CFP: 3 Sessions at CAA (New York, 10-13 Feb 21)

Online and New York City, February 10 - 13, 2021
Deadline: Sep 16, 2020

College Art Association Annual Conference

[1] Textiles and Nation Building
[2] Modern Art and/as Therapy
[3] Ecology, Rhythm and Race in a Global Context


[1] Textiles and Nation Building

From: Noga Bernstein,

Recent scholarship has increasingly considered the ways material culture contributed to nation-building. Textile-production played a key role in such processes. In the modern era, textiles have often been associated with the invention of folk traditions perceived as the "soul of the nation," while also serving as a token of industrial and economic progress. Mahatma Gandhi's use of the spinning wheel as an anti-colonial symbol is the most iconic example, but modern history provides an abundance of cases in which textiles were used to convey nationalistic messages, capture a national style or function as a practice that shaped national identities. Taking into account the multiplicity of identities within any allegedly cohesive national group, this panel seeks papers that examine historical examples of textiles used by either official or grassroots forces to build national visions. While nationalism is considered a modern phenomenon, this panel invites submissions focusing on the role of textiles within both modern and pre-modern forms of governments.

CAA will be held as a virtual program on February 10-13, 2021.
For more information on the conference:
To submit a paper proposal for this session, please email:
Deadline for submission: September 16


[2] Modern Art and/as Therapy

From: Tanya Sheehan,

Histories of modern art have had little to say about art therapy, despite its widespread practice in the United States, where it emerged out of psychology and progressive education in the early twentieth century. Indeed, creative art making and viewing came to be commonplace in hospitals, clinics, community centers, and prisons, fueled by a belief in the transformational power of art for psychological diagnosis and healing. This session seeks to explore the conversations between the therapies associated with these extra-artistic spaces and the modernism that visual arts developed at the same time. We invite papers dealing with the visual language and theories shared by art therapy and modernism; conceptions of modernism as therapeutic in popular and fine-artistic discourses; modernist artists’ own encounters with art therapy in clinical settings; and art therapy’s entry into the spaces of modernism, including the art museum and gallery. We especially encourage interdisciplinary papers that situate case studies in relation to discourses in medical humanities, disability studies, and related fields.

Link with details on how to submit a proposal by the deadline of Wed, September 16:

Please reach out to us with questions and/or preliminary ideas before the deadline!

Tanya Sheehan, Colby College -​
​Suzanne Hudson, University of Southern California -​


[3] Ecology, Rhythm and Race in a Global Context

From: Alison Boyd,

Alison Boyd, Utrecht University ( and Sria Chatterjee, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut (

Climate change is primarily presented through a scientific and technical narrative. However, climate change is deeply political and the question of race is inherent to both contemporary climate justice, and how the relationship between the environment, art and society have been historically constructed. In the early twentieth century, artists, critics and intellectuals across the globe used the concept of “rhythm” to situate race in relationship to natural and man-made environments. In an era in which blood (race) and soil (nature) were seen as inextricably linked, rhythm was often used as the lynchpin to connect these concepts. Art critics in the 1920s-1930s formed aesthetic theories premised on the belief that the environment determined a person’s race or character. As industrialization, new agricultural practices, migrations and urbanization transformed environments and climates, many people believed that modernity had misaligned these natural rhythms. This led to cultural anxieties—from neurasthenia to racial miscegenation and xenophobia. While “blood” and “soil” are most infamously associated with constructions of Aryan German identity, this panel explores how “rhythm” was mobilized across the globe towards a range of nationalist projects that sought to create authentic local artistic modernisms. Rhythm was a key term in a number of modernist contexts, such as in Pan- Asian projects which characterized “Oriental” art, engagements with indigenous and folk art in the Americas, and in Pan-Africanism in the New Negro and Négritude movements, among others. This panel seeks to excavate transnational histories of rhythm and race, and their relationship to the environment in the visual arts.


Please refer to CAA for further details on how to submit your paper proposal.(

CFP: 3 Sessions at CAA (New York, 10-13 Feb 21). In:, Sep 14, 2020 (accessed Sep 20, 2020), <>.

Contributor: ArtHist Redaktion

Contribution published: Sep 14, 2020

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