CFP: “Mapping: Geography, Power, and the Imagination in the Art of the Americas” @ Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

Institute of Fine Arts at New York University

March 7 – 9, 2013

Deadline: December 7, 2012

Symposium – “Mapping: Geography, Power, and the Imagination in the Art of the Americas”


The Institute of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the upcoming graduate student conference, “Mapping: Geography, Power, and the Imagination in the Art of the Americas,” which will include keynote lectures by Jennifer Roberts (Harvard University) and Irene Small (Princeton University).

This international graduate student symposium will focus on the North and South American landscape in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and seeks to explore mapping as a conceptual and artistic practice from a hemispheric perspective. How can the “map” as an intellectual model both unite diverse cultures and modes of knowledge as well as highlight their differences?

Whether considering mapping as a traditional cartographic system representing the land or as a contemporary scientific approach to visualizing the body, maps allow for the unique diagramming of relationships between people and spaces, objects and time, vision and knowledge. As the scholar Donna Haraway contends, “maps are models of worlds crafted through and for specific practices of intervening and ways of life.” The conference will use this concept of map-making as “world-making” in order to examine the ways in which power, place, and cultural traditions intersect and come into conflict. Though maps are often taken as straightforward, objective configurations, they can also expose deeply subjective frameworks with social, political, and economic significance.

Speakers are encouraged to address not only more traditional forms of landscape art, but also non-traditional approaches and media. Subjects may include European artists depicting the North or South American landscape, or artists from the Americas confronting their own geography. Mapping may engage with ideological issues (imperialism and nationality), representational paradigms (realism and abstraction), or questions of the body (sexuality, ethnicity, mortality).

Possible topics might include:

–       indigenous cartography

–       traveler artists and explorers

–       survey or aerial photography

–       nineteenth-century panoramas

–       abstraction and the landscape

–       American WPA projects

–       Mexican muralists

–       ethnographic photography

–       art and Caribbean mercantilism

–       site-specific land art

–       genetic/chromosonal mapping

–       natural history and botanical illustration

–       neuroaesthetics

–       performance art

With generous funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the conference will provide a significant opportunity for the exchange of ideas between emerging scholars from around the world who would not otherwise have the chance to share their work. The deadline for the submission of a 20-minute presentation proposal is Friday, December 7, 2012. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Friday, January 18, 2013. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Papers will be given in English but may be made available in other languages through the conference website. Current graduate students as well as recent graduates are encouraged to apply. Funds for travel and accommodations are available. Please send an abstract and CV to  In your application please indicate your current institutional affiliation and from where you would be traveling.

The conference is organized by Dr. Jennifer Raab, Kara Fiedorek, and Lizzie Frasco, and is supported by grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For further information or with any questions, please contact

See also:


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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