10th Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium "Contretemps"

When and Where

Friday, October 13, 2023 2:00 pm to Saturday, October 14, 2023 6:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street, 1st floor


Erin Y. Huang
SeungJung Kim


What brings Walter Benjamin to conceptualize “messianic time”? What is time to a modern, imperial, and colonial power, and what is it to a contemporary multinational “Empire” that has spread across the planet in ever-increasing ways? Through what process do unfoldings or rhythms of temporality, Pierre Vidal-Naquet’s “divine time” and “human time,” diverge from or overlay one another? How does time operate in Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s “Undercommons”—if it looks fugitive, is it ethical to define it? How does time’s orientation reverse its trajectory within moments of culture-shift, as in Francis Dunn’s “present shock”? From Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood’s “anachronism” to Pamela Lee’s “chronophobia,” what gave/gives time its place in art history? How do tropes get appropriated, haunting generations of spectators? If there is “slow cinema,” can there be “fast cinema”? This symposium hopes to convene thoughts on time within a shared plane, recognizing the necessity for power struggles without reinforcing positions of temporal marginality or centrality.

The Annual Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium is the annual symposium for the Graduate Union of Students of Art (GUStA) at the University of Toronto. It was inaugurated in 2014 as an enduring legacy and fond tribute to our esteemed late colleague Dr. Jens T. Wollesen. Dr. Wollesen joined the Department of Art at the University of Toronto in 1985. He specialized in the art of medieval Italy, Cyprus, and the Mediterranean basin with a particular focus on the relationship between image and text. He is also remembered as a professor dedicated to his pedagogical calling. He was the director of both the undergraduate and graduate programs at various times, and also served on the Art Committee of the University of Toronto’s Victoria University. His dedication as a professor led him to design a first-year Introductory Art History course which was widely acknowledged by students as legendary. His dedication to both graduate and undergraduate education remains his legacy, for which the yearly success of this symposium is a testament. It is made possible by the continuing support of his friends and family through the Jens Wollesen Memorial Fund.

This year, GUStA continues the tribute with a symposium entitled “Contretemps.”

Contact Information


Department of Art History


170 St. George Street, 1st floor