Cornell University Annual History of Art Graduate Student Symposium
Keynote Speaker: Amelia Jones, Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University
November 16-17, 2012
Ithaca, New York
Merriam-Webster defines appropriation as taking exclusive possession of something; setting it apart; assigning it to a particular purpose or use; and taking or making use of it without authority or right. This definition begs the question of whether it is inappropriate to appropriate, particularly when it comes to bodies.
This symposium aims to address how bodies have been appropriated in seemingly inappropriate ways. We are interested in improper, incorrect, perverse, and unsuitable uses of bodies that figure as unexpectedly apt creative strategies and political interventions. Artists have appropriated bodies, visual and corporeal, as a strategy to subvert established norms and meanings. Curators have categorized, displayed, and reconfigured imagery of bodies. Furthermore, scholars have appropriated concepts of race, gender, nation or culture onto bodies to develop the socio-political discourses that surround them. In all of these cases, questions of inappropriateness often arise. However, these (in)appropriations also reveal themselves to be alternative forms of inquiry or representation that encourage new ways of seeing and speaking about bodies.
We invite graduate students of all disciplines to present papers on the appropriation of bodies by artists, curators, scholars which have been (or could be) considered inappropriate, and how this aspect of their work proves useful in expanding the ways we look at art and understand its significance and purpose in culture, society, politics and history. Possible approaches to the topic include, but are not limited to:
● Negotiation of identities (race, gender, class, and so on) through appropriation
● Subversion of power dynamics by appropriating identities
● Grafting of theoretical approaches on to bodies
● Past or present collections and displays of bodies
● Loss or theft of corporeal identity, ownership or originality
● Reenactments and portrayals of bodies in film, dance, video and performance
● Caricatures, stereotypes, and other visual misrepresentations in art or performance
● Reuse/revision of ignored, avoided or dismissed theoretical approaches to bodies
● Mimicry, quotation, or allusion as a creative strategy or concept
● Political and governmental co-optation of figural forms
Presentations for this two-day conference should be in English and 20 minutes in length. For those interested in participating, please email a 200-300 word abstract and c.v. by August 15, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org.