16 episodes

EMPIRE LINES uncovers the unexpected, often two-way, flows of Empires through art.

Interdisciplinary thinkers use individual artworks as artefacts of imperial exchange, revealing the how and why of the monolith ‘Empire’.

MUSIC: Combinación // The Dubbstyle.

COVER ART: Claudia Chan.

PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.

Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

EMPIRE LINES EMPIRE LINES

    • Society & Culture

EMPIRE LINES uncovers the unexpected, often two-way, flows of Empires through art.

Interdisciplinary thinkers use individual artworks as artefacts of imperial exchange, revealing the how and why of the monolith ‘Empire’.

MUSIC: Combinación // The Dubbstyle.

COVER ART: Claudia Chan.

PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.

Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    Illustration of the Empress Visiting a Field Hospital (in Hiroshima), Kobayashi Kiyochika (1895)

    Illustration of the Empress Visiting a Field Hospital (in Hiroshima), Kobayashi Kiyochika (1895)

    Dr. Alison Miller depicts the domestic and feminine faces of 19th century Japanese imperialism, in Kobayashi Kiyochika’s Illustration of the Empress Visiting a Field Hospital (in Hiroshima).

    The public-facing imperial family was a modern invention to Meiji Japan (1868-1912). Paparazzid in popular woodblock prints, Empress Shōken appeared in battlefields and blossom groves, symbolising Japan’s shifting political landscape. But beyond propaganda, Illustration of the Empress hints at the interplay between printers, publishers, and popular markets, revealing how the public invested and participated in the national, imperial project. Challenging our masculine and overseas stereotypes, this print unveils how different Japanese women constructed the scaffolding of empire on the home front and with soft power.

    PRESENTER: Dr. Alison J. Miller, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She specialises in modern and contemporary Japanese art history, with a focus on representations of gender, women, and the imperial family.

    ART: Illustration of the Empress Visiting a Field Hospital (in Hiroshima), Kobayashi Kiyochika (1895).

    IMAGE: ‘Illustration of the Empress Visiting a Field Hospital [in Hiroshima] (Yasen byōin gyōkō no zu)’.

    SOUNDS: Difondo.

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 13 min
    Listening to Empire: Making Podcasts with Producer Jelena Sofronijevic (EMPIRE LINES x Retrospect Live Event)

    Listening to Empire: Making Podcasts with Producer Jelena Sofronijevic (EMPIRE LINES x Retrospect Live Event)

    Retrospect Journal is joined by Audio Producer Jelena Sofronijevic to unpack their ongoing series, EMPIRE LINES.

    EMPIRE LINES uncovers the unexpected, often two-way flows of Empires through art. From the radical anti-capitalist cartoons of 1920s Southern Africa, to Eastern-inspired azulejos in seventeenth-century Portugal, interdisciplinary thinkers use individual artworks as artefacts of imperial exchange, revealing the how and why of the monolith ‘Empire’.

    But what are the ideas underlying EMPIRE LINES? And how do you go about podcasting the past? In this live event, Jelena offers a behind-the-scenes look at the series, along with some of the podcast’s most prolific presenters.

    Listening to Empire: Making Podcasts with Producer Jelena Sofronijevic was held and recorded on Thursday 8 April 2021. You can read the full interview on Retrospect Journal.



    PRESENTER: Jamie Gemmell, Editor-In-Chief of Retrospect Journal, the University of Edinburgh’s student-led History, Classics, and Archaeology journal. You can find Retrospect on Twitter (@retrospecthca), Facebook and Instagram (@retrospectjournal).

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 47 min
    The Magnificent Seven (Port of Spain), Trinidad (c. 1902-1910)

    The Magnificent Seven (Port of Spain), Trinidad (c. 1902-1910)

    Historian Gérard Besson uncovers the colonial foundations of Caribbean cosmopolitanism, through the Magnificent Seven (Port of Spain), in Trinidad.

    Seven magnificent buildings, each unique in design and craftsmanship, overlook Trinidad’s annual Caribbean Carnival along the Queen’s Park Savannah. Amongst them, a Moorish-inspired Corsican manor, a Scottish castle, a New England country house, an Archbishop’s Romanesque palace, and a French colonial complex stand side-by-side. Designed by European architects in the final days of the Trinidad Raj, and built with local materials and labour, the Magnificent Seven were yet the shared spoils of the island’s new cocoa economy. Their extravagance visually reflects Trinidad as the most cosmopolitan – though undervoiced – experiment in British colonialism.

