Treading Softly: Ecocritical Approaches to Cultural History
Treading Softly: Ecocritical Approaches to Cultural History
How can we foreground the environment in new readings of artworks? And what kinds of curatorial practice might address pressing ecological concerns?
MoMA online
October 07, 2021 | 3:00 pm
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Presented by

The Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY

Event Schedule

Session One: Seeing through Time
3:00–4:30 p.m.

Peter Galison
Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics, Harvard University.

A multidisciplinary thinker, Galison was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (1997). Galison is also a socially-committed filmmaker: his works include Containment (2015), which—in a long tradition of manifestos by concerned scientists—addresses the urgent need to safeguard radioactive materials millennia into the future.

Sugata Ray
Associate professor of art history, University of California, Berkeley

Trained as both an historian and an art historian, Ray’s research and writing explores climate change and early modern and colonial artistic cultures. His book, Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850 (2019), focuses on the act of seeing the natural environment in creative practices. His co-edited collection, Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art (2020), looks at the relation between ecological art and global art history.

Session Two: Material Expressions
5:00–6:30 p.m.

Carolyn Dean
Distinguished Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture,University of California, Santa Cruz

Dean’s work explores the expressive cultures of native Andeans of South America in the early modern and colonial period. Her book, A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock (2010), helps frame distinctive Inkan worldviews in their visual and material manifestations. A Culture of Stone explores how certain stones took on lives of their own and played a vital role in the unfolding of Inka history.

Elizabeth Povinelli
Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Columbia University

At Columbia, Povinelli has led the Institute for Research, Women and Sexuality and the Center for Law and Culture. Across a series of five books, including Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism (2016), she has mapped a critical account of late settler colonialism. In 2012, under the auspices of the Karrabing Film Collective, Povinelli and Indigenous colleagues in North Australia, began to make short films as a method of self-organization, analysis, and alternate imaginings. Povinelli has directed three of Karrabing’s films.

Image: The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Galaxy M87 (2019) / courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art