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Clifford Geertz, “Blurred Genres: The Refiguration of Social Thought,” American Scholar (Spring 1980): 166.

2015-16 Deadlines

  March 7   Graduate Fellow Applications
  April 4   Graduate Associate Applications
  April 17   Digital Scholars Program

The History of Race and Empire...

Thanh Posteris not only traceable in the written archives of former colonial powers, it is also deeply embedded in works of art and artifacts dating back to the seventeenth century. Literary scholar Chi-ming Yang of the University of Pennsylvania makes an unusual connection between Asian art and Atlantic slavery in CHAT's Humanities in Global Context Lecture this Wednesday afternoon. She will explore the ways in which Asian luxury goods embedded images of indigenous peoples, plants, and animals of the Americas in their designs. The Asian porcelain that became a sought after commodity in Europe and the Americas, she argues, contributed to the aestheticization of violence integral to the global trade in people and goods.

Upcoming Talks

Humanities in Global Context Lecture Series

Speaker portraitChi-ming Yang, English

Asian Art in the World of Atlantic Slavery

Wednesday, November 18
4:00-5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

By the mid-1600s, the demand for Chinese and Japanese luxury goods was shaping Western tastes across the Atlantic world, and the drive to replicate these commodities spurred numerous innovations in the arts and sciences, in particular, techniques for coloring and coating surfaces. The marvelous, glossy veneers of China trade porcelain and lacquer also provided new media for portraying indigenous peoples of the Americas. Fantastical chinoiserie designs often juxtaposed ethnographic details from travel accounts ranging from Florida to Brazil, rendering consumable the very idea of the global and aestheticizing the violence endemic to long-distance trade. By tracking the circulation of images of native peoples, plants, and animals between and across different media, we can better understand how an eighteenth-century aesthetics of race relied upon new technologies of representing and understanding a globalized world.

Chi-ming Yang is Associate Professor of English at University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in the literary and visual culture of race and empire, with a focus on East-West cultural exchanges stretching from the early modern period to the 18th century, and up to the contemporary moment. Her book, Performing China: Virtue, Commerce, and Orientalism in Eighteenth-century England, 1660-1760 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), is a study of early modern Orientalism. This talk draws from her new work on race, chinoiserie, transatlantic slavery, and the cultural impact of global flows of silver between Latin America and East Asia.


Fall 2014 - Fall 2015


Reconstructing the View: Visualizing Time, Place, and the Collective Sublime

This exhibition includes examples of  large scale panoramas that respond to icons of landscape and culture in places such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Northern California. Byron Wolfe uses photography and a diverse range of digital tools and visualizations to reflect on broader notions of culture, the passage of time, landscape, and the construction of perception. The resulting work is a combination of scholarly and historic research, creative expression, and personal narrative.  

M-F, 10 am-4 pm, CHAT Gallery
10th floor, Gladfelter Hall
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Recorded Programs

Video CameraMany past lectures can be viewed online. These are fascinating lectures on a wide range of topics in the humanities with high-quality sound and video. See our growing collection of recorded programs.

Graduate Courses

Student with booksLooking for a unique course to round out your graduate education? Serious about interdisciplinary methods? CHAT lists Graduate courses across the humanities and social sciences that welcome qualified students from other graduate programs. Listings are updated regularly after registration begins for each semester.

Continuing Exhibitions

Ben Wilson, American Painter

imageIn 2008, CHAT acquired six large oil paintings by American painter Ben Wilson thanks to the generosity of the Ben and Evelyn Wilson Foundation. These works are on permanent display in the CHAT lounge and conference room. (Image: a detail from “The Thresher,” c. 1975)

Center for the Humanities
10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall (025-45)
1115 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089
Phone - 215-204-6386
Fax - 215-204-8371
Email - chat@temple.edu