[spectre] CFP: Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, Contexts (Lima, 4-12 May 24)

Andreas Broeckmann andreas.broeckmann at leuphana.de
Mon May 15 09:59:31 CEST 2023

From: Lena Bader
Date: May 14, 2023
Subject: CFP: Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, Contexts (Lima, 
4-12 May 24)

Lima, May 4–12, 2024
Deadline: Jun 15, 2023

5th Transregional Academy on Latin American Art "Contesting Objects: 
Sites, Narratives, Contexts".

Call for Applications
The German Center for Art History (DFK Paris, Max Weber Foundation), the 
Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome 
(BHMPI), and the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) invite doctoral candidates 
and postdoctoral researchers in the field of art history and allied 
disciplines to apply for the 5th Transregional Academy on Art and 
Culture in Latin America, which will convene at the Museo de Arte de 
Lima from May 4 to May 12, 2024. The Academy is made possible with 
support from Getty through its Connecting Art Histories Initiative and 
will be conducted in cooperation with the Forum Transregionale Studien 

Viewed from a transregional perspective, the relationship between an 
object and its discursive embedding is influenced not only by history 
and institutions but also by culture, society, and the region itself. 
These interconnections call for a situated research and an 
interdisciplinary approach so that objects are considered in light of 
their complex contexts: environment, class, gender, race, economy, 
religion, academia, museum, etc. The term “objects” includes all 
expressions of the visual arts; however, viewed through the lens of 
their objecthood, objects are a stage for exploring transcultural 
references, negotiations, and impositions, raising important questions 
for a transregional art history. As in the case of pre-Columbian 
objects, most artifacts transgress modern conceptual categories of art, 
showing that received notions of art can be performed, imposed or 
rejected; in fact, their nomination points to the epistemic violence 
inherent to every history and instance of instrumentalization 
(musealization, iconization, scientification, narration etc.). These 
interwoven layers of possible approaches cannot be studied solely from a 
regional perspective. They are best analyzed by means of  relational 
studies, using a dialogical approach focusing more on interconnectedness 
than on comparison. The theme, “Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, 
Contexts”, therefore, promotes a transregional exploration of the 
material and intellectual foundations of art historical research: How do 
different notions of art history bring different objects to light? How 
does art history identify itself through specific objects? How do 
certain objects challenge art historical discourses, and when do their 
presence demand interdisciplinary approaches? And most importantly: how 
can a transregional perspective with an emphasis on Latin America expand 
the scope of understanding the links between the object and its art 
histories in different social, cultural and ideological constellations?

Latin America from a Transregional Perspective The Academy’s prism and 
location is Latin America from a transregional perspective. Working 
outward from there, artistic processes of exchange within the American 
continent will be analyzed from a transregional and transcultural 
perspective against the backdrop of the concurrent international 
entanglements and connections. Instead of merely describing and 
comparing artistic tendencies, the interconnectedness and the multitude 
of cultural and creative processes and strategies of appropriation, 
including contradictory modalities of translation and analogy or 
conflicting, nonlinear transfers, will be discussed. Such a 
transregional perspective can only be viable if research conducted in or 
on Latin American countries is brought into dialogue with discussions 
taking place elsewhere, within an international context, and vice-versa. 
This relational, dialogical approach forms the foundation of the 
Academy's methodological framework. In that sense, a historiographical 
perspective is necessary to gauge the extent to which there can be a 
common conceptual and epistemological basis. This applies not least to 
terms such as “translocal,” “transregional,” and “transcultural.”

Contesting objects Premised on the notion that the question of images 
also emblematizes important shifts vis-à-vis an art history oriented 
toward normative concepts of artwork, we ask what the question of 
objects brings to art history, both in terms of material and 
intellectual foundations, and especially in view of tangible 
experiences: How does art history imagine its object and how do objects 
create different art histories – open or not to transdisciplinary 
dialogues depending on the diversity of material culture? The historical 
scope of the Academy’s investigation is deliberately not limited to any 
one era and seeks to avoid all contemporary historical caesurae. Project 
descriptions should address one of the following thematic fields:

Sites: Objects are situated items, in that they also refer to diverse 
notions of space, place or site. Their scale invites us to consider 
artistic creations outside of institutional spaces like museums and 
galleries. For instance, how can we consider the aesthetic experience of 
urban contexts, both verbally and visually? How can we grasp the 
fragility of sites? And how do notions of inside and outside vary 
depending on transregional perspectives?

Contexts: While reproductions and presentation of artworks may have 
accustomed viewers to seeing them depicted without frames or a space 
surrounding them, the question of objects inevitably brings a complex 
ecosystem into play – an environment that is more permeable to societies 
and cultures surrounding them, and thus different from that of the white 
cube, for example. The focus is, thus, on the social and historical 
components that are indissolubly part of every object’s biography, both 
with regard to the context of their production and their reception. How 
do we reflect on these lived situations?

