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Monica Juneja keynote speaker at ECSAS in Vienna



19 July 2021

The European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) is an annual conference operating under the auspices of the
European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS). Since 1968, it serves as a platform for exchange and discussion on current research and scholarship relating to South Asia within the Humanities and Social Sciences.
This year’s edition will reiterate the program of the 2020 ECSAS (26th ECSAS), which had to be postponed due to the pandemic outbreak. Between July 26 and July 29, a pool of international researchers will present and discuss new research directions in South Asian Studies under the motto of “Reflecting on Disciplinary Boundaries.”
Monica Juneja, professor of
Global Art History at the HCTS, will deliver the conference’s first keynote speech titled “Disciplinary Thresholds – Art History and Ecological Imaginaries” on July 26, 2021, at 13:30.

Read as “a crisis of culture” (Amitav Ghosh), the climate crisis has generated debates about the gradual dissolution of the long-standing humanist distinction separating the humanities from the natural sciences. Yet the specific relevance of the humanities to the present crisis comes from the distinct form of knowledge they produce, rooted in realms of human life such as religion, philosophy, literary and artistic creation, a knowledge that generates arguments dependent on persuasion rather than proof. Prof. Juneja´s talk examines the impact of human-driven climate change on the discipline of art history, challenging it to traverse disciplinary boundaries, and sharpen its tools, so as to transcend anthropocentric perspectives. While art history can draw on experiments of contemporary art, which strive to undo the nature-culture binary by drawing on suppressed cosmologies of an Asian past, it can at the same time restore a historicity to that past. To what extent, she asks, are art history’s strivings to transcend anthropocentrism necessarily circumscribed by its disciplinary limits?
The conference is organised and hosted by the
University of Vienna - the Center of Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History (
CIRDIS) and the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (
ISTB) - in close cooperation with the Institute for Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (
IKGA) at the
Austrian Academy of Sciences. The 2021 ECSAS will be hosted as an online event with the possibility to take part in a few selected hybrid panels and join the conference at the University of Vienna Campus in Vienna.
Monica Juneja’s keynote speech on “Disciplinary Thresholds - Art History's Ecological Imaginaries,” scheduled for July 26, 2021, at 13:30, can be attended in presence or online upon prior registration. Registration is currently open only to EASAS members. For more information and to register, visit
here. The full conference program is available in PDF

Monica Juneja is professor of
Global Art History at the HCTS. Her research and publications focus on transculturation and visual representation, disciplinary practices of art history in South Asia, gender and political iconography, history of visuality in early modern South Asia; and architectural histories and heritage. She has recently published
Disaster as Image. Iconographies and Media Strategies across Asia and Europe (2014, with G.J. Schenk);
Miniatur Geschichten. Die Sammlung indischer Malerei im Dresdner Kupferstichkabinett (2017, ed. with P. Kulhlmann-Hodick);
EurAsian Matters. China, Europe and the Transcultural Object (2018). Her forthcoming book is Can Art History be made Global? Meditations from the Periphery (De Gruyter 2021). Monica Juneja edits the Series
Visual and Media Histories (Routledge), is on the editorial board of
Ding, Materialität, Geschichte (Böhlau),
Ästhetische Praxis (Fink/ E.J. Brill),
History of Humanities (University of Chicago Press), and is co-editor of
the Journal of Transcultural Studies.