CFP Oct 19, 2020

2 Sessions at AAH Annual Conference 21 (14-17 Apr 21)

Online, Apr 14–17, 2021
Deadline: Nov 2, 2020

ArtHist Redaktion

Association for Art History’s 2021 Annual Conference

[1] Smell and Stereotype in 18th- and 19th-Century Visual Culture
[2] Challenging Orientalism: New questions of perception and reception


[1] Smell and Stereotype in 18th- and 19th-Century Visual Culture

From: Ersy Contogouris,
Date: Oct 13, 2020

Convenors Ersy Contogouris ( and Érika Wicky (

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the ‘olfactory revolution’ that reoriented conceptions of smell led to renewed meanings and functions of this sense in social life. The epistemological shift that strongly linked olfaction with the nervous system, the development of hygiene as a science, and the flourishing of the perfume industry contributed to transforming the significance of smell. The act of smelling thus became involved in many identity constructions such as nation, race, gender and class. Olfaction came to be gendered; for instance, as specific smells became associated with women, the act of smelling was seen as pertaining to the feminine by means of objects such as scent bottles that performed women’s supposed extra-sensitivity to smells, and perfume was increasingly used to bolster the association between women and flowers. At the level of nations, the high proportion of Italian and French perfumers in England contributed to the construction of national stereotypes.

This session seeks to examine ways in which visual culture expressed and reinforced the role of the sense of smell in the construction of stereotypes. Graphic satire, for example, abundantly challenged the invisibility of smell, often representing stench and fragrance in order to express political criticism, reinforce social hierarchies or identify censorious behaviour. Caricaturists, such as Gillray, Boilly and Daumier greatly contributed to stereotyping in allegories, expressions of disgust provoked by miasmas, and representations of effeminate characters such as fops, macaronis, muscadins and dandies. By examining these and other issues related to the representation of smell in the creation and circulation of stereotypes, this session seeks to provide a cross-disciplinary contribution to both the history of visual culture and the history of the senses.

Please send proposals (250 words max) for a 25-minute paper to the convenors Ersy Contogouris ( and Érika Wicky ( using the form available here:, no later than November 2, 2020.


[2] Challenging Orientalism: New questions of perception and reception

From: Emily Christensen,
Date: Oct 13, 2020

Emily Christensen (The Courtauld Institute of Art)
Erica Payet (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Western visual culture has long depicted themes of Orientalism in paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and films. Since Linda Nochlin applied Edward Said’s theory to paintings in 1983, these works have occupied a complex and often uncomfortable place in Western art history. Nevertheless, Orientalist artworks continue to present their dissonant character, as simultaneously crowd-pleasing favourites and critically discounted works. Recent exhibitions, including Oriental Visions: From Dreams into Light (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, 2019), Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art (British Museum, London 2019-2020) and Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse (Musée d’Orsay, Paris 2019), reveal differing approaches to Orientalism and suggest a need to reconsider its place in contemporary art historiography.

Furthermore, the production of Orientalist visual culture did not end with postcolonialism. Contemporary examples continue to be produced and circulated, from the fine arts to cinema and the media, often without critical scrutiny. In parallel, the last decades have witnessed growing private and public collections of Orientalism throughout the Islamic world, notably in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Sharjah, and Kuala Lumpur. How does their reception in these locations, and their inclusion and recontextualization alongside collections of art from the Islamic world contribute to the existing Western art historical narrative? Where do Orientalist works sit in a postcolonial and neocolonial world?

This session seeks to enlarge a contested field of art historical study by inviting submissions that re-evaluate its historiography, offer novel studies of Orientalist art from the 19th century to the modern day, and examine the contemporary practices around its display and reception.

To submit a paper:
Please email your paper proposals to Emily Christensen and Erica Payet by 2 November 2020. You need to provide a title, abstract (250 words max.), your name, and institutional affiliation (if any).

CFP: 2 Sessions at AAH Annual Conference 21 (14-17 Apr 21). In:, Oct 19, 2020 (accessed Sep 27, 2021), <>.