October 19, 2016 – Diane Favro Lecture

The Dangers Of Representation:
The Battle of the Xs in Digital Urban Simulations

Diane Favro
Associate Dean, School of the Arts and Architecture, UCLA

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
6:30 pm, Carpenter B21
Pre-lecture reception at 6pm in the Quita Woodward Room.

Co-sponsored by:
Mellon Curricular Development Seed Grant
Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Department
History of Art Department
Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies
Department of Italian and Italian Studies
Graduate Group in Classics, Archaeology, and History of Art
Center for Visual Culture
Tri-College Digital Humanities
Philadelphia Society of the Archaeological Institute of America

Every type of representation offers opportunities and dangers. Digital simulations of historic urban environments have been created for over 20 years, with ambitious early examples produced at UCLA. As we enter the second phase of production, scholars are increasingly interrogating the inherent representational challenges. After situating the issues at play today (X marks the spot), this talk will interrogate other Xs and their interaction. AesthetiX evaluations of most image types rely on familiar value judgments about urban viewing; those for digital urban simulations are more problematic, often involving conflicting technological and artistic proficiencies. Similarly, the equation “X = literacy” is not readily resolved in reference to digital recreated worlds where legibility centers on evolving means of user engagement. Hypothesis testing and other eXperimentation characterize current digital investigations exploiting approaches that tend to negate traditional evaluative strategies. Though overall the dangers inherent in digital representations can be destabilizing, they also foster heightened acuity and maintain eXcitement about research on the meaning, viewing, and experiencing of cities. 

Diane Favro is Associate Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, and Director of the Experiential Technologies Center. 
Diane Favro


Tri-Co Digital Humanities Spring Lecture – April 11 and 12, 2016

The Tri-Co Digital Humanities Initiative and the Bryn Mawr College Center for Visual Culture present:

Ruth Ahnert
2015-16 External Faculty Fellow
Stanford Humanities Center
and Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Studies
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London


Sebastian Ahnert
Royal Society University Research Fellow
Theory of Condensed Matter (TCM) Group
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge
and Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge

“Tudor Networks of Power: A Digital Project”

Monday, April 11, 4:30 PM
Thomas Library 224, Bryn Mawr College


Tuesday, April 12, 12:00 PM
Popular Reading Room, first floor of McCabe Library
Swarthmore College

This project seeks to reconstruct the evidence for Tudor government networks that survives in the state papers archive (now digitized at State Papers Online). By analyzing the metadata from these 132,000 letters, Ruth and Sebastian Ahnert are able both to map the social network implicated in this correspondence, and to measure the relative centrality of each of its members using a range of mathematical tools. These measures enable them to trace large-scale patterns and anomalies, and to identify significant people and bodies of letters within the network requiring closer analysis. In this paper they will discuss both the process behind this large-scale project, and their initial findings.


Phil Stinson Lecture – April 7, 2016

Dr. Phil Stinson
Associate Professor of Classics, University of Kansas

“Digs and Drones? Digital Experiments in Documenting Roman Architecture”

Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 4:30pm
Bryn Mawr College
The Ely Room
Wyndham Alumnae House

In this lecture, Phil Stinson discusses how digital photogrammetry enhanced by
drone photography is revolutionizing the way Roman architecture is documented and
researched at the sites of Aphrodisias and Sardis in western Turkey.

Free and Open to the Public

Co-sponsored by the Mellon Digital Humanities Seed Grant,
the Bryn Mawr College Growth and Structure of Cities Department,
the Center for Visual Culture and theTri-Co Digital Humanities Initiative


Delaware Valley Medieval Association Spring Meeting – April 9, 2016

DVMA Spring Meeting
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Thomas Hall, Bryn Mawr College
1:00 – 6:00 PM

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Visual Culture
and the Provost’s Office of Bryn Mawr College

To register for the event, please go to: http://dvmamedieval.com/

For directions to Bryn Mawr College, please go to:


Darra Goldstein Lecture – February 18, 2016

The Bryn Mawr College 1902 Lecture Fund, Center for Visual Culture and
360 Course Cluster present:

Darra Goldstein
Willcox and Harriet Adsit Professor of Russian, Williams College
Founding Editor, Gastronomica

“Looking at Cookbooks Seven Centuries of Visual Feasts”

Thursday, February 18
Bryn Mawr College
Carpenter Library B21

This talk will offer a feast for the senses, revealing cookbooks as more than just functional manuals for the kitchen. Cookbooks are also aesthetic objects that convey important cultural information, and the progression from text-based recipes to today’s lavish
illustrations mirrors the history of typographic design. For their often-irreverent takes on the culinary arts, artists’ cookbooks will be a special focus.

For more information, please contact Kate Thomas



January 27, 2016 – Tanya Sheehan

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art, Colby College

“Changing the Joke: Racial Humor and American Vernacular Photography”

 In the decades following black emancipation, African Americans were the frequent subjects of humor in commercial photographs. Racial caricatures, which imagined black bodies as physically and socially deviant, set the stage for amateur photographic performances in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Not only did white Americans appropriate racial humor with remarkable regularity in their family snaps, but African Americans attempted to revive and subvert such humor in their own vernacular photographs. Focusing on the images and handwritten captions in family photo albums, this talk examines the personal and political work performed by comic photographic tropes in the Progressive Era.

Tanya Sheehan is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at Colby College, where she teaches American art history. She is the author of Doctored: The Medicine of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America (2011). Her edited books include Photography, History, Difference (2014), Photography and Its Origins (co-edited with Andres Zervigon, 2015), and the forthcoming Grove Guide to Photography (2016). As a research associate at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, she is completing a book that explores ideas about race in American visual humor. Tanya Sheehan currently serves as editor of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Journal and organizes the Photography and Migration Project based at Colby College.



February 10, 2016 – Ruth E. Toulson

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Maryland Institute College of Art

“Coloring the Corpse: The Visual Culture of Chinese Death”

From the black of a widow’s weeds, to the sackcloth of a mourning gown, and the white of a shroud, death ritual is threaded through with color. In the English language, sorrow is described as “the blues,” while Chinese societies refer to the events that surround death as “white through and through.” Yet, while the study of mortuary rites is an enduring subject of humanistic inquiry, there has been little consideration of color as a pivotal way death is codified. Drawing on perspectives from material culture studies— color understood as a property of things—I interrogate how color structures grief, challenging current anthropological understandings of the connection between ritual, emotion, and materiality. My examples are drawn from ethnographic fieldwork in Chinese funeral parlors Singapore, where I worked as both anthropologist and embalmer. To consider color is, I argue, to attend to the very matter of life and death.


February 17, 2016 – Derek Burdette

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Swarthmore College

“Miraculous Images and the Devotional Topography of Colonial Mexico City” 

At the height of the baroque period in colonial Mexico City (ca.1650-1775), miraculous paintings and statues drew throngs of devotees to countless chapels arrayed across the urban landscape.  Professor Burdette will examine the important role played by these miraculous statues in the construction of a sacred landscape within the urban sphere of Mexico City and its environs.  Looking beyond the more famous examples of miraculous imagery found in rural shrines, including Our Lady of Guadalupe, Burdette will argue that the city’s lesser-known statues and paintings played a vital role in shaping the devotional and political life of Mexico City.  These neighborhood images, although less well-known, were woven into the fabric of the city, shaping a devotional topography that concretized religious and social order within the contested space of the city.