CFP: The (After) Lives of Things: Deconstructing and reconstructing material culture

Association of Art Historians (AAH) Annual Conference: The (After) Lives of Things: Deconstructing and reconstructing material culture

Where: University of Edinburgh

When: 7-9 April 2016

Submission requirements: Email paper proposals to the session convenors by 9 November 2015. Email either Sarah Laurenson ( or Freya Gowrley ( Further paper proposal guidelines can be found on the AAH website.

Call for Papers:

Material things have been used to fashion identities and form social relationships throughout history. The panel seeks to shed light on the intersecting histories of materiality and process in the production and consumption of material culture. It invites papers that examine how physical and intellectual practices such as collecting, repurposing and remaking conveyed materially embedded messages about the subjective experience of their owner-makers, as well as the period in which they were undertaken more broadly. Such practices performed not only physical but semantic changes upon these objects which, due to their revised contexts, reciprocally enacted changes upon their possessors. Examining how these processes allowed individuals to construct identities, spaces, and social bonds, this panel will address issues central to the ‘material turn’ that has characterised recent scholarship within the humanities and, in particular, that of art history.

The AAH welcomes papers concerning all geographical areas and time periods – from the beginning of human history to the present day. Potential topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • object biographies
  • construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction
  • adaptation and alteration
  • quotation and pastiche, bricollage & photomontage
  • movement: mobility, translation, and geographical transformation
  • composite forms of artistic production: quilting, shell/feather/paper-work, collaging
  • affective, familial, and emotional objects
  • modes of acquisition: collection, found objects, inheritance, and gift exchange
  • the relationship between mass production and personal identity

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