Call for Papers | 18th-Century Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 16, 2021

While CAA isn’t scheduled to finalize decisions until August, we have, on the affiliate end, been selected to represent ASECS at the 2022 annual conference of the College Art Association in Chicago next February. With hopes of soliciting a wide range of papers and participants, we’re circulating this call for papers early. Please send a CV and an abstract (300 words) for 18-minute papers to jgermann@ithaca.edu and CraigAshleyHanson@gmail.com by Friday, 10 September 2021. Presenters will need to be members in good standing of both CAA and ASECS. We’re happy to answer questions.  –Jennifer Germann and Craig Hanson

Constructing Art History in and through 18th-Century Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
ASECS Affiliate Session, College Art Association, Chicago, 16–19 February 2022 (format TBD)

Chaired by Jennifer Germann (Ithaca College) and Craig Hanson (Calvin University)

 Proposals due by 10 September 2021

Frontispiece from J. Barrow, Dictionarium Polygraphicum: Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested (London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-Noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1735). Getty Research Institute.

Notwithstanding an impressive body of scholarship addressing eighteenth-century encyclopedias generally—particularly Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopedia and the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert—art history as a discipline has yet to produce anything like a comprehensive account of how various artistic discourses of the period were shaped by such reference works—either by ambitious universal dictionaries or by more focused, specialized volumes. In fact, however, the long eighteenth century saw the publication and often significant distribution of a wide range of art and architectural dictionaries, books like Filippo Baldinucci’s Vocabolario toscano dell’arte del disegno (1681), Neve’s The City and Country Purchaser’s and Builder’s Dictionary (1703), John Barrow’s Dictionarium Polygraphicum (1735), François Marie de Marsy’s Dictionnaire abrégé de peinture et d’architecture (1746), Joachim Christoph Gottsched’s Handlexicon, oder, kurzgefasstes Wörterbuch der schönen Wissenschaften und freyen Künste (1760), and Diego Antonio Rejon de Silva’s Diccionario de las nobles artes para instrucción de los aficionados, y uso de los profesores (1788).

This panel invites papers that explore how dictionaries and encyclopedias (broadly defined) mediated and shaped the emerging field of art history for both artistically sophisticated readers and a wider general audience. How were these texts used in the past (and by whom) and how might art historians engage them productively today? And what to make of how these texts have worked to legitimate some objects of art historical inquiry, even as the omissions have also profoundly shaped the field?

For all our twenty-first-century hopes of advancing a comprehensive, global scope, how effectively might any reference work, dependent upon existing scholarship, break from the biases and narratives that have dominated art history as an academic discipline? Should such works continue to be produced and, crucially, in what form? Narrowly focused papers are welcome so long as they also position their subjects within a larger framework. Contributions that reconsider well-known eighteenth-century publications (including universal dictionaries) as well as essays addressing underexplored reference books are encouraged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: