Past Event

Bettman Lecture Series: Matthew Canepa, 'Perso-Iranian Visual and Material Cultures of Power and the Entanglement of the Afro-Eurasian World'

March 20, 2023
6:15 PM - 7:30 PM
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612 Schermerhorn Hall

Matthew Canepa
Professor and Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran
Director, Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine

"Perso-Iranian Visual and Material Cultures of Power and the Entanglement of the Afro-Eurasian World"

Monday, March 20th, 6:15 PM ET
612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University

With the rise of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE), Persian institutions of kingship became the supreme idiom of legitimacy, power, and prestige across three continents. Over the next two millennia, despite enormous upheavals, Iranian visual and political cultures connected an ever-wider swath of the Afro-Eurasian world becoming a truly global idiom of power at key historical junctures. This lecture explores the role that Persian visual material and political cultures played in articulating trans-Afro-Eurasian idioms of power. Exploring phenomena as diverse as royal cosmologies, fashion, banqueting, manuscript cultures, sacred landscapes, and inscriptions, it analyzes the intellectual and political exchanges that art, architecture, ritual, and luxury material facilitated within and beyond the Persian world. It argues that Perso-Iranian visual and material cultures offered neighbors and competitors raw material with which to formulate their own imperial aspirations. Considering problems drawn from ancient as well as the medieval and early modern ‘Persianate’ world, this lecture explores the longue durée of the problems of change, renovation, and interconnectivity in Perso-Iranian cultures.