Register for "The Course of Empires: American-Italian Cultural Relations, 1770–1980" conference, Oct 19-20, 2017

Amelia Goerlitz Announcement
District of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields
American History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Italian History / Studies

The Course of Empires: American-Italian Cultural Relations, 1770–1980

October 19-20, 2017

Smithsonian American Art Museum


Thursday, October 19, 6-8 p.m., Keynote at the Embassy of Italy

Friday, October 20, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Symposium in McEvoy Auditorium


Registration is now open at for “The Course of Empires: American-Italian Cultural Relations, 1770–1980.” This conference will examine the persistent fascination of American and Italian artists with the cultural achievements of ancient Rome and the Renaissance. In creating a national identity and official culture, Italy and the United States looked to history—in particular, ancient Rome and the Renaissance—to find inspiration for enlightened political practices; to locate models of artistic, political, and economic preeminence; and to seek ways to ward off imperial decadence and decline. Scholars will seek to update and broaden our understanding of American-Italian cultural relations from the Revolutionary Era through the Cold War by encompassing a diversity of international voices and approaches. The talks will be webcast live and archived for future viewing. For a full program, the webcast, and speakers' bios and abstracts, see our webpage at


Organizing Committee:

Melissa Dabakis, Professor and Chair of Art History, Kenyon College

Paul Kaplan, Professor of Art History, Purchase College, SUNY

Daniele Fiorentino, Professor of U.S. History and Political Science, Università degli Studi Roma Tre

Sergio Cortesini, Assistant Professor of Art History, Università di Pisa

Karen Lemmey, Curator of Sculpture, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Amelia Goerlitz, Fellowship and Academic Programs Manager, Smithsonian American Art Museum


The Course of Empires is the sister conference to Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, 1840–1918, held at the American Academy in Rome in October 2016. Both events are made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art, which is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. SAAM is pleased to present this program in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in DC and the Italian Cultural Institute. We are especially grateful to His Excellency Armando Varricchio, the Italian Ambassador to the United States, for serving as the honorary patron for this conference. Additional support is provided by Purchase College, SUNY; Kenyon College; Università di Pisa; Università degli Studi Roma Tre; and the American Academy in Rome.

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