School of Historical Studies

The "Late Antique Qur'an": Jewish-Christian Liturgy, Hellenic Rhetoric, and Arabic Language

Angelika Neuwirth
Freie Universität Berlin
June 3, 2009

Is the Qur’an an exclusively Islamic text? In this talk, Angelika Neuwirth, a Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and a Member (2009) in the School of Historical Studies, contends that it is both Islamic and late antique. Before the Qur’an was recognized as Muslim scripture it was communicated to an audience whose education was based on late-antique traditions—Judeo-Christian, Hellenic, and Arabian. Read as a movement within this triangle, the Qur’an turns out to be a Near Eastern–European text.

Support for this lecture was provided by the Dr. S. T. Lee Fund for Historical Studies.

Modernism Between Weimar and the Third Reich

Peter Paret
Institute for Advanced Study
March 2, 2008

Peter Paret, Professor Emeritus, School of Historical Studies. From 1933 to 1945, a culture war was waged between National-Socialism and modernism in the arts.  In this lecture, given in conjunction with a performance by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra featuring works by Mendelssohn, Schulhoff, and von Webern, Peter Paret explains that although their compositions were stylistically different, they were attacked for the same underlying reason:  Hitler’s concept of the arts as an arena of ideological, racial, and political conflict over Germany’s present and future.

The History of Others: Foreign Peoples in Early Chinese Historiography

Nicola Di Cosmo
Institute for Advanced Study
October 17, 2007

Nicola Di Cosmo, Luce Foundation Professor in East Asian Studies, School of Historical Studies. This lecture will provide an overview of the production and characteristics of alien history in early China, while acknowledging and attempting to gauge the cultural influence of these accounts among the alien people themselves, as "consumers" of histories they did not produce, but were used politically and in other ways.

The Difficult Task of Erasing Oneself: Non-Composition in Twentieth-Century Art

Yve-Alain Bois
Institute For Advanced Study
March 7, 2007

Sculpture

Yve-Alain Bois, Professor, School of Historical Studies. The lecture examines how, rather than always leading to the myth of the death of painting (or sculpture), as Alexandr Rodchenko had it, the idea that the artist should erase all traces of him- or herself was a dictum that helped sustain many different artistic practices during the past century, from Kasimir Malevich's Black Square of 1915, Jean Arp's collages "according to the laws of chance" of 1916-18, and Piet Mondrian's modular grids of 1918-19, to Pop Art, Minimalism, Process art, Conceptual art, and beyond.