Lectures and talks

The Warburg Institute runs an active programme of lectures. All of which are free and open to everyone (unless otherwise stated).

Due to the ongoing social distancing requirements associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are currently planning to hold all our events online until January 2021. We will keep the situation under review and if guidance changes we will respond accordingly.
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Lecture Series


Premodern Disability Histories 

This three-part lecture series addresses discourses of disability in the medieval and early modern periods. Recent studies of physical, mental, and sensual difference have directed attention to the ableist assumptions underlying much of art historical scholarship. The cultural and political contestation of the human body challenges the “normative” framework of our discipline as shaped by such notions as spectatorship and embodiment, the eye and the hand, contemplation and engagement, commonly modelled around a “median” Western body. While disability quickly gained traction in historical, literary, sociological, and media scholarship, art history has been slower to respond, particularly within earlier periods of study and non-European contexts. 

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Times of Festival

Over the next three terms scholars will discuss and analyse the temporal dimensions of festivals in Europe and beyond from the perspectives of social history, art history, history of music and literature, and anthropology. 

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A Material World

A Material World is a new events series hosted by the Warburg Institute which focuses on the reconstruction of life in the past through objects and materials, the people who made them and the people who used them. Combining public lectures, student seminars and live object-based presentations across three terms, the series brings together academics and heritage professionals from a wide range of disciplines including history, art history, cultural history, archaeology, anthropology, history of religion and museum studies.

The three combined lecture-seminar sessions of 2020-21 will be on the theme of Devotion. They will explore a range of artefacts produced and marketed in the context of religion during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

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Curatorial Conversations

Curatorial Conversations is our ongoing lecture series which invites museum directors and curators from around the world to share their knowledge and experience.

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Maps and Society Lecture Series

These lectures focus on the history of maps and mapping worldwide, from earliest times to the twentieth century, with an emphasis on the social and cultural factors of the maps’ context, production, and use. 






Bilderfahrzeuge Lecture Series

This annual lecture series is organised by the international research project “Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology.” Entitled “Not A Copy,” this year’s series seeks to discuss the advent of new forms of visual expression in response to preceding artefacts and following from an interplay with their materiality and mediality. Humanities tend to reduce these dynamics to a dichotomy of a supposed ‘original’ and its ‘copy’. By doing so, the productive quality of transformation is often overlooked, whereas terms such as imitation, emulation, repetition, transmission, translation or recording are in continuous need of critical re-evaluation.



The Copy as the Work of the Original

Wednesday 25 November | Presented by Aaron Hyman (Johns Hopkins University): The Copy as the Work of the Original

In the early modern period, European prints flooded colonial Latin America, where artists routinely “copied” them to craft objects in paint and stone. A particular print, The Austroseraphic Heavens by Peter Paul Rubens, was taken up with unusual frequency across the viceroyalties. While the entire composition was copied, more often its figures were reconfigured and augmented. This paper argues that these works constituted a unified discursive field engineered by artists on behalf of a trans-continental Franciscan network, and that these “copies” offer the potential to critically reexamine Rubens’s “original,” an engraving that has puzzled scholars. Colonial “copies” and other works of art reveal the function of a European print, thereby advocating for an expanded conception of art historical context and arguing that Latin American artistic production might be brought to bear on rereading Europe’s art and history: that is, that the copy might reveal the work of the original.


Book and Print Initiative Online Seminars

The Book and Print Initiative provides a national focal point for the interdisciplinary, global study of word, image, and other written content from before the print era (manuscripts, palaeography, codicology) through to its future (digital humanities).



From Devilry to Divinity: Readings in Dante's Divina Commedia

This series aims to introduce the beauty, complexity and continuing significance of Dante’s ‘Divina Commedia’ through readings of the text, in the original and in translation, and through commentary on it. The readings are accompanied by a rich visual display of medieval illuminations whilst the commentary explores and invites discussion of some of the leading ideas of the poem.

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Work in Progress

The work in progress seminar explores the variety of subjects studied at the institute. Papers are given by invited international scholars, research fellows studying at the Institute, and third-year PhD students.  

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Tea Time Talks

Tea Time Talks are a forum for research fellows and other members of the Warburg community to introduce their current projects. The talks are designed to generate discussion about each scholar’s research questions and particular research problems. Fellows new to the institute introduce the projects that form the basis of their Warburg fellowships, while Warburg academic staff present on their research interests and current projects.

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