Roma and African Americans share a common struggle, say Cornel West and Margarete Matache

Cornel West has co-authored an article with Margareta Matache, a Roma rights activist and scholar: it was published in The Guardian last Tuesday. As is always the case with Guardian comments, these are as illuminating to read as the article itself. So are the silences of removed and presumably wack comments: there must be at least a half dozen iterations of “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards.”

It’s been 25 years since West’s Race Matters was first published in 1998; a new edition with a forward by West. In a new introduction for this anniversary edition, West writes: “Race matters in the twenty-first century are part of a moral and spiritual war over resources, power, souls, and sensibilities.” The introductory chapter focuses on US history–distant and past–and the shout outs are issued mostly to US-based academics and activists. Yet as he has for the last decades, West makes his target imperialism which is phenomenon worked out in a number of national varieties. It’s no doubt useful to call out imperialism in the name of anti-racism: West writes that “[r]ace matters are an integral part–though not sole part–of empire matters” and that “imperial democracy has its own structures of domination.”

A decisive turn to critical race art history in Europe was evident in Saturday’s College Art Association conference panel, “Critical Race Art Histories in German, Scandinavia, and Central Europe,” sponsored by the Historian of German, Scandinavian, and Central European Art and Architecture, which, like ACRAH, is a CAA Affiliated Society.


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A page from Herman Lundborg’s The Swedish Nation and Racial Types (1921), posted at Anthroscape.

This constellation of images is interesting not only because of the project to illustrate perceived mixed race and mixed ethnic appearances, Casta painting-like, but also because some subjects were presented frontally and in profile while others are not. Is “gipsy-ness” obvious enough in the top right frontal portrait? We can head back to Allan Sekula’s “The Body and the Archive” , an examination of the taxonomic photo. Yet, there was something else happening in the many nineteenth- and twetienth-century drawings and prints. (A Google Image search will yield a good number of these representations.) Seems like many Western artists chose the 3/4 profile view to demonstrate ethno-racial particularity. Why? One ear tells all? The shadow on one cheek is more than enough?


CFP Craft Studies Symposium–abstracts due Mar. 1, 2018

Call for Papers

Shared Ground: Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to Craft Studies

Presented by the Center for Craft, Bard Graduate Center, and the Museum of Arts and Design

September 20-22, 2018

New York, New York

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Click here to apply

Bard Graduate Center, the Center for Craft, and the Museum of Arts and Design are pleased to issue a call for papers for the forthcoming Shared Ground: Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to Craft Studies symposium to be held in New York City September 20-22, 2018.

The “material-turn” in the humanities has brought increased attention to the study of craft in art and design history, decorative arts and material culture studies, as well as other disciplines, such as anthropology and science and technology studies. Institutions are combining academic traditions of the humanities and social sciences with “learning by doing” pedagogy and the influence of global studies has led scholars to research, understand, and contextualize craft outside of the studio craft or the arts and craft movements. Beyond the humanities and social sciences, fields ranging from architecture and urban planning to engineering and computer science have begun to explore the craft-like nature and implications of their research and professional practice.

Craft studies is at a critical moment as more disciplines turn their research towards craft and more scholars expand the geographic and temporal boundaries of the field. The 2018 Shared Ground symposium will explore cross-disciplinary approaches to craft studies, with an eye towards intersecting and divergent theories, methodologies, and approaches in this emerging area of study.


Abstracts (up to 250 words) for 20 min papers and a brief curriculum vitae must be submitted here on or before March 1, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. We are looking for interdisciplinary knowledge and welcome papers from all disciplines. Alternative presentation formats are welcome, and graduate students are encouraged to apply. Abstracts will be subject to peer review.

For additional information, please visit or contact Marilyn Zapf, Assistant Director and Curator, the Center for Craft at

CFP: Black Portraitures IV; DEADLINE EXTENDED: 10/1

Event Timing: March 15-17, 2018.
Event Address: Havana, Cuba

BLACK PORTRAITURE[S] IV: The Color of Silence is the eighth conference in a series of international conversations to assess and break new ground in the fields of African, African American and African diasporic art and art history. This forum also provides various approaches to interpreting the representations, ambiguous meanings, and erasures of the black body in visual, social, material and expressive cultures. Over a span of fifteen years, artists, activists, patrons, musicians, writers, collectives, journalists, educators and scholars have come from across the globe to reflect on why and how conceptions of “blackness” shape historical imaginaries and subvert political ideologies. This is an opportunity to situate not only various macro-histories but also the micro-histories that inform a genealogy of innovative interrogations into the social structures that articulate—or silence—black subjectivity.

