Decolonial theory developed in the early 1990s as a renewed theoretical framework associated to critical theory that focuses on the concept of coloniality, a term that encompasses the expansion of colonial domination and its effects today. Scholars who have primarily written on and contributed to the development of the theory were and continue to be social scientists such as Aníbal Quijano and thinkers such as Walter Mignolo, as well as anthropologists and scholars of literature, philosophy, religion, and languages. Recently, art historians have explicitly drawn decolonial theory more directly into their work including Ananda Cohen-Aponte’s 2017 award-winning chapter “Decolonizing the Global Renaissance: A View from the Andes” in which she outlines a decolonial model of early modern art history, and Paul Niell’s preface to the 2018 exhibition catalogue “Decolonizing Refinement: Contemporary Pursuits in the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié” in which he outlines a curatorial approach to decolonialism.
This panel invites art historians of the early modern period to continue the conversation opened by Cohen-Aponte and Niell on decolonial models in art history. We seek to explore on a global scale how decolonial theory shapes our work, and in turn, what we can contribute to the theory. What is the applicability of this theoretical framework to art history of the early modern period? What are its blind spots? How do ideas and terms such as hybridity, mestizaje, and syncretism fold into or contrast against decolonial theory? We encourage papers that focus on historiographical, curatorial, and/or art historical ideas and questions.
Discussant: Ananda Cohen-Aponte