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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
August 15, 2005

Carnegie Mellon's Center for the Arts in Society Announces Arts Histories Lecture Series and Complementary Seminars

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Arts in Society announces an arts histories lecture series, "Aesthetics Out of Bounds." The lecture series will provide a framework for a new course offered at Carnegie Mellon this fall titled "Aesthetics Out of Bounds: History and Art Outside the Frame." All lectures will be open to the public and will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Philip Chosky Theatre in the Purnell Center for the Arts on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

The lecture series program brings top scholars in the arts, humanities and sciences to campus to speak on their specialty and to lead one complementary seminar of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students. In addition to attending each lecture, students will participate in a group of seminars on the topic of "arts histories."

"Each of our speakers has a reputation for thinking 'outside the box' when dealing with art and the histories of the arts, which is what will make the series truly exciting," said Michael Witmore, an associate professor of English who is teaching the fall section of the course. Melissa Ragona, professor of art, will teach the spring section.

"In creating the series, we were especially interested in people who have provided fresh perspectives on particular artistic works or movements—especially those that can't really be pigeonholed into the traditional academic disciplines," Witmore said. A list of speakers includes:

September 12, 2005—Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and composer. The recipient of several awards and grants (including the AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Film Institute and the California Arts Council), her films have shown widely in the U.S., in Canada, Senegal, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Europe and Asia (including Italy, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Japan, India, Taiwan, Jerusalem, with 24 retrospectives in the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and Hong Kong). "Reassemblage" was exhibited at The New York Film Festival (1983) and has toured the country with the Asian American Film festival, as well as other festivals.

October 10, 2005—Franklin Toker is a dedicated non-specialist, popular teacher and lecturer. A broadly based scholar who was the first non-Italian called to teach the history of art at the University of Florence, Toker has researched the Gothic Revival, the ancient cathedral of Florence (whose excavation he directed for more than a decade), and the architecture and urban history of Pittsburgh. A past president of the International Society of Architectural Historians, Toker is a professor of art and architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches urban history and the history of Medieval and American architecture. Apart from his books, Toker has published several dozen scholarly articles on topics from Roman archaeology, Gothic architectural drawings and Renaissance architectural theory, to the work of H.H. Richardson, Post-Modern architecture and American urban history.

October 24, 2005—Giuliana Bruno has lectured internationally on visual culture, including recently at the Tate Modern; the Jewish Museum, Berlin; the Dia:Chelsea; the University of Cambridge; and universities in London, Stockholm and Paris. Her international publications include a text on 9/11, nominated as one of the 12 best articles appearing in Italy in 2002. Recently, she has contributed to art and architecture books such as "Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida" (Amsterdam University Press, 2003); "Anytime" (MIT Press, 2001); "Against Architecture" (Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castello, Spain, 2000); and to an Italian book on fashion and visual landscapes.

November 14, 2005—Thomas McEvilley was Distinguished Lecturer in Art History at Rice University from 1969 until recently. This fall, he will begin as head of the MFA degree in art criticism and writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. McEvilley holds a Ph.D. in classical philology. In addition to Greek and Latin, he has studied Sanskrit and has taught numerous courses in Greek and Indian culture, history of religion and philosophy, and art. He has published countless scholarly monographs and articles in various journals on early Greek poetry, philosophy and religion as well as on contemporary art and culture. He has been a visiting professor at Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant in 1993 and has been awarded an NEA critic's grant and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism by the College Art Association.

January 23, 2006—Joseph Roach has chaired the Department of Performing Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre at Northwestern University and the Department of Performance Studies at New York University (NYU). His books and articles include "Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance" (Columbia, 1996), which won the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association (MLA), the Calloway Prize from NYU and the Distinguished Scholar Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR); "The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting" (Michigan, 1993), which won the Barnard Hewitt Award in Theatre History, and essays in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, The Drama Review, Theatre History Studies, Discourse, Theater, Text and Performance Quarterly, and others. He has served as director of graduate studies in English and chair of the Theater Studies Advisory Committee at Yale.

January 30, 2006—Colin McCabe teaches Literature in the 17th-Century and Literature and Media in the 20th Century. His research interests include: history of English since 1500, psychoanalysis, Joyce and linguistics. He is also head of research at the British Film Institute in London. McCabe is the author of "James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word," "Godard: Images, Sounds, Politics," "Tracking the Signifier" and "Diary of a Young Soul Rebel" (with Isaac Julien). He is also editor of "Signs of the Times: Introductory Readings in Textual Semiotics," "The Talking Cure: Essays in Psychoanalysis and Language," "High Theory/Low Culture," "The Linguistics of Writing," "Futures for English" and "James Joyce: New Perspectives." He is also an editor of the journal Critical Quarterly.

February 27, 2006—Tom Smart is the director of collections and exhibitions at the Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh. He has also worked as the curator and acting director for the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the curator for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. He has written several books, including "The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light" and "The Art of Fred Ross: A Timeless Humanism."

March 20, 2006—Michael Roth is president of the California College of the Arts. Formerly he was associate director of the Getty Research Institute, where he headed the Research and Education Department, which regularly mixes artists and scholars. He recently curated the centennial exhibit on Freud in the popular imagination. The Web site for the institute is

April 3, 2006—Lorraine Daston is the director of the Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin. Daston is working at the intersection of the history of science and aesthetics, having published an important book with Katharine Park called "Wonders and the Order of Nature" that tracked the scientific and aesthetic interest in "marvels" (unicorn horns, "painted stones," baroque clockwork) from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. She is an excellent and creative speaker and a very engaging, interdisciplinary conversationalist. She has also worked on the history of "attention" as an aesthetic and scientific category and, most recently, on the epistemological status of "things" and "instruments" in cultural history. Her latest Zone book: "Things that Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science" (MIT).

May 1, 2006—Katheryn Linduff has a Ph.D. in early Chinese art and archaeology. Since completing her Ph.D., she has taught at state universities, believing that excellent public education is essential to a sane America. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Chinese and Eurasian art and archaeology. Linduff's research focuses on cultural diversity in ancient society, especially on the relationship between the early Chinese and other groups who lived at her borders and who were contributors to early Chinese culture. She travels to China and Eurasia each year for research and runs a project of surveying and excavating in the northern frontier of China in southern Inner Mongolia.

The objective of the arts histories program is to connect the artistic, social, political and technological to broader historical frameworks. The Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon, in association with the University of Pittsburgh, is hosting the 2005-2006 lecture series. The Center for the Arts in Society received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to sponsor the lecture program.

Launched in 2000 with a grant from the foundation, the center is a multidisciplinary research and education center that brings together scholars who are interested in studies of culture and society, as well as the history and production of the arts. The center sponsors a regular series of events including panel discussions, faculty presentations and guest lectures. It also brings visiting scholars to campus each year, and it sponsors the university's arts in society minor. The center is a collaboration of the College of Fine Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon and is a part of the university's Humanities Initiative.

The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs. For more information on the College of Fine Arts, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or by email at


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