CFP: Materiality in the Precolumbian World, CAA 2018

Elliot Lopez Finn's picture
Scholars of the Ancient Americas: 
Consider submitting a proposal for the following 2018 College Art Association Annual Conference panel, and please forward this CFP to colleagues in the field. We are seeking abstracts that address the cultures of the pre-contact Americas and Caribbean, without bias to any geographic region or time period. With an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to material culture, we also strongly encourage art historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and linguists to apply.
Session: Permanence/Impermanence: Materiality in the Precolumbian World
College Art Association Annual Conference (Los Angeles, Feb. 2018)
Abstract Submission Deadline: August 14, 2017
Chairs: Stephanie M. Strauss ( and Elliot Lopez-Finn (
Session Theme:
Sculptural traditions in the Precolumbian world take on a wide variety of material expressions: from the plaster-covered statuary of Central Mexico and the earthworks of the Mississippi Valley to the monumental stone spheres of ancient Costa Rica and the miniature gold figurines of the Andes. Whether permanent or impermanent, portable or static, free-standing or cut from the earth, the materiality of a sculptural form has profound implications for its life history. This session will explore the role of material selection and sculptural manipulation across Precolumbian visual culture traditions.
Fruitful avenues of exploration include the intentional use of enduring materials -- for example, stone or metal -- versus perishable materials, such as wood, feathers, or amaranth, but related creative interpretations are welcomed. Of particular interest are papers that critique the primacy of monumentality in sculptural production; examine the role of ephemerality and performance in understanding sculptural creation and use; or address the phenomenonolgy and physicality of monuments during ritual interaction. Taking sculptural materiality as center, authors may further focus on the acquisition of source materials and processes of creation, the meeting of permanent and impermanent surfaces, the monumentality of small objects, or the physicality of sculpted bodies and/or landscapes.
In an effort to bridge the interdisciplinary divisions within Precolumbian studies, we welcome papers that address any region or time period from the indigenous Americas and Caribbean. 
Please send your paper abstract (250 words max), letter of interest, current CV, and CAA "session participation proposal form" to the session chairs by end-of-day, 8/14/2017.
For more information on CAA, the national conference for art historians, and to access the full conference CFP and download a "participation proposal form", visit
Best regards,
Stephanie Strauss and Elliot Lopez-Finn