History of Art and Architecture

Erin Peters Colloquium

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 12:00pm

Room 202, Frick Fine Arts Building

“Connected Context: Beyond Cultural Encounters, Entanglement, and Transmission at Augustan Karnak”

Erin Peters will practice her conference paper to be delivered at the Annual Conference of the Association for Art History hosted by the Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College London in April. Peters’s paper is part a session that aims to rewrite the histories of ancient Mediterranean objects and monuments that have languished in disciplinary interstices by transcending limiting ethno-cultural categories and national archaeological traditions.

Peters acknowledges that while scholarly contributions towards hybridity, connectivity, entanglement, and network theory have launched vibrant studies of connections in the ancient world, they are largely tied to cultural interchanges centered on people in relation to objects/things. Through an exploration of Augustan Karnak, she adds dimension beyond cultural transmission by employing spatial analysis to recognize cultural products as parts of larger functioning environments that include many active units of experience and meaning. 

Looking toward functioning environments, Peters approaches Augustan Karnak as connected context, an assemblage of forms and materials traditionally categorized as “Egyptian” and “Roman,” along with sensuous and ephemeral units of meaning like light, time, memory, performance, and space. The paper focuses on space as an interactive unit of meaning, and demonstrates divisions drawn in container-driven modes of scholarship become less clear when studying human engagement and use of the built environment through the roles of accessibility, movement, and visibility.

Image info: Reconstruction of first pylon and imperial cult chapel at Augustan Karnak, Lauffray 1970, fig. 5