Call for Papers | ASECS 2015 in Los Angeles

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 20, 2014


Herman Moll, To the Right Honourable John Lord Sommers…This Map of North America according to ye Newest and most Exact observations, 23 x 38 inches (London: H. Moll, ca. 1715). “California was depicted on maps as an island. . . even after Father Kino established its penisularity about 1705,” The Philadelphia Print Shop. The official date for the founding of the city of Los Angeles is September 4, 1781.

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2015 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference
Los Angeles, 19–22 March 2015

Proposals due by 15 September 2014


Finished in 1976, the 35-story Westin Bonaventure Hotel is the largest hotel in the city, the work of John Portman, one of the world’s most influential hotel architects.

The 2015 ASECS conference takes place in Los Angeles, 19–22 March, at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Along with our annual luncheon and business meeting, HECAA will be represented by two panels chaired by Meredith Martin and Noémie Etienne and Amy Freund. In addition to these, a selection of sessions that might be relevant for HECAA members are included below. Editing the selection seems more difficult each year, but this year was especially so as there are lots of options that will be of interest to members, though specific topics may not be geared exclusively or primarily toward art historical materials. A full list
of panels is available as a PDF file here»

Those attending the conference may also find useful Ben Loeterman’s film John Portman: A Life of Building, which documents the work of the conference hotel’s architect. A less adulatory assessment comes from Edward Soja’s 1989 book, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, quoted in the Wikipedia entry for the Westin Bonaventure.

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Anne Schroder New Scholars’ Session (HECAA)
Amy Freund, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; aefreund@gmail.com

Named in honor of the late Anne Schroder, this seminar will feature outstanding new research by emerging scholars.

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Pilgrim Arts of the Eighteenth Century (HECAA)
Meredith Martin, Dept. of Art History, New York University, 303 Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East, New York, New York 10003; msm240@nyu.edu and Noémie Etienne, Institute of Fine Arts.

Inspired by Robert Finlay’s description of porcelain as the “pilgrim art,” this session aims to track the movement and changing materiality of artworks across time, space, and culture during the long eighteenth century. Materiality, along with an interest in displacements, manipulations, and artisanal practices, plays an essential role in art history today. Examining the way art objects were treated, transported, and transformed helps us to understand how they were perceived and reimagined in new physical and cultural environments. Paying attention to gestures, materials, and techniques—as well as to individuals, such as restorers, who mediated between artworks, artists, and the public, is an efficient way to “repeupler les mondes de l’art,” (“repopulate the worlds of art”), according to Bruno Latour. It also enables us to go further with some traditional art historical questions—such as authorship, expertise, or authenticity—while opening onto new methodological perspectives. Topics may explore any of these issues or introduce new ones related to materiality and mobility. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural investigations are especially encouraged.

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Defoe and Architecture (Daniel Defoe Society)
Rivka Swenson, Dept. of English, Virginia Commonwealth University, 900 Park Ave., P.O. Box 842005, Richmond, Virginia 23284-2005; rswenson@vcu.edu

An Act of Union like a mighty arch. A three-sided school for women. A basketwork beehive house for multiple families to live in. A house made entirely from china. A history like a maze. Defoe’s ideas and characters and things rarely exist in empty space but are instead articulated within discrete physical (or metaphorically physicalized), indeed architectural, contexts. This Defoe Society panel is devoted to thinking about the ways in which architecture, as both reality and metaphor, figures prominently across Daniel Defoe’s writings; Defoe was as interested in finding the right architectural metaphors to describe a given idea or character or thing as he was in describing how the real world (both material and immaterial) is expressed within specific formal-spatial-architectural contexts. Please send (via email) 500-word abstracts for 20-minute papers.

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Digging Italy (Italian Studies Caucus)
Wendy Wassyng Roworth, Dept. Art and Art History, University of Rhode Island, 112 Slater Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02906; wroworth@uri.edu

Digging and documenting the remains of Italy’s past were activities pursued as both scientific and profit-making ventures during the eighteenth century, and ancient sculptures and artifacts were sold and sent abroad by foreigners and Italian dealers. Other aspects of Italian culture were appropriated by foreigners in Italy as well as at home in England, Germany, France, Russia, and elsewhere—Italian opera, music, art, science, and literature—and Italian artists, musicians, and writers traveled to perform or work abroad. Italian culture was enjoyed and appreciated (‘digging it’) yet Italians themselves were often criticized (‘taking a dig’) for their customs, habits, food, etc. This session will explore all aspects of these cultural exchanges and attitudes in the visual arts, literature, criticism, travel accounts and other historical records.

