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[Call for Papers] Beyond Borders: Visualizing Diaspora, Displacement, and Dispossession (Virtual, April 1–2, 2022)

Organization: Tufts University
Categories: Digital Humanities, American, Interdisciplinary, French, British, Popular Culture, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2022-04-01 to 2022-04-02 Abstract Due: 2021-11-30 Abstract Deadline has passed

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Tufts University Graduate Symposium 2022 in the History of Art and Architecture

Beyond Borders: Visualizing Diaspora, Displacement, and Dispossession

Deadline for Submissions: November 30, 2021

Symposium Date: April 1–2, 2022 via Zoom

??In 2020, a United Nations report indicated a record number of people forcibly displaced?—both inside and outside their home countries?—?as a result of war, ethnic persecution, and, more recently, COVID-19. Unfortunately, conflict-driven displacement dates back to antiquity. Personal and collective responses to forced displacement have and continue to inform numerous material and visual cultures. At times, objects and architecture reveal the ways in which artists used expressive means both to resist and come to terms with new environments and uncertain futures. Yet, at other times, they function principally as material witnesses, documenting the history and cultural vibrancy of threatened or lost communities.

Over the past several decades, postcolonial and decolonial methodologies have offered new insights into the tangled webs of erasure and renewal. These modes are inherently cross-disciplinary. Americanists face a new imperative to consider land-based epistemologies of Native peoples and their connections to storied places; the threat of erasure to Armenian monuments in Turkey and Azerbaijan urges renewed attention to the contentious, highly political nature of heritage conservation and protection; and migration caused by NAFTA and CAFTA requires examination via methodology that “drifts” between settler-colonial studies, migration studies, and prison studies. New scholarship must reflect the mutability of art and architecture created under conditions ranging from the personal to the catastrophic.

Over the course of two days, Tufts University’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture will host a series of panels inspired by the following questions: How have ethnic and cultural conflicts shaped material and visual cultures? What do objects and architecture of survival tell us about agency, resistance, and the displaced? How does the insurmountability of loss transform art practice? Who designs and implements processes of conversion, and for whom?

We encourage submissions on topics relating to art, architecture, and visual media from all fields across the humanities concerned with material in any time period. Potential themes might include:


Cultural interactions
Diaspora, displacement, and dispossession 
Forced migration and detention
Objects and architecture of survival
Propaganda and activism in visual culture
Multiraciality or racial ideology
Settler colonial logics
Refugee status
Oral and literary customs and practices
Origins, ancestry, and mythical consciousness of people and land 
Potential intersections of indigeneity and nationalism
Forced religious conversions
Postwar physical and artistic environments

Applicants must submit a paper title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a current CV as a single PDF file to tufts.symposium.2022@gmail.com by November 30, 2021. In the body of your email, please include your name, institutional affiliation, and the title of your paper. Responses regarding submissions will be sent out by late December. Presentations will be 15 minutes in length and followed by a panel Q&A session. All presentations and the keynote lecture (TBA) will take place virtually via Zoom on April 1–2. More details to follow.


Maria Bastos-Stanek