CfP: Contemporaneity Vol. 5: "Agency in Motion", deadline September 30, 2015

Cengiz Haksöz's picture
Call for Publications
September 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Graduate Studies, Social Sciences, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

Contemporaneity Vol. 5 Call for Papers: "Agency in Motion"

Contemporaneity is now accepting submissions for Volume 5.





Submission deadline:  SEPTEMBER 30, 2015


In the 2013 documentary The Missing Picture Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh revisits his own painful memories and experiences of the Khmer Rouge genocide by creating miniature dioramas from a deeply personalized account of historical settings and personages. As Panh said in an interview, "these aren’t just figurines, they are something else, they have a soul.” Panh’s traumatic experiences relay not only a very personalized account of the grainy historical record, they give a particular agency to artistic objects.

In its 5th edition, Contemporaneity will focus on the concept of agency in visual culture. As a method, agency examines the dynamics of visual culture and human relations, questioning the work, its makers, its audience. The concept of agency has enjoyed increasing currency within multiple disciplines—the humanities and social sciences among them—opening up new avenues for understanding social and aesthetic interactions, including anthropologist Alfred Gell’s conception of the art object as embedded in a system of action, Michael Baxandall’s examination of artistic intent, and the extension of relational and contextual artistic practices by Claire Bishop. Contemporaneity is seeking submissions that cover a wide range of issues, topics, periods, and disciplines with an emphasis on the complexity of human and non-human agents interacting in the visual world. These topics may include, but are not limited to:

Historiographical/theoretical models of agency

Virtual agency, avatars, self-fashioning, branding

Indigeneity, mestizaje, hybridity, trans-/cross-culturation

Gendered, queer, ethnic, classed, race/racialized identities

Embodiment, cult objects, iconoclasm

Curation, patronage, collecting

Artist intention, artist workshops and collaboration

War, counter-histories/memories, politics of testimonial and memorial practices

Political agency, activism, riots

The disappeared, the dead, the missing, the absent


We are further seeking papers for a special subsection that address, problematize, or work through the conceptual issues surrounding “Reenactment” as a mode of artistic production. What may be lost, what may be gained, when one reenacts? Who is allowed to reenact, when, where and to what purpose? How does one begin to assess the innovative work of artists, like Panh, who seem motivated by alternative historiographical values such as resurrection, embodiment, and vivification?

This includes but is not limited to the following issues:

• Trans-multi-inter media considerations of reenactment in visual art, film, or theatre and performance

• Formal strategies of recursive processes

• The body as a means of generating and preserving history

• Paradigms of ritual, re-performance, and altered states

• Revisiting traumatic acts of institutionalized violence

• Techniques of historical staging in curation and exhibition studies


The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2015. Manuscripts (6,000 word maximum) should include an abstract, 3-5 keywords, and adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style. To make a submission, visit, click Register and create an Author profile to get started. Proposals for book and exhibition reviews, interviews, or scholarly discussions will also be considered, and we recognize that these submissions may take many forms. Proposals can be directed to the editors at


Contemporaneity is a peer-reviewed online journal organized by the History of Art and Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Visit and

Contact Info: 

Inquires should be directed to the editors via e-mail: