The project of global art history calls for balanced treatment of artifacts and a unified approach. This volume emphasizes questions of transcultural encounters and exchanges as circulations. It presents a strategy that highlights the processes and connections among cultures, and also responds to the dynamics at work in the current globalized art world.
The editors’ introduction provides an account of the historical background to this approach to global art history, stresses the inseparable bond of theory and practice, and suggests a revaluation of materialist historicism as an underlying premise. Individual contributions to the book provide an overview of current reflection and research on issues of circulation in relation to global art history and the globalization of art past and present. They offer a variety of methods and approaches to the treatment of different periods, regions, and objects, surveying both questions of historiography and methodology and presenting individual case studies. An 'Afterword' by James Elkins gives a critique of the present project. The book thus deliberately leaves discussion open, inviting future responses to the large questions it poses.