Thursday, December 17, 2015

CFP: Rethinking Pictures: A Transatlantic Dialogue (Paris, 19- 20 May 16)

Deadline: Jan 25, 2016

On the occasion of the launch of Picturing, the first volume of the
Terra Foundation Essays, a new publication series exploring themes of
critical importance to the history of arts and visual culture of the
United States, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, Paris, and the
Terra Foundation for American Art are jointly organizing a conference
that will further the transatlantic dialogue about what pictures are
and what they do.

Since the 1980s, theories of visual studies in Anglo-American
scholarship and of Bildwissenschaft in German art history have expanded
the field of potential subjects for study, building an extensive body
of literature and introducing innovative methodologies and approaches. 
Developed nearly contemporaneously, these theories about the nature and
reception of images have run parallel to one another. While on the
Anglophone side visual studies have branched out to a wide range of
media following a socio-critical impetus, Bildwissenschaft finds
origins in Aby Warburg’s methods and (among other approaches) is
notably nourished by a hermeneutic perspective.

Over the last decade on both sides of the Atlantic, new avenues of
inquiry have questioned the purely visual nature of images to consider
them as objects that possess agency or vitality in and of themselves.
Pictures are now understood as inviting complex experience in which the
entire body, not only the eye, is solicited, and as invoking multiple
temporalities, by collapsing past and present. Attention is called to
the materials that constitute the object world and the ways in which
their circulation creates social relationships that become part of
their meaning over time. In alignment with object-centered approaches
in anthropology, material culture, media studies, and philosophy,
recent theories of the visual have raised questions of affect,
subjectivity, and medium in Anglo-American scholarship, while
socio-historical considerations have gained particular ground in the
German literature. As renewed attention to the art work’s “materiality”
shifts the terms of investigation, this conference invites speakers to
reflect on the differences and convergences between the intellectual
traditions of visual studies and Bildwissenschaft. Are there ways to
think about pictures anew by bringing these models more closely
together?  Does the move away from visuality towards the material offer
possibilities for overcoming early differences between these two

We seek proposals for 20-minute talks introducing new ideas and
propositions. We especially welcome submissions from early- and
mid-career scholars. Presentations are encouraged to focus on specific
objects and historical conditions in order to anchor theoretical
questions. While binary considerations of comparative methodologies and
the scope of national traditions will certainly arise, the discussion
will be plural and interdisciplinary, inviting reflections on the
various forms of study of the visual arts in Europe, the United States,
and beyond.

Please submit abstracts no longer than 500 words in English along with
a CV, to by January 25, 2016. The
symposium will cover travel and lodging. Selected participants will be
notified by February 15, 2016.

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