Call for Papers | The Spaces of Art

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 24, 2012

From the project website:

The Spaces of Arts: Thinking the National and Transnational in a Global Perspective
Purdue University, 27-29 September 2012

Proposals due by 15 May 2012

Katherine E. Bash, "Compass Rose, Floating Point Operation," 2008.

Is art history global enough to take up the challenge of cultural mixing, transnationalism, internationalization, and globalization, without neglecting cultural nationalisms and artistic territorialization processes, which are the fabric of our discipline? How do we understand the relationships between circulations, globalizations, and the production of ethnicity or nationality in the arts? What strategies can we develop, besides narration and description, to write a new history of the arts that escapes both historiographical nationalism and blind globalism, while paying due to the national and transnational dimensions of artistic creation?

In response to these questions the École normale supérieure in Paris (ENS-Ulm) and Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel launched a vast research project in 2009. The ambition was to study arts and letters in a socio-spatial perspective that takes into account the spatial turn of Social Sciences. The result is ARTLAS, a digital atlas of arts and literature history which combines spatial, social, cultural, and esthetic questionings, with a narrative/descriptive approach, and visualization techniques, including charts and maps created with GIS technologies (Geographic Information Service).

The reliance on a cartographic approach and multi-scale analysis grows from the conviction that we can transform the geohistorical reflections that Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann presented in Toward a Geography of Art (2004) into maps, and that the atlas model can contribute to meeting the challenge of global art history James Elkins exposed with Is Art History Global? (2006). Still, the format of ARTLAS is motivated by the conviction that we cannot separate the analysis of artistic circulations and globalization from the study of territorialization of artistic practices.

In order to present ARTLAS on the American continents and engage in a dialogue with American scholars, the ENS is teaming with Purdue University to organize a conference which will take place on September 27-29, 2012 at Purdue. We have invited Professor DaCosta Kaufmann and Professor Elkins to present their respective takes on a global art history and the use of maps as art historical tools, while philosopher Edward S. Casey will address the links between art and maps.

We are now inviting scholars, whose research is grounded in socio-spatial analysis and/or aims at meeting the daunting challenge of ubiquity in art history, to join the conversation and offer their perspectives. We welcome papers that explore the connection between the national and transnational in a global perspective for any object, period, and place in the history of arts and letters.

On Saturday morning, a round table discussion animated by Professor David Lubin will provide the opportunity to reflect on everyone’s propositions, debate, and hopefully come up with concrete directions for the discipline. During the conference, The Atlas for Experimental Poiesis, an exhibition by London based artist Katherine E. Bash, will allow us to consider cartography in contemporary artistic practices. Papers and discussions generated by the conference will be published as a special issue of the ARTLAS Bulletin, a new publication series of the ENS in early 2013.

Please send inquiries and proposals of no more than 500 words, along with a short CV, to the conference organizers, Catherine Dossin (cdossin@purdue.edu) and Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (beatrice.joyeuxprunel@ens.fr) before 15 May 2012. The proposals will be reviewed by our scientific committee. Those accepted to present at the conference will be notified by June 15.

Scientific Committee: Edward S. Casey (Stony Brook University), Christophe Charle (Paris Sorbonne), Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann (Princeton Univ.), Catherine Dossin (Purdue Univ.), James Elkins (Art Institute of Chicago), Michel Espagne (Labex TransferS), Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (ENS), Ségolène Le Men (Univ. Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense), David Lubin (Wake Forest Univ.), and Blaise Wilfert-Portal (ENS).

For more information on the conference, see: http://www.spacesofarts.org

For more information on ARTLAS, see: http://artlas.ens.fr

3 Responses

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  1. Dr. John Finlay said, on March 25, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Interesting idea, but how come the ARTLAS’s “global approach to art history” is driven by an organising committee that is full of European or North American academics?

    For example, an approach like this might just benefit from having, from the outset, Pacific writers artists and academics on the organising committee? Art history’s constructions are so very often often created, viewed and determined from a European perspective, and it would be nice to see a Pacific viewpoint.

    Just a thought.

  2. Editor said, on March 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks, John, for the response. I’m hardly in a position to answer on behalf of the ARTLAS project since I’m in in no way affiliated with it. And so this is just speculation from an outsider: I suspect the organizing committee is tied to interests in the area of global art history and, above all, to the funding. Nothing in either precludes your sensible suggestion, but these two perhaps trumped inclusion at the organizing level. My understanding is that at this point in the process, the program would be delighted to have Pacific viewpoints — viewpoints of all sorts. The conference at Purdue is intended, I think, to bring in scholars working on all sorts of topics. -CH

    • Jon Finlay said, on March 27, 2012 at 2:51 am

      Thanks for the info,

      I did not mean to be negative. The project sounds great. It was just an observation and it will be fascinating to see how it develops. Perhaps I was being devilish: for I too am a European specialist in French twentieth century art (I actually did my MA and PhD at Coutauld Instutute of Art), but I am based here in New Zealand! I have been toying with a project based on the rough idea of ‘Surrealism (or rather Surrealist imaginnings) and the Pacific’. I am also interested in the South American angle (Mesoamerican art/influences, but flowing both ways). So your project drew my attention.

      Anyhow, many thanks and good luck with everything.

      Best wishes and kindest regards,


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