CFP RSA 2020 Transformative Objects: Foreign Artifacts and Local Identities

Letha Ch'ien's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
July 18, 2019 to August 15, 2019
Location: 
United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Humanities, World History / Studies

During the early modern period, the mobility of images and artifacts increased worldwide alongside expanding trade routes, colonization, slavery, and missionary activities, among other historical factors. In Europe and Asia, many of these objects entered into encyclopedic collections where, it has been argued, they typified foreign and exotic places. However, these objects could have served other purposes as well. As many scholars have demonstrated recently, many of these objects affected host cultures on a much deeper level, changing the look, feel, and character of their new abodes. While never losing their foreign origins entirely, mobile objects transformed local identity in a variety of ways. For example, Chinese porcelain was appropriated, integrated, and reinvented as part and parcel of a Dutch lifestyle, even signalling “Dutchness” as a result (Gerritsen 2016); and Iznik ceramics were embraced by the Anabaptists in Moravia to create a distinctively local style of artistic production now referred to as Habaner pottery (Lisy-Wagner 2013). 

 

This panel seeks new methods of understanding how the mobility of objects transformed their new locales. We invite papers that explore the complex entanglements of foreign and local, theories of mobility, and previously overlooked types of objects. Papers addressing the adoption of objects in Africa, the Americas, and Asia in addition to Europe are especially welcome.

 

Topics might include (but are not limited to) the following questions: 

  • What is exoticism, and how exogenous objects and forms are assimilated into local and political imaginaries? Can exogenous objects ever be truly assimilated?

  • How did the reframing of objects from elsewhere as local containers of identity change host cultures?

  • How did cultures incorporating foreign objects use them when imagining their place in a wider world?

  • Did these objects have multiple associations with different places; did they mobilise composite visions of identity?


Please send a 150-word abstract, a curriculum vitae no longer than 5 pages, and the PhD completion date (as per the new RSA guidelines) to Letha Ch’ien (letha.chien@sonoma.edu) and Tomasz Grusiecki (tomaszgrusiecki@boisestate.edu) before Thursday, 8 August 2019. Presenters will have to be active RSA members.

Contact Info: 

Please send a 150-word abstract, a curriculum vitae no longer than 5 pages, and the PhD completion date (as per the new RSA guidelines) to Letha Ch’ien (letha.chien@sonoma.edu) and Tomasz Grusiecki (tomaszgrusiecki@boisestate.edu) before Thursday, 8 August 2019. Presenters will have to be active RSA members.

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