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Call for Participants, "Evolution, Ecology, and Art History" (4th York Summer Theory Institute in History of Art)

Type: Residencies, Workshops, Exchanges [View all]
Posted by: History of Art Department, University of York (UK)
Deadline: Fri, February 2nd, 2018

The History of Art department invites applications from MA, Ph.D. and post-doctoral students for the fourth edition of the York Summer Theory Institute (YSTI) in Art History, which will run between May 21-25 at the University of York, in the United Kingdom.

The theme of this year will be Evolution, Ecology, and Art History and the 5-day workshop will be run by Professor Whitney Davis, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor of History and Theory of Ancient and Modern Art at the University of California at Berkeley.

Every afternoon, YSTI participants will read and discuss new contributions on evolution and ecology, assessing their relevance for the discipline of the history of art.

To apply, please e-mail with a very short statement (around 250 words) setting out how you envisage your attendance contributing to your research.

The deadline for applications is Friday 2 February 2018.

The YSTI is free of charge, but places are limited.

In order to increase the diversity of the participants, the History of Art department is able to offer some support for travel and accommodation expenses for students who reside beyond 100 kilometers from York. If you are a graduate student from, let’s say Liverpool, or if you are an international student working over the summer in London, do specify it in your statement. Please notice that the department is unable to cover costs for national and international flights.

If you are unsure whether you qualify, or would like to receive more information about the summer school, please email Dr. Emanuele Lugli, Graduate Chair of the History of Art department, at


Evolution, Ecology, and Art History

May 21–25, 2018

1:30 – 4:30 pm daily + evening lectures May 22 (5:30 pm ) and 24 (5:30 pm).

A recent resurgence of interest in evolutionary-development and ecological aesthetics (in disciplines as diverse as cognitive anthropology, philosophy of art, and prehistoric archaeology) has reopened many questions about the “origins” of aesthetic consciousness and about the role and impact of the visual and spatial arts in human biocultural emergence in the Pleistocene, Holocene, and Anthropocene. Topics of YSTI sessions might include: A revived neo-Darwinian theory of the roots of aesthetic consciousness and art in sexual selection (D. Rothenberg, R. O. Prum), and a commensurate attentiveness to late nineteenth-century natural- and sexual-selectionist approaches in the theory of art (J. A. Symonds, Vernon Lee); models of the “art instinct” (D. Dutton) and the “aesthetic brain” (A. Chatterjee); new accounts of the utilitarian (evolutionary, adaptive) functions of “making things special” (E. Dissanayake) and of “striking visibility” (J. Stejksal); intersections between cognitive neuroscience and aesthetics/art history (J. Onians, E. Kandel); new ethological approaches to art (M. E. Dijkstra); investigations of the role of art-making in the emergence of “psychologically modern” Homo sapiens (T. Deacon, S. Davies); and new environmental materialisms in many subfields and area studies of art history (“eco-art history,” “green art studies,” “deep time” studies, etc.) (many participants, e.g., E. de Bièvre, N. Eaton, S. Ray; in this area, we will focus on contributions that deal with historical materials; issues in immediately contemporary art would require a different formulation)

Posted on Wed, January 10th, 2018
Expires on Fri, February 2nd, 2018

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