October 30, 2017 Kluge Center Lectures to Explore Early Mapping in China, Persia

Press Contact: Deanna McCray-James (202) 707-9322
Public Contact: Travis Hensley (202) 707-8807
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The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in November will host lectures and public dialogues on the topic of mapping in ancient Chinese and Persian cultures.

Dr. Xin Conan-Wu, an associate professor of art and art history at the College of William and Mary will deliver a lecture entitled “Mapping the Landscape: Vision, Memory and Place-Making” on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. in room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress located at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. This richly illustrated public lecture will explore the story of mapping the landscape in 12th-century China, when the center of politics and economy was shifting from the north to the south and military defeats spurred a new search for identity. Wu examines visual, physical and textual materials in poetry, paintings, prints, architecture, gardens, landscape and philosophy and explores the impact of pedagogy and ritual upon vision and place-making, as well as the relationship between education and natural environment.

Wu specializes in the history of the representation of nature in East Asia art and global contemporary environmental art and landscape architecture. As a Kluge Fellow for the last year, Wu has leveraged the Library’s collections to help develop a book manuscript, “Vision and Place-Making in the Neo-Confucian Academies of Song China.”

Dr. Kevin Schwartz, the Class of 1955 distinguished visiting professor in the political science department at the United States Naval Academy will present a public talk entitled “Mapping a Persian Literary Sphere, 1500-1900” on Friday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m., also in room 119 of the Jefferson Building.

For several centuries, Persian literary culture shaped the socio-political and intellectual environments of the greater Islamic world, in particular in the territories and diverse societies of west, central and south Asia. Persian cultural traditions helped dynasties manage empires and enabled inter-imperial communication. Interest in Persian language and culture promoted cross- regional fertilization among poets and authors. The common language and cultural focus allowed such groups to travel across borders in search of professional opportunities or personal enrichment. Over the centuries, despite political upheavals and dynastic conflicts, the position of Persian as the dominant cultural-linguistic force survived across large parts of the eastern Islamic world.

In this presentation, Schwartz uses “tazkirahs” – authoritative collections of Persian literary works – to map divergent conceptualizations of the world of Persian literary culture. By connecting tazkirahs to one another through their geographically and historically diverse use of documented sources and methods of cataloguing and classification, Schwartz shines light on how different individuals demarcated the conceptual and geographic boundaries of the 19th-century Persianate world and shows the hidden value of the tazkirah genre as a historical source for documenting the intellectual, social and cultural life in the wider Persianate world.

The lectures are free and no reservations are needed. Further information can be found at loc.gov/kluge/.

More information about the Library and its exhibitions is available at the information desks, at loc.gov/visit/ or by calling (202) 707-8000.

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress brings together the world's best thinkers to energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington.


PR 17-162
ISSN 0731-3527