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Haseltine Lecture by Anne Higonnet: The Useable Arts of the Enlightenment

How might we rethink the “decorative arts” as being, instead, the “usable arts”? This lecture proposes related language, digital, and pedagogic tactics. Why say usable? How does digital technology promote the usable qualities of objects? How can students create usable public knowledge?

Anne Higonnet is a professor of art history at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York.

Anne Higonnet works on the history of art since the seventeenth century, on childhood, and on collecting. A 1980 Harvard College BA, she received her PhD from Yale University in 1988. She is now Professor of Art History at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her work has been supported by Guggenheim, Getty, and Social Science Research Council fellowships, as well as by grants from the Howard and Kress Foundations. She has published five print books and many essays. In 2014, together with students, she organized an exhibition, course, catalog, article, and website project on Anna Hyatt Huntington’s 1902-1936 New York City sculpture. In spring of 2015, she launched a digital humanities seminar on the material world of the Enlightenment, funded by the Mellon Foundation. She lectures widely to public audiences, including in the Metropolitan Museum of Art “Events Program.”  Her most recent publication is an Op-Ed in the Congressional magazine The Hill, in favor of putting Sojourner Truth on a new US $20 bill.