Call for Papers | A Farewell to Critique?

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 29, 2017

From H-ArtHist:

A Farewell to Critique? Reconsidering Critique as Art Historical Method
University of Copenhagen, NORDIK conference, 25–27 October 2018

Proposals due by 23 March 2018

Session convenors: Sara Callahan (PhD Candidate, Stockholm University), sara.callahan@arthistory.su.se; Anna-Maria Hällgren (PhD, Stockholm University), anna-maria.hallgren@arthistory.su.se; Charlotta Krispinsson (PhD, Humboldt University), charlotta.krispinsson@culture.hu-berlin.de

Since the advent of so-called New Art History, critique has been an omnipresent as well as welcomed part of the discipline. Critical perspectives on traditions and methods proved previous discourses of objectivity and neutrality to be inherently ideological. This new, critical art history enabled methodological approaches that questioned taken-for-granted assumptions of the discipline. Further, it brought attention to underlying social and structural aspects of art production and opened up new, exciting avenues of knowledge. In hindsight, thinking critically has resulted in some of the most ground-breaking research over the last few decades.

But when did thinking critically become the only way of thinking? Within the humanities, critique has turned into a default-mode, near synonymous with what is regarded as good research. This situation has of late come under scrutiny, most notably by Bruno Latour and Rita Felski. While Latour has argued that critique simply has “run out of steam” (Latour 2004), Felski stresses the importance of regarding critique as one method amongst others. In The Limits of Critique (2015) Felski argues that critique—like all methods—comes with its own tropes, narratives, and blind spots. What, exactly, are we doing while engaging in critique? What is the cost of habitually “reading against the grain”? Of continually deconstructing, denaturalizing and demystifying the world as we know it? What could we do otherwise? Felski does not offer a ready-to-use methodological alternative to critique—her concern is to examine what we do when we engage in critique and to challenge the view that it is the only game in town.

The aim of this session is to invite a discussion on critique in art history. We invite paper proposals that may include, but are not limited to, replies to the following questions:
• What are the challenges and/or benefits of critique and post-critique?
• What, specifically, would post critical methods look like within Art History?
• What are the geographical and cultural variations when it comes to the historiography as well as present state of critique?
• In addition to research practices, the academic profession involves teaching, participating in seminars and conferences, writing proposals and supervising students and junior researchers; can the discussion of post-critique be useful in developing these practices in some ways?

Please submit your proposal via a form on the conference website, where you will need to fill in personal information, an abstract no more than 1800 characters, a brief c.v. of no more than 360 characters, and full contact information by 23 March 2018.

In all, there are 19 panels now accepting proposals:
1  Post Democratic Culture and Culture in Post Democracy
2  Art and Design in Translation: The Circulation of Objects, People, and Approaches
3  A Farewell to Critique? Reconsidering Critique as Art Historical Method
4  (In)hospitalities
5  Medieval Nordic Art and the Un-nameable
6  Queer Art, Artists, and Identity: Nordic and Global Contexts
7  Futures from the Past? Nordic Exhibition Histories
8  Mixed Media
9  Nature, Non-Human and Ecology in Modern Art, Architecture, and Environmental Planning
10 Networks and Collaborations in Nordic Architectural Culture
11 A Whiter Shade of Pale: Whiteness Perspective on Nordic Visual Culture
12 Art, Artists, and Art Institutions in Times of War and Conflicts
13 Showing Not eTlling: Art Institutional Practices of Inclusions/Exclusions
14 Art and Spirituality in a Secular Society
15 Remembering: Art History and Curatorial Practices in Nordic Post-War Exhibition Studies
16 Life: On Art, Animation, and Biology
17 Decolonial Aesthetics: A View from the North
18 To Be [Titled], or Not To Be [Titled]? Art History and Its ‘Well-(un)Known’ Masters…
19 Untitled Spaces: Scenography and Nordic Art History

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