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Call for Papers - Long Shadows: Tradition, Influence and Persistence in Modern Craft

Type: Calls For Papers [View all]
Posted by: Yale Center for British Art
Deadline: Thu, June 15th, 2017

Call for Papers - Long Shadows: Tradition, Influence and Persistence in Modern Craft

In his 2003 article “The Long Shadow of William Morris,” Edward S. Cooke Jr. argued that “American scholars of twentieth-century material culture remain mired in the celebration of either individual craftspeople or designers and emphasize historical narrative at the expense of critical analysis or interpretation.” Cooke ascribed this limited view, in part, to the influence of the Arts and Craft movement advocate William Morris, whose emphasis on individualism discouraged an understanding of craft’s true social and economic role.

In the years since Cooke’s article, a new generation of scholars has begun to construct an alternative map of modern craft—one in which the idealistic figure of the solitary studio craftsman has been displaced from the center, making way for a multidimensional account of skills at work in myriad kinds of situations. Building on these new approaches, this symposium looks at some of the questions that remain. One of these is the proper understanding of what Cooke called “historical narrative” in the analysis of modern craft. Should we resist conceptions of tradition as inherently vague and mystifying? Or does tradition still have an important role to play, as an anchor and binding agent? How should we understand the phenomenon of knowledge transmission, once guild-based apprenticeships began to decline drastically in the nineteenth century? Most generally, what role does the past play in contemporary making?

In this graduate student symposium, we invite papers based on history, theory, and practice. MFA students whose work addresses the symposium themes are encouraged to apply. Proposals might include specific case studies, in which the persistence of making traditions is at stake; methodological papers, which propose models for the analysis of craft’s past and present in relation to one another; and historiographies, which examine current scholarship or primary texts in relation to the symposium’s theme.

We are accepting proposals for twenty-five-minute papers from graduate students working in any discipline. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the organizers. Please apply here by uploading an abstract of no more than three hundred words along with a one-page CV. The deadline for applications in June 15, 2017.

The symposium is inspired by the exhibition “Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery, on view at the Center from September 14 to December 3, 2017.  Keynote lecture by Jenni Sorkin, Assistant Professor of Art History, UC Santa Barbara, and author of Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Posted on Thu, April 20th, 2017
Expires on Thu, June 15th, 2017

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