February 23 – June 2, 2013
In my seminar held in fall semester 2012, I worked with graduate students from the programs in Art History and in the Division of Late Medieval and Reformation Studies (Department of History). Together we explored the theoretical and practical processes at work in the production of knowledge in early modern prints. We also critically interrogated the theoretical and practical processes implemented by modern scholars in creating contemporary knowledge about the past. In our explorations, we discovered over and over again that “ways of knowing” always also meant “ways of interpreting” and that, in the study of art and history, the philosophical branches of epistemology and hermeneutics were thoroughly intertwined. The ultimate goal of the seminar was for the students to bring their methodological and historical insights to bear on some of the Renaissance prints in the University of Arizona Museum of Art’s collection. This exhibition offers a view onto their research. Study of the prints selected by the students suggests ways of knowing about early modern gender roles, human behavior, confessional and social identities, “foreign” places and customs, technology, nature and history. Critically engaging with the ways in which nature, culture, society, and technology were given shape and understood in the past will hopefully cause us to reflect on how we understand these same phenomena in our present, and on what actions we take based on that understanding. For the students, the seminar and its associated research were also about becoming aware of the ways they, as young scholars working in their respective disciplines, constructed and articulated knowledge about the past, and thus about becoming aware of their own roles in academic scholarship and in history itself.
Pia F. Cuneo
Professor, History of Art
Division of Art History, School of Art
University of Arizona Museum of Art & Archive of Visual Arts
1031 North Olive Road
Tucson, AZ 85721-0002