The conference aims to explore the aesthetic representation of the frameworks and social relations in which black bodies are seen and unseen, in which black lives are lived freely and under constraint, and most crucially, the representation of black subjects themselves. Examples abound throughout the African diaspora of how the humanity of black subjects is rendered invisible or hyper-visible—or both simultaneously (Cuba’s “antiracism,” Brazil’s “racial democracy,” South Africa’s “rainbow nation,” Jamaica’s “out of many, one people” motto, and the “postracial” U.S. are just a few examples). We invite papers that interrogate the complex intersections of race, history, culture and art.

In past conferences, participants have offered generative exchanges on everything from tourism and pop culture (art, fashion, music, dance, film), to revolutionary movements, pedagogy, the history of colonization and its impact on cultural expression, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the contemporary entanglements of the global marketplace. With this latest iteration of Black Portraitures, we seek papers and panel proposals that probe and build off of these themes and provide new methodologies, and even new questions, for the 21st century.

Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2017
Notice of acceptance: October 27, 2017

All proposals must be submitted through completion of the online form. Follow the link at

The conference will be held on Thursday through Saturday, March 15-17, 2018, in Havana, Cuba.  As the status of the US/Cuba relations are in flux, more information about travel will be available when the new Administration’s policies are enacted.  We will keep you posted.

Please note that as with most academic conferences, we are unable to provide institutional funding for travel to Black Portraitures.

Black Portraiture[s] IV is a collaboration with the U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, Jeffrey DeLaurentis; Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University; New York University’s LaPietra Dialogues, Tisch School of the Arts, and the Institute for African American Affairs.

Please contact with questions.

CFP: Beyond Boundaries: Artistic inquiries into borders and their meaning(s) @ Association for Art History 2018

Association for Art History Annual Conference 2018

5-7 April 2018

Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College London

Deadline for submissions: 6 November 2017

Beyond Boundaries: Artistic inquiries into borders and their meaning(s)

Borders have played a critical role in the development and distribution of culture, often acting as frameworks that help or hinder our ability to ‘look outwards’. In The Location of Culture, Homi Bhabha calls attention to the value of interstitial spaces, where borders, frames, and other locations ‘in- between’ become ‘innovative sites of collaboration and contestation in the act of defining the idea of society itself.’ Other philosophical considerations of borders, such as Martin Heidegger’s concept of gestell, or enframing, Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of Enlightenment aesthetics vis-à-vis the parergon, and Victor Stoichita’s analysis of framing devices in early modern ‘meta-painting’, have demonstrated the transformative power of edges, frames, borders, and boundaries in art.

This session will focus on works of art, artistic practices, and art historical perspectives that think critically and creatively about borders and their meaning(s). The goal is to expand our understanding of borders, whether physical or conceptual, historical or theoretical. In the spirit of pushing beyond boundaries of convention and ‘looking outwards’, we welcome papers that focus on any medium, art historical period, or curatorial practice. Papers may address, though are not limited to: art that explores the significance of borders to migrants, immigrants, diasporic communities or other groups residing (both literally and figuratively) ‘in-between’; activist art that interrogates borders and their meaning(s); the role of public art, public space, and social media in thinking beyond boundaries; the metaphorical and/or literal framing of a work of art and its effects; the symbolic purpose or meaning of frames in various cultural contexts (for instance, the role of framing in religious spaces or objects, such as tabernacles, wall niches, icon paintings, and marginalia).

Please email your paper proposals directly to the session chairs:

Mey-Yen Moriuchi, La Salle University, moriuchi@lasalle. edu

Lesley Shipley, Randolph College,

Proposals should include an abstract (250 words maximum) and CV.

Click here for the full call for AAH submissions.

Papers topics addressing critical race art history, theory, and curatorial practices welcome.

CFP: CAA 2018/Los Angeles panel–The Photograph, Self-Representation & US Contemporary Art

Alternative Visions: The Photograph, Self-Representation, and Fact in Contemporary Art of the United States 

