For Immediate Release
March 30, 2023


Williamstown, Massachusetts—On Tuesday, April 18, the Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program hosts a talk by Research and Academic Program Fellow Shundana Yusaf, who explores the dynamic exchange between listeners, sound, and space in the tomb of Lal Shabaz Marwandi. The free lecture takes place at 5:30 pm in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.

Located in Sehwan, Pakistan, the tomb of Lal Shahbaz Marwandi is the most cacophonous shrine in South Asia. Every night thousands of predominantly poor and orally educated supplicants gather in the courtyard outside the resonant dome to dance to deafening drums. Today, twice as many women participate as men. Yusaf’s presentation describes the role of the dance and drumming in the restructuring of the shrine as a feminist crossroad. The exchange between the bodies, air, and walls traps the listener into a relationship between sound and space, similar to the diachronic nature of all gift economies. The interdependency between the agency of sound, space, and women is not lost on anyone and therefore zealously renewed, night after night, for almost 750 years.

Shundana Yusafشندانه یوسف is associate professor of architectural history and theory at the school of architecture at the Uni­versity of Utah in Salt Lake City. Her scholarship juxtaposes colonial and postcolonial history with sound studies in architecture, framing each as a force of globalization. She is the author of Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927–1945 (MIT Press, 2014), and the coordinator and primary author of SAH Archipedia Utah (University of Virginia Press, 2019). Together with Ole Fischer, she is the founding editor of Dialectic: A Journal of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah. At the Clark, she will complete the manuscript of her third book, The Resonant Tomb: A Feminist History of Sufi Shrines in Pakistan.

Free; no registration is required. A reception at 5 pm in the Manton Research Center reading room precedes the program. For more information, visit

The next Research and Academic Program lecture is presented by Kobena Mercer (Bard College/Clark Professor 2022–23), who reexamines the role of shadow and luminosity in works by painter Norman Lewis and photographer Roy DeCarava. The event takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 pm.

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of some 300,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Admission is free January through March and is $20 from March through December; admission is free year-round for Clark members, all visitors age 21 and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is also available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; and EBT Card to Culture. For information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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