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CRITICAL POSITIONS Lecture Series featuring Professor Ruth Phillips

January 21, 2014 | 5:00pm — 6:00pm

The CU Art Museum and the Art History Program, University of Colorado at Boulder present an annual lecture series:  

Critical Positions: Perspectives on Art History, Curatorial Practice, and Art Criticism  

Ruth Phillips, Canada Research Chair and Professor of Art History at Carleton University, will give a presentation entitled "Monstrances and Wampums: Jesuits, Iroquois and Materializations of the Spiritual in Seventeenth- Century America." The lecture will take place Tuesday, January 21 in the British Studies Room of Norlin Library at 5 pm with coffee and tea provided before and after the lecture.  

This lecture will explore the efforts of Jesuit missionaries and Hodenosaunee (Iroquois) to communicate competing concepts of spiritual and aesthetic power through ritual displays and performances that featured items of supreme value and beauty-- dazzling golden receptacles held aloft during the Catholic mass and gleaming belts of purple and white shell beads displayed by Indigenous orators to make the most important of their spoken words 'real.'  

Speaker Profile: Ruth Phillips holds a Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture and is Professor of Art History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Phillips received her PhD in African Art from the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London. Her subsequent research has focused on the indigenous arts of North America and critical museology. Between 1997 and 2003 she was director of the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, and between 2004 and 2008 she served as director of CIHA, the UNESCO sponsored international association of art historians.  

Her books include Representing Woman: Sande Society Masks of the Mende of Sierra Leone (1995); Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1700-1900 (1998); and Native North American Art, co-written for the Oxford History of Art with Janet Catherine Berlo (1998). Her most recent book, Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums (2011), was nominated for the Donner Prize in Canadian Public Policy and won the 2011 Ottawa Book Award in non-fiction. Her edited volumes include Unpacking Culture: Arts and Commodities in Colonial and Post-Colonial Worlds (1999), co-edited with Christopher B. Steiner; and Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Museums and Material Culture (2006), co-edited with Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Gosden. She has been awarded research grants and fellowships from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada, the Clark Art Institute, the Getty Research Foundation, and the British Academy. She held the Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at the University of Cambridge in 2009 and the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard University in 2009-10. In 2010, Phillips was awarded the Premier's Discovery Award in Arts and Humanities by the Province of Ontario. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.