Dr Vera-Simone Schulz is the CIRN Intesa Sanpaolo Visiting Fellow 2021-22 and will be at CRASSH in Easter Term. A colloquium, ‘Between the Black Mediterranean and the Black Atlantic: Complexifying Stories of Connectivity and Resistance’, will be held on Friday 20 May 2022.
My research project focuses on an interconnected group of images and objects from the 14th-17th cent. CE ranging from Italian paintings to carpets from Asior Minor and Central African raffia weavings. The project will not only elucidate the necessity to consider these images and objects together in order to gain new insights about all of them. It will also further illuminate the necessity to provincialise Europe and Italy within the discipline of art history, and to overcome traditional notions of center and periphery. The research project will propose new ways to move beyond common ‘East’-‘West’ stereotypes and paradigms. By tracing and interrogating the intersected dynamics of this group of images and objects, the project will shed new light on image-object-interrelations beyond the boundaries of traditional categories such as Islamic, European, and African art histories. It will show what is to gain from a wider perspective beyond ‘high arts’ versus ‘decorative arts’ hierarchies. And by taking a fresh look at the images and objects themselves and at their multiple interrelations across media, materials, and geographical spaces, the project will highlight the necessity to focus more both on a “Diverse Italy” – closely entangled with other regions of the world already in the premodern period – and on a diverse role of Italy within art history, opening up to issues of connectivity and resistance that will – quite literally – take us around the premodern globe.
Vera-Simone Schulz is an art historian working at the crossroads of African, Islamic and European art histories and postdoctoral research associate at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut. Her research has been supported by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, the German Research Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, among others. From 2014 to 2018, she was academic coordinator of the international research project ‘Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective’, funded by the German Research Foundation. Since 2021, she is PI of the international research project ‘Material Migrations: Mamluk Metalwork across Afro-Eurasia’, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (together with Gertrude Aba Mansah Eyifa-Dzidzienyo, Jacopo Gnisci and Raymond Silverman).
Vera is currently co-editing a volume on Connectivity, Transcultural Entanglements and the Power of Aesthetic Choices in Africa (together with Abidemi Babatunde Babalola) and a special issue of the journal postmedieval on Ecologies of Things (together with Shirin Khanmohamadi). Her publications have appeared in Perspective: Actualité en histoire de l’art, Konsthistorisk tidskrift, Zeitschift für Kunstgeschichte, Convivium, and Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, among other peer-reviewed journals. She is co-convener of ‘Plants in Africa and the Global South: Multi-Species Materialities, Ecologies, and Aesthetics (MMEA)’, hosted by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (together with Abidemi Babatunde Babalola), and co-convener of ‘Planetary Patchwork: A Perpetual Seminar on Artistic Practices, Heritage, and Epistemologies’ (together with Nicole Remus and Evi Olde Rikkert), and very much looking forward to intellectual exchange and transdisciplinary dialogue at CRASSH.