Display: Objects can be mobile. While some objects disappear or endure 
transregional encounters, others are rendered all the more visible. This 
dynamic engenders narratives that are conditioned both at the regional 
and transregional levels. How do we engage with these exposed objects? 
How do we react to the presence and absence of objects and their 
histories? How do we name them?

Agency: Objects are more than mere things: they are linked to narratives 
and have an agency on their own. Therefore, they may offer a critical 
counterpoint to abstract concepts and narrations, or be tamed by them; 
they may seem suitable for both critical and theoretical inquiries as 
well as positivist approaches. How can we discuss these different 
concepts of agency and their historiographic contexts?

Sensual approach: Objects appeal to a variety of senses, oftentimes 
challenging academic research, as they engage the researcher’s bodily 
experiences. This provides an intriguing counterpoint to the colonial 
obsession with visibility, for instance, in the context of modernism. 
How does art history engage with these different domains of the sensible?

History: Each object participates in an intertwining of multiple 
histories. They allow different approaches stemming from such 
disciplines as anthropology, political science, history of science, or 
art history to imagine different takes on how history and objects 
interact. How can we think of objects in relation to transregional 
histories without assuming a mere illustration or reflection but without 
also overestimating the agency of objects in the face of political forces?

Identity: Objects may also be linked to very different conceptions of 
identity if we think of Amerindian perspectivism, micropolitics or 
disembodied philosophies. How does art historical research navigate this 
multitude of concepts? Is it even important or desirable to have a 
common epistemological basis for how we comprehend objects?

The 5th Transregional Academy on Art and Culture in Latin America will 
be held as part of the DFK Paris’s research area, “Traveling Art 
Histories: Transregional Networks in Exchange between Latin America and 
Europe”. The four preceding Academies addressed the themes of 
“Modernism: Concepts, Contexts, and Circulation” (São Paulo, 2016), 
“Mobility: Objects, Materials, Concepts, and Actors in Art” (Buenos 
Aires, 2017), “Spaces of Art: Concepts and Impacts in and outside Latin 
America” (Mexico City, 2019), and “Plural temporalities. Theories and 
Practices of Time” (Bogotá, 2022).

Steering Committee
Luisa Elena Alcalá (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, UAM), Lena Bader 
(DFK Paris), Peter Geimer (DFK Paris), Anne Lafont (École des hautes 
études en sciences sociales, EHESS, Paris), Sharon Lerner (MALI Lima), 
Natalia Majluf (Independent Art Historian), Tristan Weddigen (BHMPI, Rome)

Participation Requirements and Application Guidelines The Transregional 
Academy is a format of the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien. It 
promotes intensive peer-to-peer dialogue to generate new perspectives. 
Participants are actively involved in structuring the program and 
developing its content. They present their individual research projects 
and, together, form discussion groups around specific themes. The 
majority of the findings are expected to result from intensive 
small-group work and discussion, whereas others will emerge from 
exchanges with local experts.

We invite applications from emerging and young scholars (with a master’s 
degree and/or Ph.D. within the past five years as well as doctoral 
candidates and postdoctoral researchers). Up to twenty participants from 
different countries and academic contexts will be selected and given an 
opportunity to present and discuss their current research in an 
international, multidisciplinary setting. Participants will receive a 
grant to cover their transportation and accommodation costs. The program 
is aimed at researchers in art history as well as neighboring 
disciplines such as postcolonial studies, literary and cultural studies, 
anthropology, architecture, history, political science, sociology, and 
media studies. The applicants’ research projects should be closely 
linked to the Academy’s themes, exhibit a Latin American focus, and 
adopt an explicitly transregional perspective.

The working language is English.

Applications must be submitted in English and include the following 
documents: - letter of motivation (2,500 characters, incl. spaces) 
outlining how your project fits into the current research landscape and 
the Academy’s topic - a short biography (1,000 characters, incl. spaces; 
running text) that includes information on your country of origin and 
current residence - an outline summarizing your current research project 
(5,000 characters, incl. spaces) - the names of two academic references 
(no letter of recommendation required) - and reading suggestions for a 
possible thematic session (title and short description of 2-3 sentences 
detailing why this text is interesting to you)
We kindly ask you to submit your application via the secure online 
application platform of the Forum Transregionale Studien by June 15, 
2023, 23.59h CET: application.trafo-berlin.de

For inquiries related to program content, please contact: Lena Bader, 
DFK Paris, 45 rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris, lbader at dfk-paris.org.

For inquiries regarding the application process and organization, please 
contact: Jacqueline Wagner, Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 
14193 Berlin, +49-30-89001-430, academies at trafoberlin.de.

For all questions regarding the application platform, please contact: 
support at trafo-berlin.de.

For further information on the previous academies and the participating 
institutions, visit:

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Contesting Objects: Sites, Narratives, Contexts (Lima, 4-12 May 
24). In: ArtHist.net, May 14, 2023. <https://arthist.net/archive/39281>.

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