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American Latium: American Artists in and around Rome in the Age of the Grand Tour (Italian Studies Caucus)
Karin Elizabeth Wolfe, Via Alberico II 33, Rome 00193, Italy; karinewolfe@tiscali.it

The Italian Grand Tour of American artists, including painters, architects and sculptors, is generally considered a typically nineteenth-century phenomenon. American Latium intends to analyze the origins and progression of this phenomenon in Rome and Lazio beginning in the 1760s. Specifically, it is hoped to examine the evolution of the figure of the American artist in the cultural context of Grand Tour travelers, ranging from the painters Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, both still deeply rooted in the system of the British Grand Tour, through personalities such as the architect Charles Bulfinch—in Rome in 1786—up to the landscapist and poet Washington Allston and his contemporaries, who contributed to the creation of an autonomous American Grand Tour identity, later ideally embodied by the émigré American painter and essayist Thomas Cole. Cole’s critical affirmations regarding the profound aesthetic differences between the historicizing landscapes depicting Rome and Lazio and the romantic naturalism inspired by New World landscapes are representative of the culmination and implications of a cultural process of fertile poetic and literary exchange that constitute the thematic threads of this session. Contributors are invited to address not only the fruition of the aesthetic perception of Rome and Lazio on the part of American artists, but moreover to explore the reception of a distinct American national cultural identity on the international society that constituted the Italian Grand Tour.

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Storms: Robust, Turbulent, and Extreme Weather in Art, Science, Literature, Music, and Philosophy (South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies)
Kevin L. Cope, Dept. of English, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803; jovialintelligence@cox.net or encope@lsu.edu

Favorite riffs, phrases, and motifs such as the ‘light of reason’, ‘the sun king’, and ‘the Enlightenment’ give the impression that the long eighteenth century abounded in fair weather. Had it not been for inclement episodes, however, our world would not have benefited from Ben Franklin’s electrifying kite-and-key experiment, nor would we have given the time of day to Defoe’s and Falconer’s charming stories of tempest-induced shipwrecks. This panel will look at the full range of rough weather, from paintings that reveal the ferocity of the heavens and the seas to the first efforts in meteorology to tympani solos resounding of thunder and on to philosophical speculations on the utility of the acrimonious action of the air. For this topic, the sky’s the limit!

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The Circuit of Apollo: Women’s Tributes to Women in the Long Eighteenth Century (Roundtable) (Women’s Caucus Scholarly Panel)
Laura L. Runge, Dept. of English, CPR107, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620; runge@usf.edu

In honor of the Women’s Caucus 40th anniversary, and the planned celebration honoring the work of our female academic pioneers, the scholarly panel for the Women’s Caucus focuses on eighteenth-century examples of female commemorations. Turning away from the patriarchal, heterosexual paradigm of sexual chastity, this panel puts a twist on eighteenth-century notions of ‘female honor’ and foregrounds memorable or remembered female relationships among women. From the Anne Finch poem of our title, to the Duchess of Portland’s gold and enameled friendship box of miniature portraits, to Austen’s famous commendation of Radcliffe, Edgeworth and Burney in Northanger Abbey, eighteenth-century women participated in a femino-centric discourse of praise and collegiality that bears further scrutiny. Though these examples are from England, the panel is open to commemorations from other national contexts as well. Such tributes include dedications, inscriptions, personal letters, gifts, portraits, poems, songs, and any notable artistic (or otherwise) expression of gratitude, friendship or respect. What forms did female tributes take and how might formal and gender analysis intersect? How might these examples inform our understanding of sociability, sexuality, gender, friendship, professionalism, education, materiality, embodiment or emotion? What does it mean to historicize female tribute and how do we reanimate the objectified emotional bond of the past? This panel seeks to place up to six presenters on the subject of women’s tributes to women. We ask for proposals for 10-minute presentations on the tribute, preferably with some form of representation (visual image, auditory performance, reading, etc.). The organizer requests that presenters distribute their papers in advance of ASECS so she can prepare some framing questions for a lively discussion period.

