CFP: Session at HNA Breaking Conventions and Confronting Gender: The Multifaceted Relationship Between Women and Art in the Low Countries, 1500–1800 (Amsterdam and The Hague, June 2–5, 2021)

Samantha Chang's picture
Call for Papers
July 1, 2020
Ontario, Netherlands
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Deadline: 1 July 2020

Call for Paper
HNA Conference 2021
Amsterdam and The Hague
2–5 June 2021

Breaking Conventions and Confronting Gender: The Multifaceted Relationship Between Women and Art in the Low Countries, 1500–1800

DO: dress modestly and act piously; obey your husband in everything; rear your children.
DON’T: be too sweet or too sour or too thin or too fat; be too independent; growl or bark at your husband.

Does the advice encouraged by Jacob Cats and depicted in numerous well-known objects accurately represent the normative behaviour of early modern women in the Low Countries? This session explores the less commonly portrayed―and much less discussed―representation of women as artists, collectors, and agents of cultural and artistic change. Recent exhibitions and publications (for example Sarah Joan Moran and Amanda Pipkin’s Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500–1750 and Elizabeth Sutton’s Women Artists and Patrons in the Netherlands, 1500–1700, both from 2019) raise and address the participation of mostly ‘exceptional’ women artists and aristocratic and noblewomen in the creation and patronage of art. Notwithstanding these works, however, the field continues to be dominated by a history of men and centres upon patriarchal analyses and methodologies. Instead of reflecting on the exceptional, what can we gather on the paradigmatic women of the Low Countries?

In our session, we critically examine the role of gender and gender identity in the creation, collection, and curation of art in the broadest sense. How did this multifaceted relationship play out in the development and portrayal of women’s identity and their self-actualization? In what ways did women artists subvert societal norms? What role does gender play in the creation, acquisition, and use of objects? To what extent does gender impact collecting, patronage, and display practices? Can we formulate approaches that further discussions of the role of gender within artistic pursuits?

We seek papers that extend beyond traditional methodologies and analytical frameworks. In particular, we welcome proposals that are interdisciplinary and/or consider unusual or often under-researched artistic media, such as textiles, watercolours, ceramics, ephemeral art, etc. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

- Identity and self-representation through art;
- Self-definition as a so-called ‘workshop wife’ and/or the nuanced participation of women in the family’s artistic enterprise;
- Gender and the art market;
- Issues of class and accessibility;
- The artist as collector;
- Material culture: creation, use, and display;
- The home as a space for the display and/or performance of art;
- Strategies of display

Session Organizers
Samantha Chang, University of Toronto,
Catherine Powell, University of Texas at Austin/Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society,
Lauryn Smith, Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art,

As part of 90 minute-sessions, papers should be maximum 20 minutes long. Proposals should present new, rather than published research and reflect the current state of scholarship. Please send paper proposals of maximum 500 words, along with a single-paged curriculum vitae, to the session organizers.

Deadline: 1 July 2020. Applicants will be notified by the session organizers no later than 1 August 2020.