Faculty Pub Night Featuring Melody Rod-ari

Please join us on November 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the library for our third Faculty Pub Night of the 2018-2019 season, featuring Melody Rod-ari, Assistant Professor of Art History at LMU’s College of Communication and Fine Arts. Rod-ari will discuss her chapter, “Returning ‘Home’: The Journey and Afterlife of Repatriated Objects” in the forthcoming book, Sourcing the Arts of South Asia: Culture of Collecting (University of Florida Press).

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About the Author’s Work

“Returning ‘Home’: The Journey and Afterlife of Repatriated Objects” explores the role of the colonial enterprise on the collecting, display, and more recently, the restitution of art objects in and from American and European museum collections. Art museums big and small, private and public, ethnographic or encyclopedic in nature all contain within them objects that were made long ago and often far away. Increasingly, museums in the West have been asked to return objects to their places of origin. The call for repatriation of such objects are often couched in language intending to restore cultural heritage and to unite fragmented works of art to one another or to their original sites; however, the desire for their return is often politically motivated. Once returned these objects become centerpieces for political exhibitionism, and the intent for them to aid in the restoration of context to a destroyed archeological site, installation in a place of active worship or display in a local museum is not always realized. This book chapter examines the journey of several repatriated works from South and Southeast Asia that have been returned to their places of origin and their lives after returning “home.” This essay is part of a larger examination of Indian art collecting that will be published in Sourcing the Arts of South Asia: Culture of Collecting by the University of Florida Press, David A. Cofrin Asian Art Manuscript Series, in spring 2019.

About the Author

Melody Rod-ari is an Assistant Professor of Art History. Prior to her post at LMU, she was curator of Asian art at the Norton Simon Museum. In addition to teaching, she also curates and recently oversaw the redesign and rehanging of the South and Southeast Asian galleries at the USC, Pacific Asia Museum. Her research investigates the development and evolution of Buddhist art in Southeast Asia with focus on modern and contemporary Buddhist visual culture in Thailand. Professor Rod-ari’s work also examines the history of collecting and displaying South and Southeast Asian art in American and European museums. Her work has been published by the National Art Education Association, UC Press, and Oxford University Press among others. Dr. Rod-ari has received various fellowships including those from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About Faculty Pub Night

Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and any members of the public are all invited to the 2018-2019 series of Faculty Pub Night at the William H. Hannon Library. Eight LMU professors (four per semester) are selected annually to discuss their latest publication or project in a comfortable setting and format that welcomes diverse perspectives for an inclusive conversation aimed to educate the entire community. All Faculty Pub Nights are free and open to the public. Pub refreshments and snacks will be served courtesy of the William H. Hannon Library.

For more information about this event, contact John Jackson, Head of Outreach & Communications for the William H. Hannon Library, at (310) 338-5234 or john.jackson@lmu.edu.