Call for Papers | Hidden in Plain Sight

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 4, 2018

From the conference flyer:

Hidden in Plain Sight: Meanings and Messages in Ceramics, 1650–1950
Rienzi Biennial Symposium, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 21–22 September 2018

Proposals due by 15 July 2018

Chinese, Masonic Punch Bowl, ca. 1750–70, hard-paste porcelain (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Rienzi Collection, 74.216).

Rienzi, the house museum for European decorative arts of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, begins the celebrations for its 20th anniversary as a public collection with a symposium featuring international emerging scholars, Hidden in Plain Sight: Meanings and Messages in Ceramics, 1650–1950. Scholars are asked to discuss objects made for rare or unlikely uses, display, or celebration. We ask participants to examine the use of ceramics as vehicles for concealed language regarding humor, courtship, diplomacy, learning, class, and contemporary culture.
Rienzi houses a significant collection of European paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, and silver from the mid-17th through mid-19th centuries. Built in 1953 as a residence and opened to the public as a house museum in 1999, Rienzi evokes fine European houses of the 18th century with architecture reminiscent of the Italian Palladian style, surrounded by period European decorative arts and paintings. Rienzi is particularly rich in 18th-century European porcelains, thanks to the collecting interests of Harris and Carroll Masterson, its founding collectors. This scholarly exploration of ceramics honors their legacy and philanthropic spirit.

Master’s and doctoral students as well as entry level and mid-career professionals are invited to submit a 400-word abstract outlining a 20-minute presentation, along with a CV, to sniemeyer@mfah.org by 15 July 2018. Selected participants will be notified by 1 August 2018 and will be offered a $600 stipend for travel and lodging. All presentations are given Saturday, 22 September 2018, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The keynote lecture is held Friday evening, followed by a reception at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Possible themes of investigation may include, but are not limited to
• Display
• Dining
• Privacy
• Social pastimes
• Etiquette
• Gender
• Travel
• Economics
• Politics
• Beauty
• Print culture
• Secret societies

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