    PRESENTER: Gérard Besson, Trinidad-based historian, fiction writer, and author of the ‘Caribbean History Archives’. He is the Chairman and Publisher of Paria Publishing Company Limited, which has produced over 160 titles on the history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Lifetime Achiever Heritage Preservation Award from the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, and an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies.

    ART: The Magnificent Seven (Port of Spain), Trinidad (c. 1902-1910).

    IMAGE: ‘Killarney (Stollmeyer’s Castle)’.

    SOUNDS: Nick Barrett.

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 17 min
    Two Islamic Bronzes with Al-Mulk Inscription (c. 10th Century)

    Two Islamic Bronzes with Al-Mulk Inscription (c. 10th Century)

    Dr. Glaire Anderson traces artistic and intellectual interpretations of sovereignty within Islam, through two 10th century bronzes bearing the inscription, al-mulk.

    Bronzes bearing the Arabic word for sovereignty, al-mulk, were popular luxuries traded across the medieval Islamic territories. But these two objects - a large basin, and a small bowl – were both discovered far from home at opposite ends of Eurasia, in Inner Mongolia, and southern Spain. Remote yet related, they reveal how cultural hegemony wrestled with adaptation, religion with secularism, and tradition with modernity, exposing a period of transhemispheric modernisation.

    PRESENTER: Dr. Glaire Anderson, senior lecturer in Islamic Art and founder of the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture and Collections at the University of Edinburgh.

    ART: Two Islamic Bronzes with Al-Mulk Inscription (c. 10th Century).

    IMAGE: ‘Metalware Bowl (probably High-Tin Bronze) with Al-Mulk Epigraphy’. 

    SOUNDS: Sherita.

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 12 min
    Self-Portrait of the Artist in Macau, George Chinnery (c. 1844)

    Self-Portrait of the Artist in Macau, George Chinnery (c. 1844)

    Art critic Laura Gascoigne portrays the connections between British colonial and cultural opportunism, through George Chinnery’s 1840s Self-Portrait, of the Artist in Macau.

    George Chinnery (1774-1852) was no oil painting. Escaping piling debts and parental duties, he pursued lucrative portrait markets in India and on the China coast. The Bengali and Macanese landscapes tucked within his final self-portrait hint at his remarkably transnational tale. But beneath Chinnery’s mischievous surface lie the less picturesque realities - of opium, orientalism, and overt exploitation of local populations. As British colonialism offered opportunities to those couldn't make it at home, so too did it often depend on such adventurers and rejects for its very survival.

    PRESENTER: Laura Gascoigne, art critic and commentator, and member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

    ART: Self-Portrait of the Artist in Macau, George Chinnery (c. 1844).

    IMAGE: ‘George Chinnery’.

    SOUNDS: Albert Glasser.

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 15 min
    Replica of the Kudara Kannon, Niiro Chunosuke (1931-1932)

    Replica of the Kudara Kannon, Niiro Chunosuke (1931-1932)

    Dr. Angus Lockyer detonates bids to define imperial Japan’s historical and artistic identities, through Niiro Chunosuke’s 1930s replica of the Kudara Kannon.

    6000 miles from home, in the British Museum, stands one of two replicas of a Japanese national treasure. But most visitors pass her by, in search of samurai armour, elegant pottery, and woodblock prints. Though carved in Japan, the original and replicas of the Kudara Kannon tell us much about the archipelago's relationship with the Asian continent and the wider world. Used over the centuries to cement power and identity, the Kudara Kannon shows us how even the proudest empires depend on ideas from elsewhere.

    PRESENTER: Dr. Angus Lockyer, Visiting Scholar in the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He formerly taught Japanese, East Asian, and global history at SOAS University of London (2004-2019), and was a Co-Investigator in the SOAS-British Museum research project, Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society.

    ART: Replica of the Kudara Kannon, Niiro Chunosuke (1931-1932).

    IMAGE: ‘Replica of Bodhisattva Kudara Kwannon figure, made of painted wood’.

    SOUNDS: Pauline Oliveros, Miya Masaoka.

    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.



    Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936

    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

    • 13 min

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