CFP: ACASA Triennial (Ghana, August 8-13, 2017) - Ethiopian Christian Art: Defining Styles, Defying Definitions

Kristen Windmuller-Luna's picture
Call for Papers
January 31, 2017
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Area Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies

Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) 17th Triennial Symposium on African Art

Ghana, University of Ghana (Legon Campus) – August 8-13, 2017
Panel with discussion

Ethiopian Christian Art: Defining Styles, Defying Definitions

Since Jules Leroy coined the term “Gondarene painting” in 1967, style has become intrinsically tied to place in Christian Ethiopian art history. But as recent research demonstrates, the “Gondärine” style emerged before the foundation of the eponymous city of Gondär. Given the formation of this style avant la cité, as it were, historians of Ethiopian art must now more than ever examine the parameters used to define style within their field. Interrogating the utility of such geographically-determined classifications, this panel seeks to present new research in the study of style in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian art.

A second concern is how discussions of style in Ethiopian art history relate to those on the rest of the continent. While Sidney Kasfir disputed sub-Saharan African art history’s homogeneous paradigm of “One Tribe, One Style” in 1984, the impact of this discussion has been applied unevenly to Ethiopian art history. How do we address the continued contrast between terminology used by museum professionals and scholars to stylistically classify the same works? How do prevailing definitions of style work within the diachronic study of Ethiopian Christian art, and where do they fail? Equally, how do geo-religious classification systems support or undermine formalist efforts to identify masterhands or workshops, a tactic used by scholars of both sub-Saharan Africa and medieval Europe? 

Papers in this panel may analyze style via object-based case studies, museum-based examples, theoretical or historiographical studies, or propose new forms of classifying or defining style in Ethiopian Christian art.

Chair: Kristen Windmuller-Luna, PhD

Submission Details:
Seeking – 4 panel participants; each presents a 20-minute paper; panel discussant TBD

Deadline: January 31, 2017, via email to

What to include in your proposal:
    •    Email subject line: ACASA 2017 Ethiopia Panel Proposal
    •    Title of Paper
    •    Abstract not to exceed 250 words describing the theme and scope of your paper
    •    A short abstract not to exceed 100 words to be published in the ACASA Newsletter, the H-AfrArts website, and on the ACASA Triennial website
    •    Contact information (including address, phone, fax, email)
    •    A/V needs
    •    Short bio (3-4 sentences) stating expertise and experience in panel topic area
***Applicants must be active members of ACASA to be considered for participation, and must register for the conference if selected to participate in the panel.
For information about becoming a member of ACASA, please visit


Contact Info: 

Kristen Windmuller-Luna, PhD