Roots and Routes: Medieval Art in the Global Museum
This lecture will examine the role of display in shaping our ideas about the medieval period. By looking at permanent collections alongside important recent exhibitions, we address the following questions: How do we communicate a shared Roman heritage for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity? What can ancient trade routes tell us about the interaction of different ethnic groups? Can we reveal a plurality of audiences for a single object through the display? What is the role of political agendas foreign to the medieval period in portraying a deceptive sense of uniformity for the time? It ends with new directions in curating the art of the Middle Ages, to show an audience that this distant time was always dynamically and deliberately inter-reliant with the known world.
No prior art historical knowledge is necessary.
This event is ONLINE ONLY
Risham Majeed (PhD, Columbia University) was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and grew up in Saudi Arabia and London. She specialises in medieval art in Western Europe and the historical arts of Africa. Her research has revealed the parallel reception of the two fields during the emergence of art history as a discipline. Current projects include an examination of sub-Saharan Africa in conversation with Europe during the medieval period, which also seeks to re-examine what the term “medieval” might mean when extended to other parts of the world. Majeed has taught courses on the history of museums, the political complexities of non-western arts in western museums, and medieval art from a global perspective. She has curated two exhibitions, Made to Move: African Nomadic Design and Get Real: Seeking Authenticity in African Art, with her students at Ithaca College. Her most recent publications are a review essay on the exhibitions “Caravans of Gold and Sahel” in the Art Bulletin (March 2021); “Against Primitivism: Meyer Schapiro’s Early Writings on African and Medieval Art”, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 71/72 (2019), pp. 295–311; and “Just Being”, Art Journal Open (May 22, 2020). She is currently completing her book, Primitive before Primitivism: Medieval and African Art in the Nineteenth Century.