March Symposium Focuses on Women’s Cross-Cultural Artistic Interactions of the Early Modern Period

Art historians and organizers Dr. Tanja Jones, Dr. Doris Sung, and Rebecca Teague announce the 2024 symposium, “Challenging Empire: Women, Art, and the Global Early Modern World,” on March 1 and 2, 2024, at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, the Birmingham (AL) Museum of Art, and online.

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The symposium “Challenging Empire: Women, Art, and the Global Early Modern World” is the first international art history conference hosted on UA campus. Developed from the project Global Makers: Women Artists in the Early Modern Courts of Europe and Asia, the symposium 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.

Keynote lecturers will be Dr. Noelia Garcia Perez of University of Murcia and Dr. Hui-Shu Lee of UCLA. Invited lecturers will be Dr. Mika Natif of The George Washington University and Dr. Leah R. Clark of the University of Oxford. Twelve other leading scholars representing national and international institutions will also present their research during the two-day event.

Dr. Tanja Jones, one of the co-organizers of the symposium, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring a slate of internationally recognized scholars to the UA campus and the Birmingham Museum of Art for this groundbreaking event. The dialogues that will result promise to offer important new insights into the varied roles of early modern women in the arts on a global scale – a truly unprecedented endeavor.”

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. View the schedule and register here.

The symposium is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Birmingham Museum of Art and these programs and departments at The University of Alabama: Office for Research and Economic Development, Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, Medieval and Early Modern European Studies, Asian Studies, Alabama Digital Humanities Center, College of Arts & Sciences, department of religious studies, and department of art and art history.

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).

To find out more about The University of Alabama’s programs in graphic design, studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.