Global Art History and the Imbalance of Power

Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham,

Stacey Kennedy, Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham,

Azadeh Sarjoughian, Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham,


Only when a multiplicity of perspectives exist in dialogue can we talk of art history becoming globalised as a discipline. Our panel addresses this provocation and argues not simply for the extended coverage of global art in art-historical literature, but to decentre existing hegemonies and respond to global power imbalances with art-historical tools. Through specific case studies, the panel will bring to prominence marginalised perspectives and aesthetic approaches from beyond the Euro-American canon, which are often difficult to access even when on exhibit. Focusing on what global art history is in practice, the panel will address theoretical and methodological approaches, especially in relation to the imbalance of power expressed in the academic discipline itself.

We welcome papers which illuminate these areas of investigation, including perspectives from artists and curators as well as interdisciplinary approaches. Topics may include: methods of contemporary global art history, experimental case studies in the field, the anthropology of art, visualising identity in contemporary art, problematising current power relations, exploring mechanisms of marginalisation and inclusion, artistic activism, defining global art and art history, non-Western art and the accusation of self-exoticism, shifts within the decolonial gaze, geopolitics and gender politics of contemporary art.

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