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Innovative Course Design
ASECS, PO Box 7867, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109; ASECS@wfu.edu

Proposals should be for a new approach to teaching a unit within a course on the eighteenth century, covering perhaps one to four weeks of instruction, or for an entire new course. For example, participants may offer a new approach to a specific work or theme, a comparison of two related works from different fields (music and history, art and theology), an interdisciplinary approach to a particular social or historical event, new uses of instructional technology (e.g., web sites, internet resources and activities), or a new course that has never been taught or has been taught only very recently for the first time. Participants are encourage to include why books and topics were selected and how they worked. Applicants should submit five (5) copies of a 3- to 5-page proposal (double-spaced) and should focus sharply on the leading ideas distinguishing the unit to be developed. Where relevant, a syllabus draft of the course should also be provided. Only submissions by ASECS members will be accepted. A $500 award will be presented to each of the participants, and they will be invited to submit a twelve-page account of the unit or course, with a syllabus or other supplementary materials for publication on the website.

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Alta and Baja: California in the Eighteenth Century (ASECS Executive Board Sponsored Session)
Karen Stolley, Dept. Of Spanish and Portuguese, Callaway 501N Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322; kstolle@emory.edu

California has a rich and colorful history in the eighteenth century—one whose global dimensions are sometimes overlooked as the focus narrows in the nineteenth century to US national and state histories. This session proposes an exploration of eighteenth-century California (understood to include Alta California and Baja California) that will take advantage of the geographical location of ASECS 2015. Possible topics include negotiations between the region’s various communities—indigenous, Spanish, Anglo; military and political (mis)government; the Camino Real; the establishment of Jesuit and Franciscan missions by Junípero Serra and others; exploration of the California coast; pueblos and presidios; California as an eighteenth-century frontier that symbolized both wealth and privation; the visual arts and ethnomusicology. We encourage proposals that cross disciplines, and we plan to circulate the CFP to local historical societies, colleges and universities in California as well.

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Flipping the Grand Tour: The Italian Response
Blair Davis and Carole Paul, 228 Cantor, Irvine, CA 92620; Dept. of History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-7080; bhixsondavis@gmail.com and paul@arthistory.ucsb.edu

Scholarly literature on the Grand Tour has focused largely on the manifold influence of journeys to Italy on travelers. Less well explored are the numerous ways that Italians actively responded to the growing influx of foreigners in their land during the eighteenth century, forging the beginnings of the modern tourist industry. This session seeks papers that address the Italian side of the experience. Possible topics include, but are not limited to subjects such as the professionalization of tour guides, the creation of public museums, the development of the souvenir industry, and the characterization—and caricaturing—of northern Europeans.

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The Gendering of Space and Architecture
Leah Thomas, 4605 Hanover Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23226; thomaslm9@vcu.edu

Literature of the long eighteenth century explores frontiers, landscapes, seascapes, gardens, spaces of confinement, such as ships and carriages, and more whether in seduction novels, captivity narratives, or satire. This panel examines the gendering of these spaces especially through, but not limited to, language, imagery, and architectural renderings but also considers larger and more nuanced perspectives on this gendering through blurred boundaries of spaces understood to be gendered and how these spaces are ‘sexed’.

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Scientists, Artists, and Artisans in the Eighteenth Century
Dena Goodman, Women’s Studies Dept., 1122 Lane Hall, University of Michigan, 2014 So. State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109; goodmand@umich.edu

In the eighteenth century, scientists, artists, and artisans, worked, lived, and interacted together in a variety of ways and spaces. This seminar aims to explore the spaces, practices, products, and implications of those interactions. We are inspired by a symposium held at the Wallace Collection (London) in 2013 on the “Louvre before the Louvre,” in which historians of art and architecture explored the Louvre as space of family, work, and sociability in the two centuries before it became a museum. We propose to expand their inquiry to include two other groups, artisans and scientists, who also lived and worked in the Louvre, and to ask what other spaces in Europe (and the Americas) fostered interactions among them. We encourage papers that focus on the interactions among two of these groups (artists and scientists, scientists and artisans, artisans and artists) rather than on one or the other of them. We recognize also that the lines among these professional classifications and identities were in the process of being drawn in the eighteenth century and hope to stimulate discussion about the changing meanings of art, science, artisanship, technique, and labor and how they were achieved through interaction and in practice through this seminar.

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Educating Women in France, 1780–1814
Melissa Hyde; 1326 NW 12th RD Gainesville, Florida 32605; mlhyde@ymail.com

This session invites papers that deal with any aspect of women’s education during the ‘long eighteenth century’—particularly the years leading up to the French Revolution and the first Empire. Topics of special relevance to this session might include: the establishment of new schools for girls (public and private) and their importance; the role of women as governesses or founders of schools (the examples of Mme Genlis and Mme Campan come to mind); women as teachers or students of art and music; representations of women as teachers or students. Also very welcome will be papers that consider questions about what was at stake philosophically and politically in the education of women for the Republic and then the Empire? In what ways did elite education differ from popular or public education? How did education shape the lives of individual women?

