EXTENDED CFP - Rest and the rest: The Aesthetics of Idleness

Madeline Ullrich's picture
Call for Papers
January 9, 2019 to January 31, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Film and Film History, Graduate Studies


Call for Papers

Rest and the rest: Aesthetics of Idleness

12th Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference

University of Rochester

April 12-13, 2019


Keynote: Jean Ma, Associate Professor of Art and Art History, Stanford University 

Idleness suggests slack and stasis. It evokes empty, wasted time, and thus the dangers of being useless. It even recalls the religious notion that there is something satanic about not being occupied with work. But what are the aesthetics of idleness? In what ways does being idle function as a cultural or artistic practice? How can we theorize idleness, and perhaps do so idly? Or does treating idleness as a site of cultural analysis and critical theory undo the danger of it? 


This conference invites emerging scholars and practitioners in the humanities, arts, and social sciences to consider the ways in which idleness works across cultures. How might the concept of idleness be seen as a space of inquiry and contestation, an dhow might it become generative and productive? Hosted by the University of Rochester's Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies, this conference aims to foster an enviornment for interdisciplinary communication, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. Possible topics may include and are by no means limited to: 


- Rest as a break or point of departure

- Pauses (visual, literary, musical)

- Isolation, fatigue and exhaustion

- Craft studies

- Liminality/in-betweenness 

- Leisure and labor/Wasted or unproductive time

- Intimacy and vulnerability

- Health, illness, and convalescene (mental and physical) 

- Slow Cinmea

- Idleness in digital and new media

- Imagery of/around the sleeping body

- Boredom, lethargy, apathy

- Posthuman/non-human notions of idleness or rest

- Dreaming and the unconscious

- Morality, sinfulness, sloth 


We invite individual submission as well as pre-constituted panels (of 3-4 presenters) in the form of 300 word abstracts (for 20-minute paper presentations) and 100 word bios for each presenter. All materials are to be submitted to the conference website (https://dslab.lib.rochester.edu/vcsconference/cfp/submit-an-abstract) by January 31, 2019. Select presenters may be invited to revise presentations for publication in InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of Visual Culture as part of an issue devoted to the aesthetics of idleness. Succesfful applicants will be notified of acceptance by February 15, 2019. This conference is organized by PhD students in the Graduate Program of Visual and Cultural Studies. Please email conference co-chairs, Amanda Ju and Madeline Ullrich, at vcsconference [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions. 


Full CFP Announcement: https://dslab.lib.rochester.edu/vcsconference/cfp


Contact Info: 

Amanda Ju and Madeline Ullrich, Conference co-chairs, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester

Contact Email: