Symposium to Examine Roots of Modern Visual Culture

Scholars from a variety of disciplines will gather for a symposium at Yale on Friday-Sunday, February 1-3, to explore ways in which Dutch optical inventions of the 17th century have shaped modern visual perception.

Scholars from a variety of disciplines will gather for a symposium at Yale on Friday-Sunday, February 1-3, to explore ways in which Dutch optical inventions of the 17th century have shaped modern visual perception.

Titled “Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe: The Dutch Experience,” the symposium will take up such topics as the art of Rembrandt and Vermeer, the development of commercial art markets, the role of the visual in the construction of class and nation and the ties between seeing and gender.

“From Descartes to Foucault, the power to see has been allied with the power to know and possess,” write the symposium organizers. “Optical theory brought in its wake new rhetorics of objectivity, new ways of mastering the world, and new claims to universal knowledge and truth.”

The symposium will open at 1:45 p.m. on Friday with introductory remarks by Bryan Wolf, professor of American studies and English at Yale. This will be followed by a panel on “The Poetry of Seeing” and ” ‘Visuality’ as a Concept and Practice.” A reception will conclude the day’s events.

There will be three panels on Saturday: “Representing Representing”; “Women, Domesticity and the Everyday”; and “Vision and Knowledge.”

The program is sponsored by Yale’s Whitney Center for the Humanities, 53 Wall Street. All panels will be held in the center’s auditorium, and are free and open to the public. For further information, call the Whitney Humanities Center at (203) 432-0670.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345