Rethinking Pedagogies: An ‘Intellectual Space’ for (Un-)Learning Art History

Follow-up event of Lessons Learned? Transcultural Perspectives in Curating and Pedagogies. with keynote Lecture by Prof. Claire Farago.

Organisers: The Heidelberg team of Worlding Public Cultures: the Arts and Social Innovation (WPC) in cooperation with the Institute of European Art History of Heidelberg University

Chair: Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja (Chair of Global Art History, Heidelberg Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, HCTS)

Date: Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 16:00-18:00 CET

Venue: Online event via Zoom (registration required)

While the ‘lessons learned’ from exhibitions and curating have received abundant attention in recent times, the importance of rethinking modes of pedagogy in art history merit further reflection. What are the tools at our disposal for teaching transcultural, de/postcolonial and non-hierarchical art histories? How can the discipline respond to contemporary crises triggered by neo-liberal economics, war and climate change? This interactive workshop is conceived as an ‘intellectual space’ in conjunction with the international Academy, Lessons Learned? Transcultural Perspectives on Curating and Pedagogies (14-16 July 2022). This is organised by the Heidelberg University team of WPC in collaboration with the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD) around the question of how transcultural theoretical perspectives can be informed by case studies from curatorial and collecting practices. For more information, please visit:

Following on from this, Lessons Learned? (Part 2) takes the form of a guest lecture and workshop, which looks more specifically to the role of teaching. How can scholars of art history, transcultural studies, museums studies and other neighboring disciplines provide more ‘worlded’ perspectives? Most importantly, what new modes of critical pedagogy can be developed to serve as impulses for

(un-)learning the complexities of imperial, colonial, modernist, universalist, and Eurocentric underpinnings of our methodology, institutional hierarchies and ways of knowing?

The opening lecture “Taking a Creative Commons Approach to World Art Studies” (see abstract below) by the distinguished Prof. Emerita Claire Farago (University of Colorado Boulder) will provide an entry point into these issues. It will address questions of how history and canon-making can be ‘worlded’, and what challenges this presents, Prof. Farago’s talk will be followed by two short responses by Prof. Birgit Hopfener (Carleton University, Ottawa / WPC) and Prof. Henry Keazor (Institute for European Art History, Heidelberg University). Following Professor Farago’s call to “imagine art history otherwise”, colleagues will be encouraged to share examples and experiences from their different contexts. The discussion, moderated by Prof. Monica Juneja, Chair of Global Art History, will address different approaches to teaching and the entanglement of institutional, cultural, historical, political, and theoretical concerns within art history.

This event is open to all with prior registration required. To register, please contact Madeleine Eppel (, who will provide access information to the virtual event on Zoom.



Welcoming Remarks

Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja (Chair of Global Art History / WPC Heidelberg)



Guest Lecture  “Taking a Creative Commons Approach to World Art Studies”

Professor Emerita Claire Farago (University of Colorado Boulder)




Prof. Dr. Birgit Hopfener (Carleton University, Ottawa / WPC)

Prof. Dr. Henry Keazor (Institute of European Art History, Heidelberg)



Q&A and Open Discussion

Chaired by Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja


Lecture Abstract

Taking a Creative Commons Approach to World Art Studies

Art, most broadly defined as anything of human manufacture, has a history that takes place within concrete institutional frameworks; it influences how we think of ourselves, what we desire and, most of all, what we understand the world around us to be. In essence, everything that makes up our world is mediated by art: the worlds that humans manufacture mediate our human experience of the world. Developing tools for talking about art and the experience of it, however “it” is defined, is thus an important part of becoming responsible citizens in society. This is ever more the case in our virtual world of human contact through electronic media. In recent years, decolonial efforts have studied complex global networks of cultural exchange, considering many vectors and using pluralistic approaches to writing history. Changing the structure of a field, however, is even more difficult than contributing new studies that leave the structure intact. Why should anyone bother?

