University Seminar in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Founded by Douglas Fraser in 1970, this seminar addresses major issues in the fields of African, Oceanic, Native American, and pre-Hispanic Latin American arts. The seminar provides an opportunity for members to analyze, evaluate, and discuss new and continuing research, as well as various trends in scholarship. Because the membership is comprised of art historians, curators, archeologists, anthropologist, and other field specialists, seminar meetings frequently involve indepth discussions of theoretical and methodological issues.

Fall 2013

Dr. Duncan Caldwell, Lecturer, Doctoral Module, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris) and Fellow, Marine and Paleobiological Research Institute (Martha's Vineyard, MA)
"Decoding the Adena Tablets: New interpretations of the 'Mound Builder' tablets"

Thursday, October 3, 2013 from 7 to 8 p.m.
930 Schermerhorn Hall

Wine and cheese from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those wishing to do so may join us for dinner with the speaker after the presentation.

Spring 2013

The Columbia University Department of Art History and Archaeology and The Columbia University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas invite you to 'Thinking with Things': A Symposium in Honor of Professor Esther Pasztory, Lisa and Bernard Selz Professor in Pre-Columbian Art History.

Friday, May 17, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reception to follow.
501 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University, New York

This event is open to the public, but please RSVP to

Introductory Remarks

  • Holger Klein, Chair, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
  • Francesco Pellizzi, Chair, University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Columbia University
  • George Preston, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art History, CCNY-CUNY

Main Speakers

  • Holland Cotter, Art Critic, The New York Times
  • Cecelia Klein, Professor Emerita, Department of Art History, UCLA
  • Leonardo López Luján, Senior Researcher and Director, Templo Mayor Project, INAH
  • Joanne Pillsbury, Associate Director of Scholarly Programs, Getty Research Institute
  • Gary Urton, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

Made possible by generous gifts from a member of the seminar and from the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Fall 2011–Spring 2012

All events take place in Schermerhorn Hall, room 930, from 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 6
Anna Blume

Thursday, November 3
Susan Gagliardi

Thursday, December 1
Richard Burger

Thursday, February 2 (Note: Professor Taussig's lecture will be held in 612 Schermerhorn)
Michael Taussig

Thursday, March 1
Frank Salomon

Thursday, April 12
Kristine Juncker