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The Habsburgs, 1740–1792
Rebecca Messbarger, Washington University, 7401 Cromwell Drive, Saint Louis, Missouri 63105; rmessbar@gmail.com

This session is dedicated to an exploration of Habsburg influence on eighteenth-century Europe. From Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia to Spain, France, Portugal and dominant regions of Italy, the Habsburg dynasty has served to define crucial aspects of enlightened absolutism. Papers are invited on any aspect of Habsburg sway in the realms of administrative, social, legal, agricultural, economic, and political reforms as well as the patronage of the arts and modern science.

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Beyond Orientalism: Consumer Agency and Producer Adaptation in Asia-Europe Exchanges
Emily Kugler and Samara Cahill, Kugler: 230 South Main Street, Unit 2, Providence, Rhode Island 02903; and Cahill: 14 Nanyang Drive, HSS-03-73, Singapore 637332; emnkugler@gmail.com and sacahill@ntu.edu.sg

Due to early modern globalization, Chinoiserie, curry, Persian poetry, calicoes, and other ‘exotic’ imports entered European markets, where they were adapted and imitated. In the eighteenth-century world of goods, how did the importation and/or representation of foreign goods reflect cultural exchanges that complicate our ideas of European-Asian relations? As Prasannan Parthasarathi and Brijraj Singh have recently observed (independently), much more research is needed on the reception of European imports in Asia: Europeans were not the only consumers. How were European imports (textile designs, music, painting, fashion) adapted within Asian contexts to suit local tastes? How did Asian technologies advance European industries? This panel is particularly interested in papers and projects that complicate conflations of a colonized East with passivity and imitation.

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Textiles in the Long Eighteenth Century
Heidi Strobel, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Evansville, 1800 Lincoln Ave., Evansville, IN, 47722; hs40@evansville.edu

As material culture has become a more integral part of art history, textiles have increasingly been the focus of scholarly and popular attention. Significant museum exhibitions that have contributed to this change include The Met’s The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 (2013–14) and Threads of Feeling: The London Foundling’s Hospitals Textile Tokens 1740–1770, a featured exhibition at the 2014 ASECS conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. This session will focus on textiles in eighteenth-century art or literature. Papers could address textiles and their production, particularly in relation to global trade networks, textiles as an artistic medium, and/or for furniture, interior decoration, or clothing. In particular, papers are encouraged that relate to appropriation through embroidered copies of other media or ones that consider the relationship(s) between textiles and gender. Power point presentations will be the standard format, but the physical presentation of textiles as part of the session will be also welcome.

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A Sum of Its Parts: Symmetry in the Eighteenth Century
Daniella Berman and Charles Kang; daniella.berman@nyu.edu and cdk2118@columbia.edu.

The Encyclopédie defines symmetry as “le rapport, la proportion & la régularité des parties nécessaires pour composer un beau tout.” Although not extensively articulated outside architectural discourses, the notion of symmetry remained integral to a wide variety of eighteenth-century cultural productions. From interior decoration to literary construction, from the arrangement of artworks to the design of parterres, symmetry permeated aesthetics conceptually and practically—as essential to individual objects as to the composition of an overall environment, “un beau tout.” The duality of symmetry as a principle to observe and as a value to contradict resulted in its persistence across media and contexts. This panel invites papers that explore affirmations or negations of symmetry throughout the long eighteenth century. Rather than considering symmetry and asymmetry as binaries, we posit that they are rhetorical byproducts of each other (consider, for example, the self-reflexivity of such decorative elements as the arabesque). Possible topics may include—but are certainly not limited to: axis and composition in painting theory and practice, gender binaries in portraiture, sets and series, architectural distribution and movement through the interior, symmetry and variation in poetry, asymmetry and rococo object/architectural design, arrangement of objects, display of collections, symmetry as mirrored in reproduction/repetition. We welcome papers addressing the notions of symmetry and asymmetry in art historical, architectural, literary, decorative, design, and display contexts across the long eighteenth century.

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Note (added 4 September 2014) — The original version of this posting omitted Heidi Strobel’s session on ‘Textiles in the Long Eighteenth Century’, as well as the panel on symmetry planned by Daniella Berman and Charles Kang. My apologies! -CH

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