Climate disruption/crisis/emergency is an existential threat facing the entire planet. At the same time, populism and authoritarianism are surging—brutal proof of the lethal effects that an ideology of cultural superiority has assumed in the twenty-first century. We individually have the responsibility and possibly the power to change this if we work together. As hegemonies and their terrorisms evolve, so too must efforts to mitigate the ecological and humanitarian disaster we have inherited on planet Earth. At the centre of theoretical efforts across a wide span of methodologies, subjects, and scales of research for the past quarter century has been the question of whether a global art history inevitably follows the logic of economic globalization, or whether (paraphrasing Monica Juneja (1)) it can provide an alternative conception to effectively theorize relationships of connectivity that encompass disparities as well as contradictions and negotiate the multiple subjectivities of the actors involved? My presentation proposes for discussion a rethinking of art history in the form of an intra-disciplinary collaborative project by conceiving a history of planetary culture that all living creatures and their environments share: a new wing added to the existing sprawling house, capacious enough to embrace archaeologists, anthropologists, musicologists, scientists, philosophers—in short, all who study cultural artifacts.

(1) Monica Juneja, ‘ “A very civil idea...”: Art History, Transculturation, and World-Making - With and Beyond the Nation’, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 81 (2018), pp. 461-486.


About the Guest Lecturer

Claire Farago is Professor Emerita at the University of Colorado Boulder and currently lives in Los Angeles. She has published widely on art theory and historiography, cultural exchange, the materiality of the sacred, the history of style, museums and collecting practices, and is a specialist on the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci. Her anthology, Reframing the Renaissance (1995) is widely recognized as a groundbreaking contribution to art history. Grasping the World: The Idea of the Museum (2006), co-edited with Donald Preziosi, provides an institutional critique of museums at large, investigating the complexities of the relationships of individual practitioners to structures of power that intended to engage readers with the ethics of practice. She is currently working on a book for a broad audience, provisionally titled Writing Borderless Histories of Art: Cultural Memory in the Era of Climate Crisis, forthcoming from Routledge in 2023. In her guest lecture she will address key aspects of this project following up on earlier art historiographical concerns as expressed in the article “Imagining art history otherwise” in Global and World Art in the Practice of the University Museum, ed. by Jane Chin Davidson et al. (2018).


About the Respondents

Henry Keazor is Professor for Early Modern and Contemporary Art History at the Heidelberg University. His research focuses on the art of the Early Modern period, particularly the Italian and French late Renaissance and Baroque. He has published widely on the painter Nicolas Poussin, as well as the painting reformations achieved at the turn of the 16th to the 17th centuries by the members of the Carracci family, and the Cinquecento illustrations of the “discovery” of America by the publisher and engraver Theodor de Bry. He is currently developing research on contemporary art and architecture with a specific focus on the contemporary French architect, Jean Nouvel, and art forgery. Another important strand of his publications is the reception of art in media such as film and music videos. His most recent publication on the topic is “Raffaels ‘Schule von Athen’: Von der Philosophenschule zur Hall of Fame”, or “Raphael's ‘School of Athens’: From the Philosophers' Academy to the Hall of Fame” (2021).

Birgit Hopfener is Associate Professor of Art History and current holder of the Ruth and Mark Phillips professorship at Carleton University. She situates herself in the fields of critical global art history and Chinese art history. Her present research centers around multiple and entangled temporal assumptions (historiographical models, their respective concepts of time and temporality) that constitute and frame our world, its art, subjects, and knowledges. With the aim to shed light on the transcultural historicity of contemporary art, its structures and experiences of time from a specific locale, her current book project focuses on art historiographic works by contemporary Chinese artists. She authored the book Transkulturelle Reflexionsräume einer Genealogie des Performativen: Bedingungen und Artikulationen kultureller Differenz in der chinesische Installationkunst (2013) and co-edited the volumes Negotiating Difference: Chinese Contemporary Art in the Global Context (2012) and Situating Global Art. Topologies – Temporalities - Trajectories (2018). She is a founding member of TrACE, and serves on the editorial boards of Art Journal and 21: Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual.


Worlding Public Cultures: the Arts and Social Innovation is a collaborative research project and transnational platform conceived by the international consortium Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) and funded by a Social Innovation Grant from the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities and (for the German part) the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF/ DLR: 01UG2026). The project draws upon the concept of “‘worlding’, which understands the global as actively co-produced from multiple and complex locales, in contrast to dominant discourses rooted in a notion of the global as a passive effect of global capitalism. Going beyond current top-down models of “inclusion”, “diversity” and other representations of the “global”, the concept of worlding grounds the global within local worlds and allows entangled histories to emerge, opening pathways to decolonize universalizing Western narratives and epistemologies.


Cover image: Mark Justiniani, Well, 2018. On display at the Children's Biennale, Japanisches Palais, Dresden. Image courtesy of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo: Oliver Killig.