Clark Art Institute Graduate Symposium CFP "Refraction and Resistance: Writing African Art"

Talia Abrahams's picture
Call for Papers
December 9, 2022
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Graduate Studies, Literature



Refraction and Resistance: Writing African Art

Friday, April 14, 2023


A graduate symposium organized by the Research and Academic Program

at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.



The Research and Academic Program (RAP) at the Clark Art Institute invites papers from graduate students for a one-day symposium, “Refraction and Resistance: Writing African Art,” on Friday, April 14, 2023, to be held in person at the Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts. This convening welcomes case studies of objects and artistic practices that illuminate defiance against the theoretical architectures that confine rather than expand ideas about African art. We welcome papers on historical and contemporary artists, scholars, architects, and beyond that engage in different ways with narratives of resistance. This includes objects that shatter both expectations of what African objects should be as well as how we analyze them. Papers may be discursive or interdisciplinary in nature and may feature objects that are provocative outliers to extant categorical systems generated by colonial frameworks; for example, objects that stand between ethnic or national borders, those that present syncretic stylization, or artists that complicate fixed identities, to name just a few.


The symposium, convened by Talia Abrahams (Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art, ’23) in collaboration with RAP, will privilege time for discussion and will also include an object session at the Williams College Museum of Art, and an evening keynote lecture delivered by Dr. Sónia Silva (Associate Professor of Anthropology at Skidmore College).


We invite proposals for 20-minute papers from graduate MA, MFA, and ABD students in the fields of art history as well as adjacent disciplines, including but not limited to studio art, anthropology, film and media studies, architecture, African Studies, and comparative literature.


Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 350 words along with a CV to by 9 December 2022. Accepted speakers will be notified by mid-January 2023. The Clark will cover travel expenses, accommodation for speakers (Thursday and Friday nights), and hospitality at the event.


Contact Info: 

Talia Abrahams