Visual Culture and National Identity: A Symposium

June 10-11, 2010
Lectures, discussion panels and research workshops

With (a.o.): Susan Buck-Morss, Thomas Dacosta Kaufmann, Sudeep Dasgupta, Annet Dekker, Wessel Krul, Neil McWilliam, Griselda Pollock, Anthony Smith, Anna Tilroe and Kitty Zijlmans

This symposium and the accompanying research workshops explore the notion of national identity in specific relation to visual culture, art history and the visual arts. The modernist understanding dictates that art should be autonomous, independent and separate from political and social developments. At closer investigation, however, it becomes clear that nationalism and art and art history have always been closely intertwined, which is equally true in the broader field of visual culture. Moreover, image production is essential to constructing and maintaining national identity. But what kind of images are significant in these constructions of national identity? What is the relation between the interpretation of these images as a form of national capital and the process of globalisation, both of which have been increasingly criticised in the past two decades? And do national identities (and the art and popular-culture images attached to them) still matter when suprana tional communities and their related identities – such as the European Union – are quickly gaining ground? The symposium will also critically examine how the geographical model has become seemingly ineradicable in the academic and museological interpretation of art and visual culture: will we ever, or should we ever, abandon the concept of nationality as a primary structuring principle?

This symposium takes place on the occasion of the publication of the anthology Overal Vincent: De (inter)nationale identiteiten van Van Gogh (Amsterdam University Press, 2010), edited by co-organisers Rachel Esner and Margriet Schavemaker. For more information, see the
AUP website

Date: June 10-11, 2010
Location: Auditorium of the Van Gogh Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 7, Amsterdam
Entrance fee: 15 EURO,- (students) / 30 EURO (non-students) (N.B.: students of the School of Art, Religion, and Cultural Sciences (KRC) of the University of Amsterdam have free entrance to the symposium)
Registration and payment in advance is compulsory. Please register via

Research Workshops
Date: June 10-11, 2010
Location: University of Amsterdam, PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam
Entrance fee: None
Registration in advance is compulsory. Please register via

University of Amsterdam (Institute of Culture and History (ICH), Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), School of Art, Religion, and Cultural Sciences (KRC)), Van Gogh Museum
Media partner: Metropolis M
Supported by: Mondriaan Foundation, Research school Art History (OSK)

For more information, please visit


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