Shu-mei Shih Visits the UW to Deliver Katz Lecture

Noted scholar Shu-mei Shih visits the UW in November to deliver a Katz Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities. Her talk is also the keynote address for the international conference New Geographies of Feminist Art: China, Asia, and the World.

New Geographies of Feminist Art reconsiders the practice, circulation, and cross-cultural significance of feminist art from Asia. This conference, which takes place at the UW November 15-17, reorients scholarly discussion from Western to nonwestern art world centers such as Beijing and Delhi, Taipei and Tokyo, Hong Kong and Hanoi, Seoul and Shanghai, Guangzhou and Jakarta, by examining the role of women artists, the history and future of feminism, and the visual representation of gender and sexuality. Conference panels and roundtables are organized around six interlocking themes—the city and the country; art markets and art worlds; sites and structures—to rethink dominant narratives of feminist art.

Shih is professor of Asian Languages & Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also co-directs the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Humanities. She is the author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937 (2001) and Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific (2007). She edited the special issue of PMLA entitled “Comparative Racialization” (2008), and is the co-editor of Minor Transnationalism (2005), The Creolization of Theory (2011), and Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (2013).

According to Shih, historians and literary scholars have struggled with the ideas of world history and world literature, but their efforts have largely run parallel with each other. Taking cue from discussions of world history and world literature, how might we conceive of world art and the place of Asian feminist art within it? What new geographies are possible when we consider Asian feminist art on the world scale?

She explores these questions in her lecture, titled “From World History to World Art: Reflections on New Geographies of Feminist Art in Asia.” It takes place in Kane 220 on Thursday, November 15, at 6:00pm.

While at the UW, Shih will also take part in a colloquium titled “Racializing Area Studies, Fetishizing China” on Wednesday, November 14, 3:30-5:30 pm in Communications 202. Participants are encouraged to reading Shih’s article “The Concept of the Sinophone” prior to attending. Read more about the colloquium, and download a copy of the article.

A microseminar for graduate students, “Transnationalism, Visuality, and Identity,” is being held Fall Quarter in conjunction with Shih’s visit. Facilitated by Edward Mack (Asian Languages & Literature), the course provides a focused study of Shih’s approach to transnational cultural studies.

The Katz Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities Series recognizes scholars in the humanities and emphasizes the role of the humanities in liberal education. All Katz Lectures are free and open to the public. The series is named after Solomon Katz, who served in many capacities for 53 years at the UW—as professor and chair of History, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and provost & vice president for Academic Affairs. Other lecturers for 2012-13 include Victoria Lawson (Geography, University of Washington), Cathy Davidson (Interdisciplinary Studies and English, Duke University), and Josiah Ober (Political Science, Classics, and Philosophy, Stanford University).