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Bénédicte Savoy, our next scholar-in-residence, will join us in-person from Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 15. She will meet with students and faculty, visit a course, and present an informal seminar to the BGC community, in addition to presenting at the Seminar in Epistemologies of Material Culture.

Dr. Bénédicte Savoy was born in Paris in 1972. Since 2009, she has been professor of modern art history at the Institute of Art Studies and Historical Urban Studies at the Technische Universität Berlin. In 2016, she was awarded the Leibniz Prize by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Savoy is a member of the Berlin-​Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German Academy for Language and Literature. In 2016, she was appointed professor at the Collège de France in Paris.


Classroom Visit

Monday, April 11, 9:30 am–12 pm
38 West 86th Street, 310 Object Lab

Bénédicte Savoy will join “What is the Object?” with Professor Peter N. Miller and Richard Tuttle.

Community Coffee Hour

Monday, April 11, 4–5 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lobby

All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend an informal gathering with Bénédicte Savoy. Light refreshments will be served.

Seminar in Epistemologies of Material Culture
“Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: History of a Postcolonial Defeat, 1965–1985”

Wednesday, April 13, 6–7:30 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

Focusing on the two decades immediately after eighteen former colonies across the African continent gained independence from France, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom, this lecture follows the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by cultural and political leaders and politicians across Africa, in the diasporas, and in Europe itself, to demand the return of art and to address the power dynamics and ideologies of racism and Western chauvinism—still prevalent in contemporary repatriation discussions—that prevented these myriad objects’ return to their countries of origin. Research in the archives clearly shows that almost every conversation we have today about the return of cultural property to Africa took place forty years ago. The return of cultural property is an integral part of larger social and political relations between European and African countries.

This talk will be accessible via Zoom in addition to being held in-person at 38 West 86th Street.  

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Brown Bag Lunch
“Out of Africa: How European Museums Acquired African Art, 1880–1930”

Thursday, April 14, 12:15–1:15 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

When European colonization began in Africa in the last third of the nineteenth-century, the era of universal museums also began in Europe. However, these were not accidental concomitants. Many museums profited from colonization; many even supported it. At the same time, new technologies developed (railways, steamships) that enabled the mass transport of goods, including cultural artifacts. In the course of military expeditions, scientific campaigns, and missionary projects, various actors (adventurers, soldiers, scientists, missionaries, traders, diplomats, etc.) collected large quantities of objects that ended up in the museums of Europe or in private collections and the art trade. This continued until the 1960s, when many African countries gained their independence. This seminar will look at the appropriation methods of European museums in the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, as well as the consequences until today.

This talk is only open to the BGC community and will be accessible via Zoom in addition to being held in-person at 38 West 86th Street.  

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Upcoming 2021-22 Residencies

Monday, April 18 to Friday, April 22, 2022: Carlo Ginzburg 

Monday, May 2 to Friday, May 6, 2022: Shamil Jeppie