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"How to Look at Ice" with Maggie Cao (UT Humanities Center Distinguished Lecture Series)

On March 27, Maggie Cao, David G. Frey Assistant Professor of Art History at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will give a public talk titled, "How to Look at Ice" as part of the UT Humanities Center’s 2022-2023 Distinguished Lecture Series. 

During the Civil War era, American artists traveled to and painted sublime landscapes of the Arctic. But ice was not just a substance associated with the poles. The period’s enchantment with polar expeditions also coincided with the booming industrial ice trade, which transported frozen water from the United States deep into the tropics. This lecture connects these two icy enterprises, showing that the perceptual strategies used in the frigid north and the technologies of globalization used in the torrid south indelibly linked ice, art, and racial politics during an age of imperialism.

The lecture is free and open to the public and is held in Hodges Library’s auditorium on the UT Knoxville campus. Public parking is available in the Volunteer Hall parking garage for our off-campus visitors. Everyone is welcome! We will also offer a livestream of the event via Zoom. Register here


About the speaker: 

Maggie Cao is an associate professor of art history at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a scholar of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American art. Her research focuses on the history of globalization with particular interest in intersections of art with histories of technology, natural science, and economics. Her first book, The End of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century America, published in 2018, examines the fate of the nation’s preeminent artistic genre in the face of new conceptions of nature and physical alterations of terrain. Cao has also written on media theory, material culture, and ecocriticism. Her recent publications include essays on the print culture of the earliest worldwide financial bubbles and the materiality of export art made in eighteenth-century China. Cao is currently writing a book entitled Painting and the Making of American Empire, the first synthetic treatment of nineteenth-century U.S. art and empire in a global context.

Maggie Cao was invited to campus by Beauvais Lyons, Chancellor’s Professor in the UT School of Art.

About the Series:

The UT Humanities Center's Distinguished Lecture Series bring acclaimed humanities scholars and renowned artists to the Knoxville campus for research-based conversations with UT faculty and graduate students and to give a public talk on a topic of the speaker's choosing. Speakers are nominated and hosted by faculty from our nine affiliated arts and humanities departments. Because only speakers with exceptional records of publication and research activity are eligible to receive a nomination as a visiting scholar, the program brings to campus some of the most cutting-edge and prolific intellectuals in the humanities today. Details on this season’s program are available at here. If you enjoy this series and would like to support future UT Humanities Center programming, please visit this link to learn about giving opportunities.

Dial-In Information

Register for the Zoom link for the livestream at this link.

Monday, March 27, 2023 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

John C Hodges Library, Lindsay Young Auditorium (rm. 101)
1015 Volunteer Blvd, Knoxville TN