After in-depth discussions and explorations of various avenues for collaboration, FLAME University and Wellesley College signed a partnership to facilitate international academic exchange, and support collaborative research activities. Under the agreement, international collaborative activities between the two institutions include but are not limited to: curriculum development, research, faculty exchanges, student exchanges, and of experiential learning programs, like FLAME's flagship Discover India Program, among other academic areas.
As part of the faculty exchange initiative between the two institutes, Dr. Liza Oliver, Assistant Professor of Art at Wellesley College, is at FLAME to teach a course titled, “Imperial Entanglements: Art and Colonialism in the 19th Century.”
Dr. Liza has completed her B.A. from the University of North Florida and M.A. from University of South Florida; and has a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is an art historian focusing on 18th-19th century Europe and South Asia, colonialism, Indian Ocean trade, and intersections of art and science. Her research concerns aesthetic and intellectual exchange between Europe and South Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and attendant methods for interpreting material culture in cross-cultural settings both within and beyond colonial frameworks. She is particularly interested in the transition from mercantile to colonial forms of interchange and how visual culture is integral to understanding such a momentous shift in the structure of the world.
Her current book project, Empire of Hunger: Representing Famine and the Colonial Body Politic in British India, explores how the ongoing epidemics of famine in South Asia during British rule, which killed approximately 60 million Indians, were visually constructed in relation to the British colonial state apparatus. It argues that representations of famine actively worked to justify or critique the British presence in India as they simultaneously came to define Indian and British understandings of modern atrocity-preventable disaster caused by a moral and civic failure-articulated through the bodies of colonial subjects.
Her first book project, Forging French India: Art, Science, and Diplomacy in the Early Modern Era, which is currently in review, explores the integration of the French East India Company with the eighteenth-century textile industries of India’s southeast coast to examine three main themes: Indian textiles’ role in in the emergence of global capitalism and the slave trade, the contributions of Indian textile producers to European botanical study, and the role of Tamil merchants in developing French trade in India and the Indian Ocean.
Liza is here at FLAME University to take a course covering topics such as Introduction to Colonialism, Culture, and Aesthetics; Slavery, Liberalism, and Revolution in the West Indies; The East India Company: From Traders to Colonists; Indian Trade, the Industrialization of Craft, and Universal Expositions; Harem and Brothel: Constructions of Women from Tangier to Tahiti; Photographic Practices of Imperialism; and Episodes from Nationalism and Independence.
We at FLAME University welcome Prof. Liza Oliver and look forward to more such faculty exchanges with Wellesley College in the coming future.