Why Art History Matters
Politics, Ethics, and Objects
What is your investment in art history? How does the discipline engage and influence the networks of contemporary life?
Art history is a part of a shifting cultural, technological, and academic landscape. Advancements and changes in digital image services, algorithmic art discovery systems, as well as burgeoning scholastic fields such as visual and media studies encourage art historians to define the stakes of their work. Such developments have the potential to challenge the traditional roles of art history, yet ultimately they intensify and invigorate the discipline. Our generation of art historians has the opportunity to define itself within a moment of rich paradigm shifts.
Discursivity and sociality vis à vis artworks, objects and practices make up some of art history's investments. These sites of investigation are loaded with other investments: historical, affective and political. Certainly, art history writes histories of images and peoples, and we do this work within a scholarly community of checks and balances that wards off singular modes of viewing the past - why do you believe this is important, or not, and how is such work topical today?
This symposium seeks to explore the work of art history today through the presentation of papers from the full range of the history of art and visual studies: ancient to contemporary, western and non-western. We welcome papers that focus on objects, the actions of artists, critics, and curators that demonstrate not only their significance, but also how the they indicate the discipline’s stake. Papers might engage with questions such as: in what ways is art history’s work both participatory and revelatory of social and political structures? How is art history different, or not, from other fields that use objects? Is art history a discipline or a method? How does the study of an object or artist’s action influence our current society? What does it mean for an art historian to curate? Considering our rapidly changing culture, what role do art historians play in academia and in the public at large?
The symposium will begin the evening of Friday, March 8th, 2013 with an opening address by Professor Hal Foster. Presentations will take place on Saturday, March 9th followed by panel discussions with Princeton faculty and graduate students. Why Art History Matters will conclude on Saturday evening with a keynote lecture by Professor James Elkins of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Please submit a brief CV and 300-word abstract by December 30th, 2012 to: firstname.lastname@example.org.