Petition to save the Art History MA program at the National University of Arts, Bucharest

Dear colleagues (with apologies for cross-posting),

Please consider reading and signing this petition to help save the Art History MA program “Visual and Curatorial Studies” at the National University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania.

On March 23, 2022, the Senate of the National University of Arts in Bucharest voted to discontinue the MA program “Visual and Curatorial Studies,” the only program with this profile within the University, and the only MA program of the Department of History and Theory of Art. This program is the oldest art history MA program in Romania, with graduates numbering many distinguished figures that act today as important members of the cultural and scholarly communities.

Art history is already a small and relatively “young” field of study in Romania, so removing this program is an awful decision, especially in this moment in time. I am helping my colleagues in Bucharest bring international attention to this issue in the hopes of having the decision revoked. We have set up a petition with more details here:

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Best wishes,

Alice Isabella Sullivan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture
Department of the History of Art and Architecture
Neubauer Faculty Fellow, 2021-2022
Tufts University | 11 Talbot Ave | Medford, MA 02155

Statement on the Past and Present of Ukraine and its Cultural Heritage – from the ICMA and BSANA

As scholarly organizations devoted to the study and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Middle Ages, the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) and the Byzantine Studies Association of North America (BSANA) deplore the Russian attacks on Ukraine and the continuing threat to human life, artistic treasures, and cultural heritage. We object strongly to the statements of the President of the Russian Federation, V. V. Putin, published in his July 2021 essay entitled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” While the title ostensibly conveys fraternity, the real aim of Putin’s essay was to delegitimize Ukraine as a country. This has been part of Russia’s ongoing attempts to falsify Ukrainian history and reclaim its sites and monuments. Putin has made a tendentious case that Moscow is the legitimate heir to the medieval polity of Kyivan Rus’, “continuing the tradition of ancient Russian statehood,” whereas the Ukrainian nation is the product of various “distorting” influences emerging from the West. Putin’s speech of February 21, 2022 further declared that Ukraine had no legitimacy as a nation-state, and laid claim to its cultural heritage as “an inalienable part of our [the Russian Federation’s] own history, culture and spiritual space.” While the history of Ukraine is integral to Russia’s territorial, spiritual, and ideological identity, Ukraine’s identity is not reducible to being a precursor to Russia. Ukraine’s unique history, art, and culture should be acknowledged, respected, and protected in these troubling times.

All too often, our own fields have been complicit in failing to examine inherited narratives that subsume the Ukrainian people, their history, and monuments under the rubric of “Russia,” thus helping to facilitate the historical distortions made more explicitly by President Putin. While acknowledging the irreducible complexity of the intertwined histories of Russia and Ukraine, we also recognize the right of Ukraine to the cultural patrimony of its own territory. The monuments of Kyivan Rus’ in Kyiv, Chernihiv, and elsewhere, are treasures of the Eastern Christian tradition and of the world’s cultural heritage. They are rightly safeguarded and administered by the legitimately elected government of Ukraine and by its cultural ministries and private institutions. Moreover, as historians, we underscore the very diversity of the region that Putin’s essay belittled. Like most medieval locales, Ukraine was home to peoples of different ethnic groups and religious faiths. Jewish, Islamic, and Armenian communities, among others, were integral to cultural life in the area in the Middle Ages, and their art and architecture endures within Ukraine’s borders. We also affirm the continued diversity of its modern nation-state, as well as the LBGTQIA+ communities in the country, who face great dangers under the Russian invasion. We stand with our colleagues whose nuanced work on Ukraine’s history poses the greatest challenges to Putin’s monolithic and mythical view of history.

We earnestly call for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine, for the protection of all people in the region, and for the restitution of cultural patrimony to its legitimate custodians.

  • The Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Associates, and Advocacy Committee of the International Center of Medieval Art
  • The Governing Board of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America

International Forum on the Venizelou Metro Station, Thessaloniki

Institute for Advanced Study and UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology present
Sunday, September 26
9:00 AM (PST) / 12:00 PM (EST) / 7:00 PM (Greece)
The uncovering of unique Late Roman and Byzantine remains in the course of excavations for a new metro system in Thessaloniki has called into question how a country comes to terms with the treatment and display of its material past. This international forum aims to present factual information about the significance of the finds, review decisions made by the Ministry of Culture and the Central Archaeological Council concerning the Venizelou Station remains, summarize past and ongoing litigation in Greek courts, and discuss the practical solutions offered by engineers. Following brief presentations by four speakers, listeners will be able to ask questions about the remains, the solutions to the technical challenges that their preservation on site presents, and their significance for the city’s future.
  • Angelos Chaniotes, Professor of Ancient History and Classics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • Costa Carras, Founder of ELLINIKI ETAIRIA-Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage / EUROPA NOSTRA Council member
  • Vlasis Koumousis, Professor Emeritus of Structural Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens
  • Maria Mavroudi, Professor of History and Classics, University of California, Berkeley
Moderator: Sharon Gerstel, Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, UCLA
Please register below:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Simultaneous translation into Greek will be available.

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