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Call for Papers: Conference on American Art & Trade

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 14, 2009
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Custom House, Salem, Massachusetts, 1819 (Photo by Torsten Henning, Wikimedia Commons)

Visual Arts and Global Trade in the Early American Republic

Salem, Massachusetts, March 6, 2010 (tentative date)

Proposals Due September 10

American participation in global trade increased dramatically during the Early Republic. American ships ventured beyond the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn to expand direct contact with China, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and other parts of the Pacific world. This trade brought widespread access to Asian arts and other visual materials and profoundly influenced American visual arts. While much of the literature on the arts of the Early Republic has focused on building nationalism in the wake of the Revolution, this conference investigates the state of early American internationalism. How did global trade contribute to knowledge and culture in the Early Republic, particularly in the arts? We invite papers and proposals that examine the impact of global trade from the 1780s to the 1840s on all aspects of visual art production: painting, sculpture, architecture, garden design, ceramics, furniture, silver, wallpaper, textiles, fashion, and other media. We also invite papers on the transmission of artistic ideas—through eyewitness accounts, illustrated books and prints, imported images and objects, museum collections, patronage, art markets, and other topics.

Honoraria and travel support for speakers are available through a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Organizing institutions include Salem State College, the Salem Maritime Historical Site (National Park Service), and the Salem Athenaeum. The conference will provide opportunities to tour Salem’s magnificent Federalist architecture and museum collections.

To submit proposals for papers, please send an abstract (300 to 500 words) and a brief c.v. via email to pjohnston@salemstate.edu. Proposals may also be submitted by mail to Visual Arts and Global Trade conference, c/o Patricia Johnston, Art Department, Salem State College, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem MA 01970. Proposals must be received by September 10, 2009. Speakers should be willing to revise their papers for later publication. Texts and visuals for the presentations are due in December 2009.

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