Call for Papers – Identity Construction and Meaning

3306_485AAH Call for Papers for Student Summer Symposium 2013, University of Oxford, 20-21 June 2013. Proposals deadline, 1st April.

The concept of ‘identity’ is prolific within the visual arts and in many ways its pertaining issues have shaped the discipline of art history. The biographical approach to reading artists’ work privileged by Vasari in his Lives (1550) has had a lasting influence. The portrait remains an effective medium through which to narrate the historical and contemporary identity of particular institutions and nations, and the art market continues to rely upon authentic attribution. Yet this art history of names remains problematic and by no means comprehensively represents either the discipline of art history or the plural notions of identity that have come to influence it.

During the twentieth century, subjectivity was critiqued and revised: psychoanalysis destabilized the concept of a consistent and whole subject, positioning the self as an illusion of stability and a site of fragmentation; Barthes and Foucault challenged notions of authorship, arguing instead that the reader-viewer be considered in the creation and interpretation of a work. More recently, gender and postcolonial theory has cast light on notions of identity understood as performance and as Otherness, and new technologies, such as the Internet, have altered relations between international communities and provided new platforms for constructing identity.

As art history has increasingly incorporated theories and approaches from other disciplines, how might we characterize art history’s identity as a discipline and to what extent does thinking about notions of identity offer a productive framework for the art historian?

We welcome contributions from current or recently completed MA and PhD strudents that address notions of identity across all periods and contexts, at both ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ levels, from specific case studies about particular artists, groups or works, to broader historiographical investigations. Papers that explore new critical positions are particularly welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

• What histories have been generated out of artists’ self-portraits or those of their subjects and to what extent has patronage informed concepts of identity?
• In what ways has performance or the artist’s body been a site for contesting identity?
• How have concepts of identity within the visual arts shifted with globalization and/or postcolonial thought?
• To what extent is identity more or less relevant to particular genres, periods, and cultures?
• How has the identity of the art historian changed over time and what does it mean to be an art historian today?

Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Abstracts of 250 words and a brief biography indicating your institutional affiliation should be submitted as a single Word.doc by email by 1 April 2013.

All speakers must be members of the AAH. More

Convenors: Allison Goudie, Nicola McCartney, Charlotte Stokes & Imogen Wiltshire
Members £35; Non-Members £45 (booking open soon)

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