Letters from the Local Bazaar: Scraps and Scrolls of Mobility in the Global Eras of Art History

Friday, March 6
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Lecture by Dipti Khera (New York University)

Northern and western India’s well-traveled Jain merchants commissioned numerous letters between 1400 and 1900 to invite eminent monks to their towns. They sought to entice recipients with pictures of urban places and completed journeys. In a letter sent from the port of Diu, ca. 1666, painters and scribes juxtaposed the vignette of Jain monks and nuns who would walk long tracts of land on foot with the image of Portuguese merchants who had crossed the vast expanse of sea on ships. How do the projects of globalizing and decolonizing art history address these kinds of scrolls and scraps, and their marked wear and tear? What types of objects do we privilege in writing the history of peregrination? How do the perspectives of local bazaars and transregional journeys on inland frontiers feature in the discussions of early modern oceanic travels?

This event is co-sponsored by the Interwoven project at the Neubauer Collegium and the Art History Department at the University of Chicago. With support from the Neubauer Collegium, Interwoven is a collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative that focuses on the sonic and visual cultures of the Indian Ocean, in the past and the present. It is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and elaboration of the cultural production of this diverse region and the support of those who practice, study, and maintain it.


Niall Atkinson (Art History)
Philip Bohlman (Music)
James Nye (Library)
Laura Ring (Library)
Anna Schultz (Music)
Anna Seastrand (University of Minnesota, Art History)