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Queen's hosting Matariki colloquium

[Gauvin Bailey]
Gauvin Bailey (Art History), the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art, is the keynote speaker for the Religion Across the Humanities: A Matariki Humanities Colloquium. (University Communications) 

The role of religion within the humanities is the focus of an international conference being hosted by Queen’s University from Oct. 1-3.

Starting Thursday, Queen’s will host Religion Across the Humanities: A Matariki Humanities Colloquium, bringing together scholars from the seven member institutions of the Matariki Network of Universities.

The highlight of the event is the keynote presentation by Queen’s own Gauvin Bailey (Art History), the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art. Dr. Bailey will offer up an engaging talk, that is open to the public, entitled “The Spiritual Rococo: Décor and Divinity from the Salons of Paris to the Missions of Patagonia” on Thursday, from 6-6:45 pm in Speaker’s Corner, Stauffer Library.

In his presentation, Dr. Bailey will address some “fundamental conundrums” that impede the understanding of 18th-Century aesthetics, culture, and religion, including why Rococo, a profane, self-consciously private manner of ornamenting the French aristocratic home turned into one of the world’s most popular manifestations of the sacred and why is Rococo still treated as a decadent nemesis of the Enlightenment when the two had fundamental characteristics in common?

“I seek to answer these questions by treating Rococo as a global phenomenon and by exploring its moral and spiritual dimensions through the lens of populist French religious literature of the day—a body of work I call the ‘Spiritual Rococo,’” Dr. Bailey says. “I will trace Rococo’s development from France through Central Europe, Portugal, Brazil, and Spanish South America by considering the parallel diffusion of the style itself and the literature of the Spiritual Rococo in these same regions. One of my ultimate goals is to acknowledge Rococo’s essential modernity.”

He adds that such events hosted by the MNU are important because they bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines but with key interests in common.

“In this case the colloquium is focussed on religion, a critical aspect of research and teaching in many fields,” he says. “The opportunity for cross-disciplinary dialogue made possible by the Matariki Humanities Colloquium make these connections happen.”

The MNU is an international group of leading, like-minded universities. Along with Queen’s, member institutions include: Dartmouth College (US); Durham University (England); Uppsala University (Sweden; University of Tubingen (Germany); University of Western Australia; and University of Otago (New Zealand).

Dr. Bailey also is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Correspondent Étranger, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Institut de France.