Global Modernities? A public lecture series

Apr 22, 24

A public lecture series Global Modernities? is organized by Kunst und Gesellschaft Fachgebiet University of Kassel and documenta Institute.

Concept and moderation: Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez, Dr. Charlotte Bank, Lada Nakonechna


Lecturers: Christian Kravagna, Wendy Shaw, Katrin Nahidi, Elize Mazadiego, Maristella Svampa, Silvia Naef, George Arbid, Magdalena Moskalewicz.
The lectures take place on Mondays from 6-8pm at the Museum Fridericianum (Seitenflügel), Kassel.
Full program is here

Since the turn of the century and the so-called “global turn” in cultural history, the notion of modernity as a purely Western phenomenon has been widely critiqued and the importance of re-thinking modernity as global and interconnected stressed by numerous authors. This has included debates about appropriate terminology.[1] Whether we chose to talk about “other”, “global”, “multiple”, “alternative” or “non-Western” modernities, the need to redefine this phenomenon that has left no region untouched and studying its historical connections to colonialism and imperialism remains as important as ever. In the field of art history more specifically, this has led to numerous research projects and publications that have centered on artistic production outside the art centres of the West, while still keeping the interdependent nature of the international and global art scene and market in mind. As Piotr Piotrowski has argued, art history must be horizontal and open to all peripheries as well as to the former centres.[2] This approach is discerned in the work of numerous art historians, who have examined the rise of local artistic movements and theoretical approaches of locations outside of the Western centres, as well as educational endeavours, with each study adding to our understanding of the history of modern art as a rich and diverse global field of scholarship.

With this lecture series, we will examine art historiography as part of global modernization processes and invite scholars focusing on different regions in the Global South and Eastern Europe whose work is and has been seminal to these debates in order to discuss how notions of modernity were shaping art practices throughout the twentieth century.

[1] E.g. Appadurai, A., Modernity at Large, Cultural Dimension of Globalization, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010 (1996); Chakrabarty, D., Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000; Gaonkar, D. P. (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Durham & London, Duke University Press, 2001; Mitchell, T. (ed.), Questions of Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

[2] Piotrowski, Piotr: In the Shadow of Yalta. Art and the Avant-garde in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989, trans. Anna Brzyski, London: Reaktion Books, 2009