The course will explore the issue of how one sees and understands the art of a culture other than one’s own. It will analyze the relationship between the cultural contexts of viewer and object, the nature of cross-cultural encounter and trans-regional exchange, and the diverse ways in which art is understood as the materialization of modes of experience and communication. In short, this course focuses on the artistic practices of encounter between Asia and the West, with special attention to how cultural categories such as “East” and “West” are formed in our global society.
Through text, exhibition, research, and discussion, the seminar will pursue a detailed study of the history of works of art from a variety of instances of exchange between Asia and the West. In particular, the course will be concerned with assessing the manner in which our own cultural perceptions and scholarly disciplines inform and limit understanding of the art of Asia both today and in the past. Weekly sessions will include visits to spaces of art display, both in museums and in our vernacular surroundings.
Ellen Huang, Ph.d. is a Kiriyama Postdoctoral Fellow at USF’s Center for the Pacific Rim. Her intellectual journey has moved from undergraduate study in the sciences to intellectual history of perception to art history. Prior to USF, she conducted postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley, where she also taught for the history of art department. In addition to having taught at East China Normal University (Shanghai), she has curating experience and enjoys looking at shards during field research at archaeological sites in China and elsewhere. Her research and teaching span Asian art history, history of technology, and the material cultures of antiquity through modern period.