History of Art doctoral candidates Beatriz Zengotitabengoa and Candice Hamelin will each give 20-minute talks followed by 30 minutes of discussion.
"Experience and Representation: Gundula Schulze Eldowy’s Tamerlan, 1979-1987"
"Two Sides of One Cloth: Aesthetics, Materiality, and the Power of Horsecloths in the Bariba Kingdom of Nikki"
My dissertation asserts that the horse was the primary vehicle through which the decentralized Bariba kingdom emerged in the fifteenth century. During this period, this lesser known West African kingdom thrived on a system of caravan pillage, war, slaving, and the redistribution of goods for political favors. This system was dismantled beginning in the nineteenth century as trans-Saharan trade routes shifted to the coast and European colonists usurped political power from Bariba warrior-princes. But today, as in the pre-colonial past “horse dress,” as sociologist Jacques Lombard put it, “is far more important for a Bariba prince than a comfortable or well adorned palace.” While my dissertation studies the phenomenon of the Bariba horse through an aesthetic and material investigation of adornments like saddle blankets, brass stirrups, and leather amulets that contain mystical texts, my first chapter focuses on equestrian blankets and how the two sides of cloth articulate two varieties of power locally conceptualized as force (dam). I argue that the flashy exterior sides of horse cloths express an economic manifestation of political authority, while the tattered interior side of cloth contains a mystically protective force doused with local medicines (tìm) that keep the horse and rider safe.