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Bross Lectures will feature archaeologist Susan Alcock discussing “Some Archaeologies of Surveillance”

An internationally renowned archaeologist and MacArthur fellow, Susan E. Alcock, Professor of Classics and the Director for the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, will give a series of lectures entitled “Some Archaeologies of Surveillance” on April 1 and 2 at 6:00 p.m. and April 8 at 4:30 p.m. The lectures are part of the University of Chicago’s Department of Art History Louise Smith Bross Lecture Series and will be held at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the University of Chicago.

Surveillance is an inescapable aspect of our modern life: we live in a world of hidden cameras, electronic histories of what we view and buy, and satellite images of increasingly pinpoint resolution. But does the practice of surveillance possess a past? Did pre-modern peoples control and supervise others through close observation and deep scrutiny? The lecture series will debate this question, with art-historical and archaeological examples drawn particularly from the Mediterranean and the Near East. The evidence implies that surveillance is older and more pervasive than we may have previously realized.

Alcock will give the first lecture, entitled “Scanning and Planning: Modern Modes of Watching the Ancient World,” on April 1 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, in Fullerton Hall. The evening will begin with a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m. followed by the lecture at 6:30 p.m.

The second lecture, entitled “Spying and Crying: Ancient Modes of Watching the Ancient World,” will be on April 2 at 6:00 p.m. at the Art Institute of Chicago in Rubloff Auditorium.

The third lecture, “The Utility of Surveillance: Case Studies and Observations,” will be on April 8 at 4:30 p.m. It will take place at the University of Chicago’s Cochrane-Woods Art Center, 5540 South Greenwood Avenue, Room 157.

The lectures are free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Susan E. Alcock has published extensively on archaeologies of landscape, imperialism and memory, especially in the eastern half of the Roman Empire. She has conducted fieldwork in Greece and, most recently, Armenia. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Alcock is Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Joukowsky Family Professor of Archaeology and Professor of Classics at Brown University.

The Bross Lectures are a triennial series of lectures on any aspect of pre-1800 European art and architecture by a scholar, or scholars, of international reputation. They are supported by the Department of Art History’s Louise Smith Bross Memorial Fund which was endowed by John Bross in memory of his late wife Louise Smith Bross, who earned her doctorate in art history from the University of Chicago in 1994. The gift also funds the publication of the lectures by the University of Chicago Press. The prestige of the Bross Lectures is reflected in their public visibility: the first lecture in each series is always delivered at the Art Institute of Chicago, whose generous assistance and collegiality are gratefully acknowledged.

Contact Carl Nash at csnash@uchicago.edu or 773-702-7423 for further information.

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