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CFP: DISASTER: Response, Relief, Resistance (Biennial University of Michigan Graduate Symposium in the History of Art, 10 Oct 2020)

Disaster, understood broadly and in its many forms, elicits artistic production in response—often under the guise of catharsis, historical record, utopian/dystopian futures, or a mode of resistance. In the context of the United States, artistic response in the midst or wake of crisis is now recognized as crucial at a governmental level. In 2017 the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture produced a guide entitled ​“Art Became the Oxygen: An Artistic Response Guide” arguing that creative response to natural disasters and social emergencies is imperative in proposing the possibility of futures. Amelia Brown writes about contemporary “​emergency arts,​” or the combination of artistic practice, community development, and emergency management. Historic examples are geographically, culturally, and materially diverse; they range from Japan’s many Buddhist objects created in anticipation of a spiritual crisis in the mid-eleventh century to the work of Käthe Kollwitz, who graphically depicted scenes representing the horrors of modern warfare in World War I and its aftermath. These works, among others, remain moving and relevant to this day.

This symposium seeks papers that deal with art in response to disaster and/or subsequent responses from a variety of global and period contexts. Topics include but are not limited to research on artistic response, relief, and/or resistance, such as:

– Apocalyptic visions or imaginings
– Ecological or natural disaster (weather events, climate change, epidemics)
– Man-made disaster (war, oppressive regimes/legislature, nuclear crisis)
– Migrations, diasporas, land dispossession, precarity
– Ongoing social disaster (racism, violence, displacement)
– Personal/interpersonal trauma and disasterApplicants should submit a paper title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a current CV as a single PDF to ​​.

The deadline for submissions is Saturday, March 15, 2020.

Selected speakers will be notified on Monday, March 30, 2020, and are expected to accept or decline the offer within one week of notification. Papers should be 20 minutes in length and will be followed by a question and answer session.

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