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CfP: Motivating Monuments: Defining Collective Identities in Public Spaces

Tuesday, February 20, 2018   (0 Comments)

Motivating Monuments: Defining Collective Identities in Public Spaces

A symposium hosted by the graduate students of the History of Art and Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh. November 2–3, 2018

Keynote: Dr. Jacqueline Jung

The goal of this conference is to promote interdisciplinary discussions about the power invested in monuments and how individual attachments to them are persistently and profoundly mediated by shared group identities. This symposium takes objects as concrete manifestations of collective identities and will foster productive, in-depth discussions about the shared stakes of monuments. Conversations will unfold across premodern, early modern, modern, and contemporary topics, thematically linking research that might otherwise be isolated by disciplinary or historical divides.

Visual objects can serve as vital tools of social cohesion, whether through construction, destruction, modification, or translocation; monuments link shared concerns that persist across time and geographic location, from the disassembly and installation of the Elgin Marbles in London to anti-monumentality in Gu Wenda's Forest of Stone Steles. We welcome proposals that attend to the diverse roles of visual culture as monuments to or within collectivities. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Construction
    • Civic or religious monuments or built environments
    • Imposed identities
    • Antimonuments
  • Destruction
    • Censorship and erasure
    • Iconoclasm
  • Modification or Relocation
    • Restoration campaigns and responses to these actions
    • Subaltern appropriation or utilization of public monuments
    • Artistic practices that subvert or challenge existing monuments
  • Theoretical Concerns
    • Alternate definitions of monument
    • Issues of monumentality

Contact Info: To propose a 20-minute presentation, please send an abstract of up to 300 words and a CV to by midnight, March 30, 2018. Invitations to participate will issued by mid-April.

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