Scholarly programs, designed for experts, students, and enthusiasts, share groundbreaking research and provide a deeper look into Asian and American art and culture. Symposia are open to the public and available to watch online.

Symposia & Conferences | Webinars | Upcoming Programs | Past Events


Symposia & Conferences

Symposium: AfricAsia: Overlooked Histories of Exchange
9–11 a.m., September 14–16
Registration link forthcoming

Connections between African and Asian spaces have defined cultural identities and expressions across centuries. This symposium will consider transregional alignments as well as multidirectional, discontinuous, and diachronic interactions as evidenced through art and material culture from antiquity to the present.

Speakers include Ruth Barnes, Shiraz Bayjoo, Zoe Butt, Iftikhar Dadi, Michael Laffan, Elizabeth Lambourn, Thomas Lockley, Dominique Malaquais, Yoon Jung Park, Thania Petersen, Pedro Pombo, and Ruth Simbao.

Co-organized with the National Museum of African Art.

PostponedSymposium: Japan in the Age of Modernization: The Art of Tomioka Tessai and Otagaki Rengetsu

This event has been postponed

This symposium gathers scholars from the United States, Japan, and Europe, who look beyond Japan’s Western industrialization to examine China’s role in forming the nation’s modern identity. It accompanies a major retrospective of the modern Japanese painter Tomioka Tessai (1836–1924) on view from March 28 to August 2, 2020, at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. A curator-led sneak preview of the exhibition concludes the symposium.


Upcoming Programs

Chinese Object Study Workshops
2015–2020

Sophisticated visual analysis is a hallmark of art history and depends on skills acquired through the direct study of objects. These skills must be taught and practiced. Yet as graduate art history curricula have expanded to include training in methodology, historiography, and theory, training in object study has all but disappeared. The problem is exacerbated for students of Chinese art history, whose graduate curricula must also include language courses and related subjects such as religion, literature, and history.

Chinese Object Study Workshops is a program that provides graduate students in Chinese art history an immersive experience in the study of objects. The week-long workshops will help students develop the skills necessary for working with objects, introduce them to conservation issues not readily encountered in typical graduate art history curricula, and familiarize them with important American museum collections.


Past Events

Goryeo Art and Culture Study Day
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Symposium: Korean Buddhist Images and Dedication Practice
Thursday, February 20–Friday, February 21, 2020

Goryeo Buddhist Painting: A Closer Look
Friday, March 10, 2017

The Word Illuminated: Form and Function of Qur’anic Manuscripts
December 1–3, 2016
Watch the symposium online

Sōtatsu’s Times: Perspectives on the Culture and Politics of Kyoto
December 5, 2015

Sōtatsu in Washington: Insights, Discoveries, and Reflections
October 24, 2015
Watch the symposium online

In the Dig House: Behind the Scenes in Archaeology
April 25, 2015
Watch the symposium online

Whistler and Kiyochika: Modernity, Melancholy, and the Nocturne
May 14, 2014

Whistler Object Study Workshop
June 9–12, 2014

Medical and Modern Yoga
January 11, 2014

Yoga and Visual Culture: An Interdisciplinary Symposium
November 21–23, 2013
Watch the symposium online

The Legacy of Cyrus the Great: Iran and Beyond
April 27, 2013
Watch the symposium online

Crossroads of Culture: The Archaeology of Saudi Arabia
November 17, 2012

The Art of Itō Jakuchū
March 30, 2012

Imperial Exposure: Early Photography and Royal Portraits across Asia
December 5–6, 2011

Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism
October 27–28, 2011
Watch the symposium online

Art and Material Culture of the Northern Qi Period
June 3–5, 2011

Piety, Poetry, and Politics: Sufi Muslims in South Asia
April 28–30, 2011

Historians Of Islamic Art Association (HIAA) Second Biennial Symposium: “Objects, Collections, And Cultures”
October 21–23, 2010

Forbes Symposium
October 28–29, 2010