Visible Power - Art in National Life

Art production for public display has been a component of every historical era. This institute explored ways visual arts can be interpreted and used to teach major themes in World History. Participants explored numerous interpretations of artworks, learning how to analyze pieces as: 

  • expressions of identity,
  • tools for communicating abstract political or religious ideas,
  • means of persuasion,
  • measures of social status,
  • commodities, and
  • visual maps of change over time.

Presentation Summaries

Written by Timothy Doran and Simon Grote

Art and Power

How Do the Arts Feature in the "Big History" of Human Development?, Cynthia Brown

Paleolithic Art: Cognitive Aspects of Human Evolution, Tim Gill 

Royal Art as Political Message in Ancient Mesopotamia, Catherine Foster


Panel on Museum Studies: Politics, Preservation, and Public Education

Deborah Clearwaters' slidedeck
Marjorie Schwarzer' slidedeck

National Identities Set in Stone

Figuring Authority in Classic Maya Monuments: Men, Women, and Ancestors, Rosemary Joyce 


Qutb Minar: Religion and Power in 13th-Century India, Munis Faruqui


Martyrs' Memorials in Modern Lebanon, Lucia Volk


Empire, Religion and Shifting Identity

Orientalism in 19th-Century French Painting, Darcy Grigsby


Maintaining Ma'at: Iconography of Kingship in New Kingdom Temples, Cindy Ausec


The Map and the Territory: Political Uses of Buddhist Art in Late Imperial China, Patricia Berger


The Savior King: Buddhist Self-Representation in Angkorian Cambodia,  Ian Lowman


Contesting the Past in Contemporary Mongolian Folk Music, Peter Marsh


Migration of Ideas through Popular Arts

Panel on Political Poster Art: China, Cuba, and the U.S.

Andrew Jones' slidedeck (Chinese Poster Art)
Lincoln Cushing's slidedeck (Cuban Poster Art)

Making It: Reality Television and Middle Class Aspirations in India, Raka Ray


Indonesian Puppet Theater, Natasha Reichle