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Global Trajectories of Thought and Memory: Art and the Global South


Dr. Elize Mazadiego

Prof. dr. Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes

Dr. Eve Kalyva


Members of the research group:

Dr. Chiara De Cesari

Prof. dr. ir. Jeroen de Kloet

Noortje de Leij

Florence Evans

Roel Hijink

Matisse Huiskens

Yazan Khalili

Dr. Gregor Langfeld

Zoénie Liwen Deng

Laurens Meijer

Jori Snels

Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason 

Eszter Szakács

Stacey Vorster

Carine Zaayman


External Members:

Dr. Fabiola Martinez (Saint Luis University, Madrid)

Dr. Ksenia Robbe (University Of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Dr. Thomas Berghuis (Independent)

Dr. Rolando Vasquez Melken (University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University)

Hannah Vollam (Van Abbemuseum)

Christopher William-Wynn (Harvard University)



This research group explores and complicates the diverse forms that art takes in the Global South. By “Global South” we refer to geographical regions that span across South and Central America, Africa and Asia and their dialogue with Europe. We are interested in investigating forms of representation and theorization, and in studying non-canonical and under-represented artistic practices, texts, theoretical perspectives and exhibitions. This research group brings together scholars and practitioners whose work critically considers the less-represented geographical regions of the Global South and its affiliated genealogies of thought. It provides open platforms to discuss and analyze topics relating to Global South art, art histories, visual culture and those interested in this field, from various disciplines, such as: cultural studies, material culture, performative and postcolonial studies, more broadly understood. It moreover promotes professional development by supporting and encouraging research with a Global South focus, and facilitates academic, professional and social communication by organizing activities that bring together those interested in this field.

Aims and objectives

The research group’s aim is to develop and support global perspectives on art and visual culture by investigating trajectories of thought and memory from the Global South, identifying the wider impact of actions and activities across different localities, and formulating transcultural and transnational frameworks to understand them. We are interested in enriching research in terms of methods and content; and in promoting artistic, curatorial, scholarly and institutional practices that deepen our appreciation of cultural heterogeneity, exchange, fostering international networks and interdisciplinary collaborations.


Initial research questions

Can we speak of a Global South in art and visual/culture? If so, what are the prerequisites to doing so? How important is considering regional and period-based specifications in the study of art and culture? Conversely, what are their limitations and how can these be overcome? What are the benefits of understanding plurality and art and ideas in motion? How global is the art canon, and how does understanding plurality and exchange affect its construction? What role does the Global South play in memory studies and material culture studies?


Key interests

(1) Enhancing scholarship on regional, non-canonical and under-represented art, theory and practice in the Global South; (2) Studying artistic exchanges and networks of artists and cultural practitioners across the Global South and beyond (3) Identifying hegemonic practices in art history and critically examining the centre/periphery binary; (4) Understanding cultural and artistic imperialism and coloniality, and determining their ramifications in thought and scholarship; (5) Seeking to develop more inclusive models of analysis of art, material culture and society; (6) Revisiting the art canon and reconsidering narratives of universal values, aesthetics and norms; (7) Developing comparative and collaborative research methodologies in a global context.


Benefits/Societal Relevance

Our focal point and methodologies promote critical thinking based on finding complexity, exploring different viewpoints, making comparisons and drawing connections across diversity and disciplines. In terms of societal relevance and value, our research helps cultivate conversations. In an era of globalization and mass migration, we develop a research ethos that is based on dialogue, respects inter-cultural exchanges, and embraces difference and plurality. Efforts at connecting decolonizing/decentering art histories, related disciplines and institutions cannot but help to engage directly in socio-political debates and – however often indirectly – be part of an effort to appreciate diversity, complexity and responsibility in and for democratic societies.



Research presentations by members of the group, lectures, courses, workshops, exhibitions, research- and reading (sub)groups, conferences, funding applications and joint publications.