Finbarr B. Flood, a 2014 Iris Foundation Awardee for Outstanding Scholarship in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, will be coming to speak on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 5:30pm. His talk is entitled “Twelfth-Century Architecture as Incipient Globalism: Egypt, India, and Medieval Ethiopia.”

In an article on globalism and globalization published in 2002, the political scientist Joseph Nye argued that, “Globalism, at its core, seeks to describe and explain nothing more than a world which is characterized by networks of connections that span multi-continental distances.” Acknowledging the antiquity and plurality of such networks, Nye’s characterization offers a way of moving beyond histories of circulation that are effectively histories of Europe and its inevitable rise. As a case study, Flood’s lecture presents evidence from Ethiopia attesting to the mobility of artifacts, architectural elements, and techniques of construction over extraordinary distances during the twelfth century. This material highlights circulations between Ethiopia, the Islamic world and southern India that are otherwise undocumented epigraphically or textually, challenging established understandings of pre-modern cultural geographies. Some of the relevant artifacts may be flotsam from the world of circulation around the Indian Ocean littoral so vividly captured in the Indian letters of Jewish merchants preserved in the Cairo Geniza, opening a window onto histories of people and things in motion that continue to resonate even in our own era of globalization.

Finbarr B. Flood is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities at the Institute of Fine Arts and in the Department of Art History at New York University. He received his BA in Classics and Mental and Moral Science at Trinity College, Dublin, and his PhD in Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh. Flood has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a guest scholarship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (2011), a Carnegie Foundation Scholarship (2007-2008), a Getty Scholarship at the Getty Research Institute (2007), a residential fellowship at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (2006), and a Smithsonian Institution Senior Fellowship at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (2001-2002). His research interests include Medieval Islamic art and architecture, cross-cultural dimensions of Islamic material culture, historiography, numismatics, Orientalism, theories and practices of image-making and image-breaking, technologies of representation, critical theory, and translation theory. His publications on these topics include Globalizing Cultures: Art and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century, co-editor, Nebahat Avcioğlu (Ars Orientalis 39, 2011); Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval ‘Hindu-Muslim’ Encounter (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); and The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Umayyad Visual Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2001).

RSVP is required.

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. Registrants who arrive late may be seated in an overflow viewing area.

Please note the earlier-than-normal start-time of 5:30 pm.