UAB to host 21st annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History on March 4

South Asian art historian Susan Huntington is the keynote speaker for the symposium, hosted by the UAB Department of Art and Art History.
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The University of Alabama at Birmingham will host the 21st annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History, a one-day symposium shared with the University of Alabama, on Friday, March 4, at the UAB Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

The College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History hosts the symposium, with support from the Jemison Visiting Professorship in the Humanities and the Friends of the UAB Department of Art and Art History. Students from UAB, UA, Tulane University and Florida State University will present at the symposium. Presenting UAB students are Joan Inman, with “Rejecting Cultural Amnesia: Transforming Private Emotions into Public Knowledge in the Photographs of Chang Jin Lee’s Comfort Women,” and Amelia Hobson, with “Vote McGovern (1972): Visual Arts in a Political Era.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Susan Huntington, Ph.D., distinguished professor emeritus, The Ohio State University. Huntington will speak at 4:30 p.m. in the Hess Family Lecture Hall in the AEIVA, 1221 10th Ave. South. Her talk is titled “The Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence: Shifting Paradigms and Constructions of Knowledge in Buddhist Art.”

Huntington is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on South Asian art, and is sought-after both as a lecturer and as a guiding and visionary voice for arts organizations. Huntington has an extensive list of important publications to her credit. Her book “The Art of Ancient India” is a classic in the field and a monumental scholarly achievement. She is working on a publication tentatively titled “The Living Buddhist Image and the Relic Tradition.” This work will address — and offer a resolution to — an art history debate that has raged for nearly a century in the field of South Asian studies. It concerns the circumstances surrounding the development of the Buddha image and, particularly, the role of Greco-Roman influence in establishing a tradition of Buddha imagery. Her approach has been to look within the Buddhist tradition for an explanation of the phenomenon of the Buddha image, and she has developed a new paradigm for understanding Buddhist art. This will be a significant contribution to both art history and Buddhist studies.

In 1998, Huntington was the Numata Distinguished Visitor in Buddhist Studies at Balliol College, University of Oxford, and in 2005, she was the Mary Jane Crowe Visiting Professor of Art History at Northwestern University. She was president of the American Committee for South Asian Art for five years, has been heavily involved in the College Art Association over the last 20 years, and is a Trustee and past Board member of the American Institute of Indian Studies. Over the course of her career, Huntington has received awards and grants from such prestigious sources as the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Award program, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution.

  • March 4