“Archaeology, Object History, Art History: Questions of Definition and Discipline.”

The 2017 Plenary Address will be given by Professor Emerita Irene J. Winter, former William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts, Harvard University.

Born in New York City, Irene Winter received her AB in Anthropology from Barnard College (1960), her MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of Chicago (1967), and her PhD from Columbia University in the History of Art and Archaeology (1973). She taught at Queens College, CUNY, from 1971-1976, at the University of Pennsylvania from 1976-1988, and is presently Boardman Professor of Fine Arts Emerita at Harvard University, having served on the faculty from 1988 to 2009, and as Department Chair from 1993-1996. In 1996-97 she was Slade Professor at Cambridge University, delivering the Slade Lectures in the Spring of 1997. She subsequently delivered the Flexner Lectures at Bryn Mawr College in 1999, and in the Spring of 2005 presented the Andrew H. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery in Washington DC.

Prof. Winter has participated in archaeological excavations at Godin Tepe and Hasanlu, Iran, and at Tell Sakhariyeh, Iraq, with additional comparative fieldwork in India.  Her awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship (1983-88), along with an Olivia James travel Grant of the Archaeological Institute of America, and a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Fellowship. She was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999, was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2003-4, was named a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, in 2005, received the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in 2009, and was designated an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in 2013, and was recently elected to the American Philosophical Society.

She has served on the Board of the College Art Association, several editorial and grants boards, and the Scientific Committee of the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East since its inception in 1998. She has also been a member of the Iraq Task Force of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Her principal work has been devoted to the art and archaeology of the Ancient Near East, writing on topics ranging from ivory carving and cylinder seals to royal sculpture. Throughout her career, her stress has been on the relationship between the visual arts, language, history and culture in an attempt to join empirical data with theory in an inter-disciplinary context. Two volumes of collected essays, published by Brill, appeared in 2010, entitled On Art in the Ancient Near East. The Mellon lectures will be published as Visual Affect: Aesthetic Experience and Ancient Mesopotamia.