Carleton’s Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture (ICSLAC) has announced the appointment of Dr. Birgit Hopfener as the inaugural holder of the Ruth and Mark Phillips Professorship in Cultural Mediations (RMPP) for 2021-2023.
This new position is intended to provide an ICSLAC faculty member with the opportunity to shape a doctoral seminar and year-long program of intellectual engagement around their ongoing interdisciplinary research.
Hopfener is an art historian of contemporary art and theory in a global framework. Her research and teaching are situated in the field of critical global art history with regional expertise in Chinese art.
“In my work, I take the questions “what shapes contemporary art in a global framework?” and “what other genealogies of art constitute contemporary art?” as the starting point to examine what multiple and transculturally entangled historiographies and epistemologies constitute art, and are operative through art’s various agents, institutions and concepts,” she says.
“I am particularly interested in how certain concepts of time and temporal assumptions (temporal regimes and historiographical models) generate and govern worlds, shape art, knowledges, subjects and disciplines respectively. Taking the current temporal and historical consciousness as a starting point I am interested in critically examining how the modern Western temporal regime has been governing, narrating, ordering and conceptualizing the world according to colonial and imperial Eurocentric power structures producing social, political and epistemological inequalities and hierarchies. I analyze how concepts of being, knowledge, art and culture in cultural studies and more broadly in the humanities have been constituted and institutionalized by linear models of time.”
The seminar and program of research engagement that she conceptualized for her RMPP tenure relate to these research interests. "The temporal diversity of our time. Pluralizing time and unlearning the modern Western temporal regime" is an invitation to ICSLAC students, faculty and other colleagues and friends to explore how scholarly writing, art and cultural artifacts engage with the temporal heterogeneity of our time, its socio-political, geo-political and historical conditions and in the multiplicity of temporal assumptions that shape us, art and knowledges.
The affiliated graduate seminar will be offered in the fall of 2021, with more information to follow around the program of events enhancing the seminar throughout the 2021-22 academic year and beyond.
“Ever since my arrival at Carleton University in 2017, ICSLAC has been my much appreciated intellectual home and I am excited to help make it a lively place, and to looking and thinking together with students and colleagues from Carleton University and beyond on issues related to art and temporality in the global framework,” says Hopfener
“For winter 2021 I am currently planning a workshop that will bring together international scholars engaging in a multi-temporal pluriverse of art by decolonizing universalized historiographic and temporal frameworks.”
The Professorship in Cultural Mediations is named in honour of Professors Emeriti Ruth Phillips and Mark Phillips, two long-time ICSLAC faculty members whose lasting contributions shaped the Cultural Mediations program as a haven for innovative doctoral research that challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries.
“Ruth and Mark have been driving forces behind ICSLAC and its interdisciplinary mission. Through their ground-breaking teaching and graduate supervision, they have truly been instrumental in shaping the Cultural Mediations program over the past two decades” says Professor Pascal Gin, current ICSLAC Director.
Gin points out that there could not be a more fitting time to celebrate their intellectual legacy, with 2021-2022 marking the Institute’s 20th anniversary.
“The Professorship stands as a unique opportunity to create real and meaningful synergies between faculty research and graduate programming,” says Gin.
In addition to the seminar and program of activities, several Cultural Mediations students will also gain valuable experience as research assistants involved with the Professorship, further benefitting from Professor Hopfener’s extensive international network.
Gin was thrilled about Hopfener’s enthusiastic candidacy and subsequent appointment.
“The wide-scoped yet rigorous transnational perspective Birgit brings to bear on her scholarship as an art historian directly speaks to the sort of horizon-expanding comparativism at the very heart of ICSLAC and the Cultural Mediations doctoral program,” says Gin.
For her part, Hopfener sees her work as fundamentally informed by the critical awareness that universalized modern Western perspectives and unilinear narratives are too limited to grasp the complex knowledge and power structures of today’s (art) world.
True to ICSLAC’s innovative interdisciplinarity, The Temporal Diversity of our Time will engage with and bring together a wide range of fields and research interests, spanning new times studies and critical global (art) history, ecocriticism and affect studies, among others.
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