Prof. Dr. Whitey Davis, Berkeley:

University Copenhagen, The Department of Art and Cultural Studies (IKK) / HUM Campus, Copenhagen: Auditorium 23.0.50
18. October 2013, Friday, 15-17.00

Features of prehistoric (and specifically Upper Paleolithic) depiction have long attracted commentary: scholars have tried to understand not only the highly "animated" and "immersive" nature of the pictorial compositions in context (sometimes seen as a prehistoric kind of "trompe l'oeil") but also striking features of repetition, re-marking, and superimposition. The lecture considers these and other questions about Paleolithic depiction in light of general approaches to image making that have been developed in visual-culture studies and Bildwissenschaft. It argues that some Paleolithic pictures were both "inside" and "outside" visual culture--and that this was their point and purpose.

Whitney Davis is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor of History and Theory of Ancient and Modern Art, Department of History of Art, University of California at Berkeley and Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of York (2013 – 16).

Previously he taught at Northwestern University, where he was John Evans Professor of Art History and Director of the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities. Outside UC Berkeley, he was among others visiting professor at the University of York, York, UK, at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany and Research Forum Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK. He received his PhD in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1985, where he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows from 1983 to 1986.

Davis's teaching and research interests include prehistoric and archaic arts (especially prehistoric and predynastic arts of northeastern Africa); worldwide rock art; the Classical tradition and neoclassicism in Western art since the later Middle Ages, and especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain; the development of professional art history in interaction with archaeology, philosophical aesthetics, comparative anthropology, and other disciplines; art theory in visual-cultural studies, especially problems of pictorial representation in relation to computation and notation; aspects of modern art history, especially its expression (or not) of nonnormative sexualities; the history and theory of sexuality, especially the early history of psychoanalysis; queer theory; world art studies; and environmental, evolutionary, and cognitive approaches to the global history of visual culture.

He is the author of seven books: The Canonical Tradition in Ancient Egyptian Art (Cambridge, 1989), Masking the Blow: The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art (California, 1992), Pacing the World: Construction in the Sculpture of David Rabinowitch (Harvard, 1996); Drawing the Dream of the Wolves: Homosexuality, Interpretation, and Freud's "Wolf Man" Case (Indiana, 1996); Replications: Archaeology, Art History, Psychoanalysis (1996); Queer Beauty: Sexuality and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Freud and Beyond (Columbia, 2010); and A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton, 2010), which received the Monograph Prize of the American Society for Aesthetics and the Susanne K. Langer Award of the Media Ecology Association.

He is currently working on three book projects: Visuality and Virtuality: Images and Pictures from Ancient Egypt to New Media (a companion volume to A General Theory of Visual Culture); Space, Time, and Depiction (based on his Research Forum Lectures at the Courtauld Institute of Art); and Inquiry in Art History (a study of the interaction of idiographic and nomological traditions of explanation in art history since the late 19th century).

Davis has been awarded fellowships by the Stanford Humanities Center, the National Humanities Center, the Getty Research Institute, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has served as member of the board of the College Art Association and recently as a member of the Advisory Board of CASVA. At Berkeley, he has served as Chair of the Department of History of Art, Director of the Film Studies Program, Director of the LGBT Minor Program, Chair of the University Senate Committee on the Library and Scholarly Communication, and Director of the Consortium for the Arts and the Arts Research Center. He was a founding member of what is now the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Links to publications and other information can be found on UC Berkeley faculty webpage: