Call for Papers Roundup (July 2018)

Our round-up of current CFPs related to the interests of VAVO. We welcome details of such opportunities for circulation via the blog.

Sessions at Association for Art History, Brighton, 4-6 April 2019

Deadline 5 November. A full list of sessions and details of the submission process are available in the conference CFP.

Fugitive Visions: Art and the Eidetic Image

Chairs: Elizabeth Buhe, Institute of Fine Arts (NYU) ebuhe @ ; Amy Rahn, Stony Brook University (SUNY) amy.rahn @

Eidetic imagery – vivid pictures seen ‘in the mind’s eye’ – has been a powerful and ongoing source of artistic inspiration. Yet, modernist privileging of disembodied vision and positivist opticality has suppressed the realm of the eidetic: an expansive category that includes subjective spiritual, mystical, synesthetic, hallucinatory, and visionary experience. This panel solicits papers addressing artists past and present who have employed eidetic imagery in the creation or content of their work, as well as from scholars crafting methodological approaches for understanding and historicising artists’ visionary processes. Can art stimulate eidetic experience in its beholders? How might a hermeneutics of the eidetic contribute to a more expansive art history? How do artists represent the invisible? What perceptual modalities and sensory crossovers are engaged in creating or apprehending such art? Can the highly individual nature of reverie or inner vision paradoxically allow artists to communicate with art’s diverse audiences? Many art historical moments invite such questions. Prehistoric rock art’s intricate patterning is believed to derive from forms visualised during altered states, while, in the 19thcentury, Symbolists instrumentalised individual visions in pursuit of sweeping artistic insight. More recently, Joan Mitchell claimed she painted ‘from remembered landscapes that I carry with me’. Following the work of scholars like Marcia Brennan, Todd Cronan, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, and Martin Jay, this panel invites papers that implement or productively critique methodologies such as affect, feminism, neuroscience, new materialism, and phenomenology to excavate traces of eidetic experience that haunt art’s past, but not yet its history.

Occult Performances and Reflections: The everyday occult in visual culture

Chairs: Michelle Foot, University of Edinburgh mfoot @ [VAVO member]; Lucy Weir, University of Edinburgh @

The occult – the hidden – has been prevalent in various art forms for centuries. Christopher Partridge coined the term ‘occulture’ in 2004 in an effort to recognise the occult in the everyday, theorising the processes involved when popular culture disseminates occult ideas and beliefs to a wider audience. These occult and esoteric traditions are no longer hidden; instead the culture in which they are embedded has become familiar – they are ordinary and everyday. Visual culture, as part of a broader popular culture, represents a fertile vehicle for the occult to enter everyday consciousness, even when the esoteric origins of those ideas remain unknown to the receiver. This is in opposition to secretive practices of a cultic milieu, when the occult was intended for an exclusive audience privileged with sacred and mysterious knowledge, such as, for example, ritual performances by and for adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This session proposes to investigate the reflection and representation of occult ideas, beliefs and practices that manifest in everyday and popular forms of art from the 1870s to the present day. Focusing particularly on performance art, such as theatre and dance, as well as film, photography and print, this session would invite papers to explore occult currents in visual culture from any geographical location. In addition to academic papers, this session would welcome interdisciplinary approaches from performers and artists.

Art in the Periphery, Lisbon, 14-16 March 2019

Deadline 28 October. The full CFP and details of the submission process are available via ArtHist.

Paying homage to the work of Foteini Vlachou (1975-2017), the Art History Institute and the Institute for Contemporary History of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa now launch the call for papers for the Art in the Periphery International Conference.
The conference aims to discuss the concept of periphery while focusing on the geographic and thematic areas that have been neglected by traditional and/or canonical art history. It seeks to push the discussion towards the understanding of the periphery as plural, historical and changeable, focusing on the non-linearity of cultural processes and historical time, and the non-universality of the artistic canons.
As Vlachou wrote in 2015: “No longer understood to mean ‘secondary, derivative, dependent, passive’, the ‘periphery’ will be understood as a structure with distinct characteristics and priorities that might in turn undermine values espoused in artistic centres, such as authorship and originality. More importantly, the periphery will not be framed in exclusively geographical terms (as a region distinct from the center), but rather as situated at the margins of dominant art history. As such, it may refer to areas, periods or even materials that have been delegated a secondary position in the hierarchy of fine arts (the decorative arts can serve as a prime example of this process)”.
We welcome contributions that explore either particular instances or longer-term historical developments in the visual arts, as well as contributions that conceptualize the centre-periphery debate in a broader scope.


Sessions at CAA, New York City, 13-16 February 2019

Deadline: 6 August. A full list of sessions and details of the submission process are available on the conference website.

Visionary Impulses in Utopian Art and Design
Chairs: Rory J. O’Dea, Sarah Montross
Email: odear @ sjmontross @

Utopia envisions a better and often radically different world, while simultaneously presenting a powerful form of critique and resistance to the existing order of culture, politics and social life. Within the last decade, the contemporary art and design world has witnessed an intensely renewed interest in such ideas, with the emergence of practices that are themselves utopian and that take the history of utopia as their subject. While utopia is future-oriented to the extent that it posits a world not yet realized, it is equally invested in the revelation and recreation of an idealized, prelapsarian and anti-modern vision of the past. Looking beyond the prevailing Marxist and modernist discourses that have largely dictated the critical framework of this topic, this panel invites proposals addressing the anti-modern, transcendental, visionary and apocalyptic imaginings of utopia, particularly within the United States since the 1800s. While our panel is seeking historical and contemporary art and design topics, we are also invested in filtering the problems and promise of utopia through the lens of the current socio-political climate. Potential topics include: utopian literature, theory and pedagogy; collectivism and intentional communities; freed slave communes and social reform of the mid-1800s (ie. Timbuktu, New York, and other landed experiments); utopia, psychedelia, and the counter-culture; apocalypse and millenarianism in contemporary art; visionary art and technology; mysticism and mesmerism; agrarian communes, animism and nature cults; mental utopias, consciousness and alternative realities; the spiritual and religious foundations to utopian practices, past and present.

Modernist Prodigals: Aesthetic Aftermaths of Religious Conversion
Chair: Anne Greeley – Indiana Wesleyan University
Email: annie.moore @

Over the past two decades, the long-presumed secularity of modern art has been called increasingly into question. Numerous scholars, from Sally Promey, to Jonathan Anderson and William Dyrness, to Thomas Crow, have challenged the secularization theory promulgated by art historians during the latter half of the twentieth century. Though the academy no longer finds it “inadmissible,” as Rosalind Krauss once did, to connect the spiritual with the avant-garde, and while many religious impulses can be discerned throughout the field of modern art, it is nevertheless the case that many modern artists rejected religion outright––though some only temporarily. This panel aims to build on the discussion initiated by Jeffrey Abt in his 2014 panel on “Religion and the Avant-Garde.” It seeks to further clarify modern art’s relationship to religion by examining the lives and work of certain “modernist prodigals,” who during a period of religious apathy or disbelief made significant contributions to modernism before turning, or returning, to organized religion. If art can be said to constitute a mode of thought, and if thought is radically altered through religious conversion, then what might a study of the works of such artists, “pre-” and “post-” conversion, reveal about the perceived compatibility of modern art (or of certain iterations or aspects thereof) with a religious worldview? Alternatively, what might it reveal about an artist’s faith? Possible artists to consider include, but are not limited to: Hugo Ball, Paul Cézanne, William Congdon, Albert Gleizes, Alfred Manessier, Ludwig Meidner, Gino Severini, and Jan Verkade.

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