free to attend but registration is required.

Dr. Hopfener’s research and teaching is situated in the field of critical global art history with a regional expertise in Chinese art. She is particularly interested in how certain temporal assumptions generate and govern worlds, shape art, knowledges, subjects and disciplines respectively. In her talk Dr. Hopfener will discuss the exhibition in the Chinese pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, “Continuum – Generation by Generation (buxi 不息),” and how it mobilized the concept of buxi, which translates literally as “endlessness” or “never ceasing.” Hopfener asks what it means to conceive of art, the world, and oneself through the lens of buxi, as endlessly intrarelated? In the lecture, she will delve into this question from a multi-pronged perspective and explore how a reading of the show through buxi changes the meaning of the artworks and complicates the critical and aesthetic framework for contemporary art in the global framework.

Birgit Hopfener teaches courses on Chinese art, contemporary art in a global framework and culture theory. Her criticality has been shaped at the disciplinary interstices of art history, cultural theory, image studies (Bildwissenschaft) and Sinology, through engagements with different languages (German, English and Chinese) and different academic systems in Canada, China, Germany and Switzerland. She received her PhD and her MA from Freie Universität Berlin. Before coming to Carleton University, Hopfener taught at Freie Universität Berlin, Heidelberg Universität, Universität der Künste Berlin, Universität Zürich and Universität Duisburg-Essen. She co-initiated an international and intergenerational network of researchers working in transnational and transcultural studies at Carleton, Heidelberg University, Concordia University and the University of the Arts London, TrACE (Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange), and she is is co-director of the Centre for Transnational Analysis at Carleton.

The 28th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History is generously supported by The University of Alabama Department of Art & Art History; the College of Arts & Sciences; The Graduate School; College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee; Asian Studies; and Harrison Galleries LLC. We invite you to use the hashtag #UAUABArtHistoryGradSymposium when posting on social media about the symposium.

Find the full program and links to register on this page.

The Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History, organized by the departments of art and art history at The University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, began in 1995 and alternates campuses each year. The symposium provides MA students an opportunity to present research, critically engage with one another, and hear and be heard by eminent scholars working in the field of art history. The symposium is part of UA’s and UAB’s Joint Program for the MA in Art History. For more information, go here.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.