Seminars & Workshops

Viewing Topography Across the Globe Series                                                                                              Workshop II: Indigeneity

Sponsored by the Lewis Walpole Library

Organized by Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University and Holly Shaffer, Brown University

On Zoom May 13 and 14, 2021

Topography, from topos, is the practice of describing place through language, the features of the land, the inhabitants, and the accumulation of history. Specific to locality and the perspective of the person delineating, describing, or collecting materials, topography counters the worldliness of geography while also offering a potential tool to multiply singular approaches.

In this second workshop in the series “Viewing Topography Across the Globe,” we will consider approaches to place from Indigenous and European perspectives and interrogate the frame of “topography” in global contexts. In two half-day virtual sessions, we will focus on topographical practices in the Americas as well as South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean as well as how the materials of art-making both locate and disrupt notions of place. We will hear from artists and academics, work with colonial-era paintings, Indigenous objects, mapping, and literature, and consider Indigenous pedagogy.

Full Schedule and Abstracts

Panel I: The Americas
Thursday May 13, 2021: 10:00 to 11:45 am


Indigenous Bodies and Topographical Imagination
Barbara E. Mundy, Fordham University

Local vs. Universal Knowledge: Locating Place in von Humboldt’s Picturesque
Emmanuel Ortega, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sucker-fish Writings: Indigenous Inscription and the History of Written Language in the 18th Century
Robbie Richardson, Princeton University

Sybil / Spider / Sibyl: On Anancy*ness, Archives, and Spider Space
Heather V. Vermeulen, Wesleyan University

Lunchtime Keynote: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Artist as Social Engineer
Cannupa Hanska Luger, Artist
Moderated by Marina Tyquiengco, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Panel II: South, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ocean

Friday, May 14: 10:00 to 11:45 am


Beyond Human Vision: Knowing Angkor Wat through Topography, from a Watercolor Map to LIDAR Capture
Jinah Kim, Harvard University

Unexplored Terrains: Topography, Temporality and Emotion in 18th-century Udaipur
Dipti Khera, New York University
Debra Diamond, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Rising from the Ocean: Perspectives of Land and Watercraft during Cook’s Third Voyage
Kailani Polzak, University of California, Santa Cruz

Topographies of Battle: The National War Memorial, New Delhi
Ayesha Ramachandran, Yale University

Anxieties of a Bazaar: Making of Commodities in Colonial South and Southeast Asia
Garima Gupta, Artist and Researcher
Chitra Ramalingam, Yale Center for British Art

Lunchtime Keynote: 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Techniques of the Imperial Observer: How Aquatint Travel Books Taught Britons to See
Douglas Fordham, University of Virginia
Moderated by Tim Barringer, Yale University