Global Encounters Lunch: The Wall, the Sea, and the Aesthetic Topographies of Global Migration Crisis

Presenter: Dr. Philip Bohlman, The University of Chicago
Wednesday, March 13, 12:00 p.m.
Sullivan Galleries
33 S. State St., 7th Floor
United States

Dr. Philip Bohlman

The metaphors and materiality of walls form a historical counterpoint in the global histories of the arts, from ancient societies to the present, most immediately in the political debates about the use of walls to encumber the paths of refugees and migrants worldwide. It is that counterpoint, realized in music, architecture, and the visual arts that I examine through a series of case studies – from the Venetian Ghetto to concentration camps in the Shoah to the "big and beautiful" wall along the US-Mexico border – and a series of perspectives that pose the larger question, Why do such monuments, so often symbols and agents of tragedy, lend themselves to aesthetic dimensions? I illustrate the presentation with examples from music and art history, as well as from my own fieldwork as an ethnomusicologist in many places in the world.

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