Call for Papers | AAH 2022, London

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 24, 2021

Sessions of potential interest for folks working on the eighteenth century (see especially the panel chaired by Emma Barker and Carla Benzan); full offersings are available here:

Association for Art Historians Annual Conference
Goldsmiths, University of London, 6–8 April 2022

Proposals due by 1 November 2021

The Association for Art History’s 2022 Annual Conference will take place in London at the world renowned art college, Goldsmiths. Over the three days of the conference, there will be up to 36 live parallel sessions with 4, 6, or 8 papers delivered in each session. All sessions are open to 25-minute paper proposals. Please email your proposal directly to the convenor, including in your proposal a clear paper title, a short abstract (max 250 words), your name, and email. The deadline for paper proposals is 1 November 2021.

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The Artist’s Friend
Jamin An (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville) and Anne Rana (Independent Art Historian), theartistsfriend2022@gmail.com

Being identified as a great friend of artists, or ‘artist’s friend’, often elevates ancillary art historical figures, past and present. For some collectors, critics, curators, dealers—consider broadly drawn examples like Giorgio Vasari, Alain Locke, Gertrude Stein, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Okwui Enwezor or Geeta Kapur—friendship has represented a deep connection with a particular artist or signaled bonds of loyalty and support with many. Notwithstanding its assumed virtue and frequent invocation, the idea of the ‘artist’s friend’ has escaped meaningful definition.

This panel seeks to undertake a critical analysis of the ‘artist’s friend’, examining case studies that leverage friendship as a conceptual model of relation between artists and non-artists. Our inquiry aims to engage the broad theoretical terrain of friendship: its nature and value, the reciprocal self-knowledge and self-formation it cultivates, and the moral quandaries it raises. We welcome interdisciplinary contributions across geography and chronology, and encourage papers that help us consider such questions as:
• What are defining features of friendship with the artist? How is ‘friend’ distinct from positions such as muse, lover, donor, or patron?
• A friend is said to be ‘another self.’ How might we understand artistic identity or the status of the artist from the standpoint of figures who are considered the ‘artist’s friend’?
• When partiality is an essential feature of friendship, how does friendship enrich or complicate scholarship, curating, or criticism, conventionally predicated on distance and impartiality?
• How do friendship’s ethical and moral commitments intersect with the cultural field’s conditions of production, circulation, and legitimation?

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Critical Perspectives on Disability in Art and Visual Culture
Lynn M. Somers (Independent Scholar), lmsomers@mac.com, @lynn_somers

Critical disability studies over the last thirty years have examined systems of power that shape codes of representation within images, objects, collections, and by extension, prevailing historiographies that define the limits of acceptability among human bodies, or what Tobin Siebers calls the ideology of ability. Advancing a theory of complex embodiment, he writes that disability, as a critical social concept, “enlarges our vision of human variation and difference, and puts forward perspectives that test presuppositions dear to the history of aesthetics” (2010: 3). The materiality of art is invested in affective embodiment, and from the classical period onward, historical narratives are rife with bodies deemed beautiful, perfect, and proportionate to their built environments. Although in the 19th and 20th centuries bodily discourses began shifting toward fragmentation, prostheses, and pain, those representations were labeled degenerate by oppressive political institutions. Interdisciplinary and intersectional disability studies—for example, “crip time” (McRuer, 2018) and “misfitting” (Garland-Thomson, 2011)—posit disability as a cultural minority identity (in opposition to medical models centered on individual pathology). These analytics expand the ways artists and scholars approach embodiment as an elastic human continuum. Two volumes on art history and disability (Routledge, 2016, 2021) offer important global correctives to ideologies of agency that have devalued disparate, contingent, and nonconforming embodied subjectivities. This session welcomes transdisciplinary studies of art in all media that (re)figure disability and theoretical approaches that look to enact radical change, reparation, or reforms to sociopolitical and aesthetic constructions of disability at both historical and contemporary moments.

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Towards an Affective History of Art: Vision, Sensation, Emotion
Emma Barker (Open University), emma.barker@open.ac.uk; and Carla Benzan (Open University), carla.benzan@open.ac.uk

Art-historical considerations of instinctive, non-rational forms of human experience tend in two directions. On the one hand, there are contributions that examine the representation of emotion in works of art, as exemplified by the essay collection, Representing Emotions (ed. Penelope Gouk and Helen Hills, 2005). Following a broadly historicist agenda, such contributions are predicated on the assumption that emotions can only be accessed in mediated form, through representational codes. On the other hand, since the publication of David Freedberg’s The Power of Images (1989), scholars have become increasingly concerned with the intense, even visceral, experiences that works of art can elicit from the beholder. Closely associated with the so-called ‘affective turn’ in the humanities and social sciences, this type of approach asserts the primacy of the material and experiential over cultural frameworks. Attempts to bridge the gap between representation and experience by scholars working in the sub-discipline known as the history of the emotions have as yet made only limited use of visual sources (see, for example, the special issue of Cultural History, 7:2, 2018).

This session seeks to build on these various developments in order to realise the as yet unfulfilled promise of an affective history of art. It aims to bridge the gap identified above by investigating the interaction between works of art and beholders with reference not only to visual strategies and sensory experiences but also to discursive articulations and cultural formations. We especially welcome contributions that analyse such interactions with close reference to historically-specific vocabularies of affective experience in the broad period from around 1400 to 1900, such as the humours, passions, sentiments or emotions. Contributions may seek to examine claims for the compelling power of canonical works or, alternatively, to account for the emotional impact of works that no longer move the beholder as they once did. The central aim is to illuminate the changing role that art and visual culture have played in the understanding of affective experience over time.

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Global Anatomies
Keren Hammerschlag (Australian National University), keren.hammerschlag@anu.edu.au; and Natasha Ruiz-Gómez (University of Essex), natashar@essex.ac.uk

Spanning from Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica in the sixteenth century through to Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body in the nineteenth, European anatomical illustration has a venerated history that has been documented, studied and made the subject of major exhibitions. A few names dominate the historical record—Leonardo da Vinci, William Hunter, George Stubbs, Frank Netter—all men, all white. In the case of some of the most lavishly illustrated anatomical atlases, only the names of the doctors who directed the production are remembered; the men and women who produced the images are relegated to the footnotes, while the names of those pictured are entirely lost to history. The aim of this panel is to re-evaluate and decentre Western anatomical image-making traditions by bringing them into dialogue with different national, cultural and religious understandings of the inside of the human body. These may include Asian, Latin American and Islamic medical and scientific image-making traditions, among others. By developing accounts of human anatomy and its depiction that are global in outlook and scope, we hope to be able to address the following questions: what does anatomical imagery, broadly conceived, reveal about the people who produced it and about how they thought of particular bodies and body types? Is anatomy universal, local or individual? Is the anatomical body stable or shifting? Areas of inquiry may include but are not limited to anatomy and typology; mobility; geography; power; ideology; colonialism; slavery; race; gender; and (the body’s) borders.

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