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New Publication from PhD Candidate Ashley Bruckbauer

July 31, 2018

Congratulations to PhD candidate Ashley Bruckbauer, whose essay “Ambassadors à la turque: Assimilation and Dissimulation in Eighteenth-Century Images of French-Ottoman Diplomacy” was recently published in Tara Zanardi and Lynda Klich, eds., Visual Typologies from the Early Modern to the Contemporary: Local Contexts and Global Practices (New York: Routledge, 2019).


Fashion played an essential role in the performance of cultural and political identities in eighteenth-century France. This was especially true in diplomatic exchanges and depictions of diplomatic figures, who represented their king and country abroad. Cultural cross-dressing, or the assumption of foreign attire, complicated this function of costume, however. While art historians have examined cultural cross-dressing in eighteenth-century aristocratic portraiture and representations of masked balls, the ambassador has remained a peripheral figure in studies of the popular phenomenon. This essay situates diplomacy at the center of an analysis of French dressing à la turque, examining paintings of French and Ottoman ambassadors adopting the dress, customs, and accoutrements of their hosts. I analyze how these representations of French-Ottoman diplomacy engage with eighteenth-century diplomatic practices and theories as well as popular conceptions of the ambassador as a social type. Contemporary treatises advised diplomats to act as protean characters, assimilating the manners of their foreign hosts. Simultaneously, critiques of the profession characterized the ambassador’s shape-shifting abilities as signs of his duplicitous nature. I argue that images of diplomacy featuring cultural cross-dressing manifest these contested notions of the ambassador, casting the figure as both a sensitive intermediary and a deceptive performer.

Art History Alumna Hannah Clager named 2018 Pickering Fellow

June 12, 2018

Hannah Clager is one of two UNC alumni selected as 2018 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellows. Recipients of the Pickering Fellowship receive two years of financial support and professional development to prepare them for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Fellows also complete a domestic internship at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and an overseas internship at a U.S. embassy.

Managed and funded by the U.S. Department of State, consideration is given to qualified applicants who have displayed outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement. The fellowship aims to support those historically underrepresented in the U.S. Foreign Service, including women, minority groups and students with financial need.

Hannah Clager, from Lake Worth, Florida, will attend Harvard University this fall to pursue her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies. Her studies will focus on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa; human rights and refugee affairs; and cultural diplomacy in the region. Clager earned her bachelor’s degree in 2013 with a major in art history and a minor in African studies. At UNC-Chapel Hill, she completed her art history honors thesis on the 2012 Dakar Biennale after seven months of fieldwork in Dakar, Senegal. She worked as a full-time paralegal for close to three years and then spent 14 months in Morocco as a Fulbright Student Researcher beginning in 2016, where she studied Arabic and completed a case study of the new Mohammed VI Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Rabat.