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Art History CFPs for RSA 2018 New Orleans
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This blog is for CFPs for sessions in art history for RSA 2018 New Orleans. Members may post CFPs here: sign in to RSA and select "add new post" to do so. Your post should include a title, and the CFP itself should be no longer than 250 words. Adding tags (key words) to your post will help others find your CFP. Make sure the CFP includes the organizer's name, email address or mail-to link for email address, and a deadline for proposals. Non-members may email to post a CFP. Please use the email address of the session organizer posted in the CFP to submit a paper proposal. CFPs are posted in order of receipt, with the newest postings appearing at the top of the blog. Members may subscribe to the blog to be notified when new CFPs are posted: click on the word Subscribe next to the green checkmark above.


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Architect/Craftsman: Professional Identity and Skill in the Early Modern Era

Posted By Sarah W. Lynch, Thursday, May 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 12, 2017

What makes an architect an architect? What skills, knowledge or achievements separate an architect from a stonemason, engineer, craftsman, or simple builder? Plato divided each field of knowledge into practical and theoretical branches, valuing the theoretical (knowledge of truths) over manual skill. Architectural literature of antiquity and the early modern period generally observed this divide and asserted that “theoretical” knowledge separated the craftsman from the architect. Vitruvius stated that an architect possessed almost universal knowledge and that a carpenter was only a tool in his hands, thus establishing a clear hierarchy in the design and construction of a building. Alberti, Serlio and other fifteenth and sixteenth-century authors prioritized design over manual execution. Walther Ryff stated that a Baumeister could only become an Architekt by reading Vitruvius, thus suggesting that the distinction between the two categories lay in learned discourse. Yet other authors including Francesco di Giorgio emphasized the importance of training on a building site and manual skill for the architect-designer.

How do these discourses influence our interpretation of early modern architectural work today, and how much did they reflect the reality of architectural practice? Builders often made unauthorized changes to a design in the process of construction and architects who trained as painters and sculptors ran into conflicts with the skilled builders on their projects. These issues suggest that the responsibilities of architects and building professionals were not clearly defined and frequently overlapped. Further, modern concepts of authorship, in which a single designer is considered primarily responsible for the outcome of a building, may not apply in this environment.

This panel seeks to address the questions of the professional identity and responsibilities of architects and builders in the early modern era. Papers addressing all geographic areas and periods 1300-1700 are welcome. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):


What distinction was made in the early modern era between design and building?

How can we assess the meanings of different professional titles (architect, engineer, stonemason, Baumeister, provveditore, proto, etc.) and what distinguishes them?

Can economic factors such as pay scale be used to distinguish a clear hierarchy in the design and construction process? Are salaries related to professional titles?

To what extent do early modern texts about architecture reflect the lived experience of designing and building a structure? Do the ideal architects described by Vitruvius and others exist anywhere other than on the page?

In regions where masons’ guilds controlled building trades, what role did they play in determining titles and qualification for specialized roles and skills? Was it possible to work outside of these guild structures?

How did architects who trained as painters or sculptors interact with the builders on their projects?

How did architects, patrons, and viewers discuss authorship with regard to building projects?

Who was ultimately responsible for the outcome of a building project and how were the results evaluated? Is it possible to assess when or where builders made changes to the design in the process of construction?


Please send paper proposals to Sarah Lynch at before June 1. Proposals should be formatted according to RSA guidelines (found here) including title, an abstract of no more than 150 words, keywords, and a 300 word CV including your current affiliation (prose form not accepted).



Tags:  architecture  art literature  artistic practice  artistic process  construction  design  professions  skill 

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Materiality, the Senses, and the Everyday

Posted By Karen-edis Barzman, Monday, May 1, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

This interdisciplinary Call for Papers seeks submissions that consider the use of material culture in the everyday, and the sensorial experience of objects in their original contexts. Papers could include the way objects engaged a variety of senses and/or encouraged bodily movement, prompting ritualized responses or eliciting new forms of spatial practice. Examples could investigate the use of liturgical objects in sacred spaces, the role of domestic or devotional items in residential quarters, the effects on the body of new materials and technologies in the trades and professions, and the incorporation of props in the performance of urban life. Papers related to understudied aspects of the sensorium are particularly welcome, especially those that consider objects and context engaging smell and taste. Geographic focus is unrestricted; temporal limits, c. 1300-1700.

Submissions Guidelines                                    
Proposals should be for 20-minute papers and should include

  • a preliminary title for the paper
  • an abstract of 150 words
  • a 1-page CV, including current institutional affiliation(s)
  • current contact information

Submit your proposal to by Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Subject line: “RSA – Materiality, the Senses, and the Everyday.”

Tags:  devotional  domestic  everyday  liturgical  materiality  objects  performance  professions  props  residential  ritualized responses  senses  sensorium  smell  spatial practice  taste  technologies  trades  urban life 

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