CFP: Visual Cultures of Radical Extraction in the Long 19th century

Emily Gephart's picture
Call for Papers
September 1, 2021
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Atlantic History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Indigenous Studies

This panel will happen in person at the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association annual conference in Rochester New York in March 2022.

We seek 15-20 minute papers that discuss worldwide visual culture of the long 19th century and that engage with conceptions of “nature” as extractable “resources.”


Panel Chairs: Emily Gephart and Maura Coughlin


Topics might include, but are not limited to:

- Resources aquatic, biotic, terrestrial and finite

--Mining, other energy extraction, deforestation or other radical removals

--Potential energy (waterfalls, wind)

--Extracting indigenous and local knowledges; bio-prospecting

--Animal products: guano, fur, oil, etc.

--Plant ways and uprooting

--Sourcing art materials

--Commodification of “exotics”

--Cultural appropriations


Please email a 150 word abstract and CV to and by September 1, 2021


“Land that is left wholly to Nature, that hath no improvement of Pasturage, Tillage or Planting is called, as indeed it is, wast (sic); and we shall find the benefit of it amounts to little more than nothing.:” John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1689.


“When Nature becomes robust within limits and threshold theories of harm are dominant, land relations become managerial rather than reciprocal. In colonial understandings of Nature, (certain) humans can protect, extend, augment, better, use, preserve, destroy, interrupt, and/or capitalize on robust-within-limits Nature. That is, Land becomes a Resource. Resources refer to unidirectional relations where aspects of land are useful to particular (here, settler-colonial) ends. In this unidirectional relation, value flows in one direction, from the Resource to the user, rather than being reciprocal…” Max Liboiron, Pollution is Colonialism, 2021.


Contact Info: 

Emily Gephart, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University & Maura Coughlin, Bryant University

Contact Email: