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Kenan Speaker Series Lecture: Maggie Cao, Picturing Botanical Imperialism in the Americas

Flagler College welcomes Maggie Cao on Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 6:00pm as a part of a Kenan Speaker Series: “Ways of Seeing Climate Change”.  Cao is a scholar of eighteenth and nineteenth-century American art.  Through her professorship at UNC Chapel Hill, she studies the history of globalization with a concentration on the intersections of art and the history of technology, natural science, and economics.

She will dive into the work of renowned nineteenth-century American landscape painter, Frederic Edwin Church, exploring his paintings of Jamaican flora. Specifically, how Church’s paintings engaged scientific knowledge, cultural beliefs, and practical uses of that region’s plants with political and imperialistic contexts of that period.

Organized by Flagler’s Kenan Distinguished Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual Arts, Chris Balaschak, this series intends to foster critical and timely discussions about the power of art and media to inform our understanding of climate change, environmental justice, and our planet’s uncertain destiny. The series is funded in part by the Kenan Family Foundation. Past presenters include other scholars of higher education like a University of Missouri-Kansas City professor of Art History and Latin American studies, Joe Hartman.


*Frederic Edwin Church, Tree Fern, Jamaica, 1865, brush and oil paint, graphite on cream paperboard (Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum)


Crisp-Ellert Art Museum at Flagler College
48 Sevilla Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084 United States
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