CFP: Significance of Color in the Humanities and Social Sciences


Feb. 24-26, 2012
North Georgia College and State University
Dahlonega, GA

For most of us colors are ubiquitous in our lives, from colorful language to the natural and material worlds that we inhabit and (re)create. Colors are used to persuade consumers, or to affect our mood. But they can also become symbols in political and social struggle, from international relations to the envisioning of different futures for our society. From Le Rouge et le Noir, the thin red line, to the color-line, colorblind society, and the Green Revolution. This interdisciplinary conference wants to see how we attach (or have attached) importance to colors.

Does how we conceive of color(s), now or in the past, tell something about us? How has color been theorized during the past centuries? What does it mean for societies to assign different values to colors, when color functioned as one of the most elementary form of communication and signaling? How is color a part of the larger senses, and did it always play a similar part? Who studies color nowadays (in psychology, advertisement, etc…) and how is this research used or related to larger developments in society?

Color raises interesting interpretative issues about the visual. Understanding our reaction to color brings us to where the cultural and neurological overlap. Are colors simply empty signifiers or are there genuine differences in how our brain reacts to colors? In the latter case, did this change over time?

We welcome contributors from all disciplines and on a wide range of topics. Possible themes might include:

– color in arts and literature
– color in fashion and consumption
– the history of the use, meaning and popularity of a particular color
– color in the history of science
– color and emotion, color and the mind
– color as a means of communication and deception
– color as a metaphor in politics and international relations
– color and racism

A selection of contributions to the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed edited volume by North Georgia University Press. Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars welcome.

Please submit an abstract of 200-300 words and a brief biography to by Sept. 1, 2011.

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