Alessandra Russo will be coming to speak at the Seminar in Cultural History on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Her talk is entitled “Textual Threads: Crafting Ekphrasis in the Iberian Worlds (15th–17th c.).”

Alessandra Russo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, where she has been teaching since 2007. She received her PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, in 2006, and her dissertation, Triptyque novohispano. Plumes, cartes et graffiti pour une histoire métisse des arts (16e-17e siècles), was awarded the EHESS Best Dissertation Award. It later served as the basis for the exhibition Planète Metisse at the Musée du Quai Branly (2008). Russo has authored numerous articles on Iberian arts. Most recently, she jointly curated the exhibition, El vuelo de las imágenes. Arte plumario en México y Europa. 1300-1700 (Museo Nacional de Arte, México, 2011), and edited the related exhibition catalogue (forthcoming). For the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year, Russo will be a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin.

In this talk, Russo will address the challenges of writing about the arts in the context of the Iberian —Spanish and Portuguese crowns’— expansion throughout the world between the 15th and the 17th centuries. The relationship between artistic production and political expansion appears crucial in order to understand the particularities of this other kunstliteratur, written from outside the Schlosserian canon. On the other hand, the production of texts describing, in unexpected ways, the novelty of objects and images, is often contemporaneous with the production of new artifacts. Russo will therefore question in which terms we can envision the mutual impact between visual and textual creations.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required. Please click on the registration link at the bottom of this page or contact

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.