The Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM) opend the call for papers for the international conference "Colonial (Mis)understandings: Portugal and Europe in Global Perspective, 1450-1900,"
July 17-20, 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal.
(Mis-)understanding religious art in colonial encounters (Panel 11)
Art and images based upon Christian concepts were highly relevant to the global expansion of the Catholic Mission starting from the late 15th century onwards. Its objects and symbols served both as emblems of cultural identification and differentiation as well as media for communication and practice of the Christian belief. However, roaming via the global missionary and mercantile networks, the Christian iconographies and their concepts changed not only formally but could also obtain new functions and meanings according to the various cultural contexts.
Taking account of Christian objects and iconographies and their travels between different textual, visual and performative cultural systems, the panel intends to analyze local strategies of artistic adaptation such as copying, translating, overwriting and substituting, as well as the reintegration and reappropriation of thus transformed objects into the colonial discourse.
In this context, "misunderstanding" can be described as a specific, and somehow creative, mode of adaptation and appropriation. Both the intentional and unintentional misinterpretation of objects, practices and symbols enabled different actors to find divergent identifications - or even autonomous courses of action, which in the case of a full mutual understanding would have resulted in conflict. Furthermore, (mis-)understanding eventually opens new ways of understanding and thus bypasses concepts of "hybridity", "syncretism" or "Mestizagem", which for their part only perpetuate the notion of the incommensurability of supposed binary and dichotomic cultures. The panel will ask in how far the transformations and alienations traceable in colonial religious art facilitated or even provoked such acts of (mis-)understanding.
Jens Baumgarten (Federal University of São Paulo)
Alberto Saviello (Freie Universität Berlin)
The deadline for abstracts (proposals of 300 words) is February 8, 2013.
Information regarding the proposal process can be found here:
The full list of panels is here:
CFP: Portugal and Europe in Global Perspective (Lisbon, 17-20 Jul 13). In: ArtHist.net, Jan 16, 2013 (accessed May 21, 2022), <https://arthist.net/archive/4526>.