Scholarly Research Network and Conference – Logic of the Negative: Techniques and Metaphors of Imprinting (2023-24)

Stefano de Bosio's picture
Call for Papers
January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Intellectual History

Scholarly Research Network – Logic of the Negative: Techniques and Metaphors of Imprinting

Call for participation – Deadline: November 6, 2022

Project partners: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Université catholique de Louvain, and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung (Berlin conference)

Imprinting can be defined as the result of the contact between two surfaces or two bodies. It is an action deeply rooted in the history of techniques, as well as of the human imagination. Throughout different civilizations, imprints involve reflections upon issues of presence and absence, reproduction and imitation, identity and difference.

The international research network Logic of the Negative aims to open up new avenues of research around these topics. What are the cultural genealogies of Western approaches to imprinting? Do these Western approaches have a specificity when compared to those of other civilizations? What role does imprint play in fostering discourses about documentation and the documentary? How instrumental are imprints and imprinting for rethinking notions of resemblance and replication, contact and surface? How does the study of imprints in their transhistorical dimensions help us understand the ways in which techniques and imaginaries interact?

The Logic of the Negative research network seeks participants willing to engage in a sustained discussion on the meanings and forms of imprinting across periods of time and geographies. It aims to explore imprinting as a poietic operation distinctive of several techniques and technologies (casting, molding, stamping, sealing, minting, printing…) and to define overarching metaphors and critical discourses. The contribution of scholars with expertise in non-Western civilizations is particularly welcome. Ideally, the candidates should be in possession of a PhD, barring exceptional circumstances. The participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own research and to present it in an international conference funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung that will take place at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in June 2023 (Contact: Transcultural Techniques and Metaphors of Imprinting, organized by Prof. Dr. Kathleen Christian, HU Berlin, Dr. Stefano de Bosio, HU Berlin and Prof. Dr. Ralph Dekoninck, UCLouvain); participants are also expected to take part in an online reading group exploring the variety and richness of the most recent research in the field (Winter 2022/23) as well as an in-person workshop at the Université catholique de Louvain on March 23, 2023. A further in-person meeting is scheduled for 2024 and a publication of a volume of essays is anticipated.

In order to apply, please send a single PDF file to the network coordinator, Dr. Stefano de Bosio ( by November 6, 2022 consisting of: a cover letter indicating your research interests and your expectations in participating in the network; a CV including a list of publications; an example of published writing.

Scientific Advisory Board: Kathleen Christian, Professor of Early Modern Art, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Ralph Dekoninck, Professor of Art History, GEMCA, Université catholique de Louvain; Jérémie Koering, Professor of Early Modern Art History, Université de Fribourg

Contact Info: 

Dr. Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte.