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HECAA@30: Environments, Materials, and Futures of the Eighteenth Century

The Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA) announce an open call for panel proposals for our quinquennial conference, to be held in Boston from October 12–15, 2023.

On the land of the Massachusett and neighboring Wampanoag and Nipmuc peoples, Boston developed in the eighteenth century as a major colonized and colonizing site. Its status today as a cultural and intellectual hub is shaped by that context, making it a critical location to trace the cultural legacies of racism and social injustice between the eighteenth century and today. For whom is “eighteenth-century art and architecture” a useful category? What eighteenth-century materials, spaces, and images offer tools or concepts for shaping our collective futures? In considering these questions, we aim to be deliberate about expanding HECAA’s traditional focus on Western European art and architecture and specifically encourage proposals from scholars working on Asia, Africa and the African diaspora, Indigenous cultures, and the Islamic world.

We invite proposals for panel topics that engage with any of the above questions from various cultural perspectives. Topics could focus on “environments” (e.g., workshops, urban spaces, oceans, religious spaces, domestic spaces), “materials” (e.g., silver, sugar, canvas, wood, paper), “futures” (e.g., period visions of the future or new directions in the field); or “actors” (e.g., artists, workers, makers, patrons). We encourage creative and expansive ways of thinking about these topics. We also welcome panel proposals addressing other questions and approaches that are vital to eighteenth-century art and architecture.

Selected organizers will be asked to form panels of 3–4 speakers delivering 15-minute papers, or a roundtable session, from a separate open call for papers that will be publicized widely in Fall 2022.

In addition to plenary sessions, the conference will feature visits to area museums and architectural sites; panels that connect to collections or places in or around Boston, Cambridge, Salem, and Providence are welcome. Panel organizers should expect to attend the conference in person.

Interested panel organizers should submit a one-page abstract describing the topic and proposed format to Stacey Sloboda ( and Susan Wager ( by September 1, 2022. Organizers of successful panels will be asked to join HECAA if they are not already members.
Relevant research areas: 18th Century

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