Challenging Empire Symposium Announces Speakers, Schedule

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Challenging Empire: Women, Art, and the Global Early Modern World symposium will be held March 1-2, 2024. Please check back on this page for updates.

  • Symposium title: “Challenging Empire: Women, Art, and the Global Early Modern World”
  • Conference dates: March 1 – 2, 2024
  • Venues: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama

The symposium “Challenging Empire: Women, Art, and the Global Early Modern World,” part of the project Global Makers: Women Artists in the Early Modern Courts of Europe and Asia, is intended to extend and expand knowledge of cultural production by and for early modern women – particularly those associated with the courts – on a global scale. While numerous conferences, symposia and resulting publications in the past several decades have addressed women as producers, consumers and subjects of European art during the early modern period (c. 1400-1750), less consideration has been given to women’s roles in the courts – particularly as informed by the steadily increasing cross-cultural interactions (i.e. between Europe and Asia, the Americas, Africa, etc.) that characterized the period. This symposium aims to address this lacuna while de-centering the traditional Euro-centric model of study in the analysis of women’s cultural production, presentation and consumption surrounding courts and empires (institutions associated with ruling power). The goal is to encourage a more equitable view of early modern women’s experiences of and with art globally, across traditionally held national and continental boundaries.

Click here to register for the symposium.


All times are in Central Standard Time (CST)

Friday, March 1, 2024

Camellia Room, Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama

8:00-9:00 AM Registration and coffee

9:00-9:15 AM Welcome remarks

9:15-10:30 AM Keynote lecture

Dr. Noelia Garcia Perez, University of Murcia via Zoom
Cross-cultural Interactions and Female Networks in the Habsburg Courts

10:45 AM-12:00 noon Session 1

Dr. Saskia Beranek, Illinois State University
For Prestige or Profit? Japanese Lacquerware at the Dutch Court (1635-1655)

Dr. Michelle Moseley, Virginia Tech
The World Within Reach: Eighteenth-Century Pronk Dutch Dollhouses and the Domestic as Laboratory for Global Collecting

Dahi Jung, University of Zurich
The Legacy of Mary Delany (1700–1788) and Its Curious Connection to China

12:00 AM-1:15 PM Lunch

1:15-2:30 PM Session 2

Emma Lazerson, Case Western Reserve University
“Two Marvels at Once”: Lavinia Fontana’s Portrait of Antoinetta Gonzales in Global Context

Dr. Beata Niedzialkowska, University of North Carolina Pembroke
The Queens of Cracow: Cross-Cultural Interactions and the Art

Dana Hogan, Duke University
Representational Agency in Giovanna Garzoni’s Portrait of Ṣägga Krəstos

2:45-4:00 PM Session 3

Dehlia Mitchell-Gray, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Cumbrous and Clumsy, Sharp and Bright: The Making, Use, and Import of Needles in Nineteenth-Century China

Dr. Elizabeth E. Tavares, The University of Alabama
“Unnatural Ornaments”: Women Rope-dancers on Shakespeare’s Stages

Dr. Alison J. Miller, University of the South (Sewanee)
Antiquarian Innovations: Japanese Empress Funerals and the Establishment of a Public Monarchy

4:00-4:30 PM Coffee break

4:30-5:45 PM Invited lecture

Dr. Mika Natif, The George Washington University
Nadira Banu and Women Artists at the Mughal Courts

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Steiner Auditorium, Birmingham Museum of Art

10:20-10:30 Welcome remarks from BAM

10:30-11:30 AM Invited lecture

Dr. Leah R. Clark, University of Oxford
The Peregrinations of Porcelain and a Female Collector: The Case of Eleonora d’Aragona, Duchess of Ferrara

11:45 AM-1:00 PM Session 4

Dr. Caterina Agostini, Daniela Rovida, University of Notre Dame
Women’s Contributions in Early Modern Italy: Exploring Cultural Production in Art and Printing

Dr. Theresa Kutasz Christensen, Independent Scholar
Mapping Women

Dr. Tanja L. Jones, Dr. Doris Sung, Rebecca Teague, The University of Alabama
Global Makers

1:00-2:15 PM Lunch

2:15-3:30 PM Keynote lecture

Dr. Hui-Shu Lee, UCLA
Embodying Yin: The Agency and Creativity of Chinese Women in Art

3:30-4:00 PM Closing remarks and round table


Sponsors & Organizers

The symposium is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Birmingham Museum of Art, The University of Alabama: Office for Research and Economic Development, Hudson Strode Program, Medieval and Early Modern European Studies, Asian Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, and Alabama Digital Humanities Center.

Organizers are associate professor of art history Dr. Tanja L. Jones, assistant professor of art history Dr. Doris Sung, and instructor and alumna Rebecca Teague (PhD student, UC Riverside; MA art history, The University of Alabama, 2019).