Chair(s): Natalie Zelt, The University of Texas at Austin,
As the editors of “Aperture” recently reminded their readers, “The need for artists to offer persuasive, alternative visions is more urgent than ever.”
In response to that need for creative dissent, this panel investigates the ways contemporary artists use the photograph and self-representation together to craft alternative visions and selves. The photograph’s tangled relationship to truth and identity make it a potent conceptual and compositional tool for artists to challenge the limits of both art historical and social categories. Designed to delineate and define, the photograph continues to circumscribe the visual limits of identity categories, including nationality, race, class, gender, and sexuality, well after art historians and cultural critics such as Allan Sekula, Martha Rosler, Sally Stein, and John Tagg called its documentary “truthiness” into question. Additionally, a swell of “post-photography” discourses, ranging from Geoffrey Batchen to Robert Shore, confound the boundaries of the medium, while curators and museums struggle to adapt.
“Alternative Visions” examines the many ways contemporary artists in the United States disrupt the photograph’s master narratives and traditional roles to create subversive, subjective, and contradictory representations of themselves that resist prevailing visual modes.
Presentations will consider an array of questions including: What is the relationship between the photograph and the self in a “post-identity,” “postfact,” and “post-photography” environment? What methods of dissent are evidenced in self-centered photographic practice and what might be their limits? In a contemporary cultural landscape untethered from conventional arbiters of fact, what spaces of resistance can artworks that deploy the photograph create?
For more on the College Art Association conference, go to CAA News Today.

CFP: “A Way/s From Home: Blackness Across Nations” @ CAA2018

The following session is for the 2018 College Art Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February, 21 – 24, 2018. Proposals from ACRAH members most welcome.

A Way/s from Home: Blackness across Nations
Chair(s): Julie L. McGee, University of Delaware,

In 1964, African American writer and artist Allen Polite, living then in Stockholm, organized “10 American Negro Artist[s] Living and Working in Europe” for Copenhagen’s Den Frie, one of the oldest venues for contemporary art in Denmark. Polite included work by Harvey Cropper, Beauford Delaney, Herbert Gentry, Arthur Hardie, Clifford Jackson, Sam Middleton, Earl Miller, Norma Morgan, Larry Potter, and Walter Williams. Polite’s justification for the grouping was poetic if not opaque: “In short, apart from their distinguishing racial features these exhibitors have only this in common: they are all living in Europe at present. And that is natural enough when one considers the unwritten tradition in art history that makes the artist a wanderer, an observer and digestor [sic] of cultures; a restless soul in search of the images and symbols.” Many black artists took up residence in Europe after WWII to study or to live on a semi-permanent basis. Many found both camaraderie and exhibition opportunities with other African American artists living abroad. To what extent they escaped racial discrimination or exchanged one kind for another is debatable: personal, conceptual, and artistic freedoms and external perceptions of blackness are codependent. Disputes over artistic freedom and both real and hypothetical homefront responsibilities haunt this history and artistic practice. Europe’s inconsistent place within a “freedom narrative” illuminates the complexity of blackness and artistic agency on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. This session encourages presentations that revisit, revise, or otherwise creatively engage the problematic of the “expat.”

Please send 250-word proposals, a completed session participation proposal form, and a short academic CV to Julie McGee by 14 August 2017.

Please consult the guidelines at the end of the CAA Call for Participation ( for further details.

CFP: “Critical Race Art Histories in Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe” @ CAA2018

The following session for the 2018 College Art Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February, 21 – 24, 2018 is sponsored by the Historians of German, Scandinavian, and Central European Art (HGSCEA). They especially welcome submissions from ACRAH members.

Critical Race Art Histories in Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe

Chair: Allison Morehead, Queen’s University

Critical race theory, which entered art history through postcolonial analyses of representations of black bodies, has remained relatively peripheral to art historical studies of Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe, whose colonial histories differ from those of countries such as Britain, France, and the United States. At the same time, art historical examinations of white supremacy in the Nazi period are frequently sectioned off from larger histories of claims to white superiority and privilege. Centering critical race theory in the art histories of Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe, this panel will consider representations of race in the broadest of terms — including “white makings of whiteness,” in the words of Richard Dyer. We invite papers that together will explore the imagination and construction of a spectrum of racial and ethnic identities, as well as marginalization and privilege, in and through German, Scandinavian, and Central European art, architecture, and visual culture in any period. How have bodies been racialized through representation, and how might representations of spaces, places, and land — the rural or wilderness vs. the urban, for instance — also be critically analyzed in terms of race? Priority will be given to papers that consider the intersections of race with other forms of subjectivity and identity.

Please send 250-word proposals, a completed session participation proposal form, and a short academic CV to Allison Morehead at by 14 August 2017.

Please consult the guidelines at the end of the CAA Call for Participation ( for further details.

CFP: ‘Curating Difference: Race and Ethnicity in the US Museum” ACRAH @ CAA2018

The CFP for the 2018 College Art Association Annual Conference has been posted online.

CAA2018 will be held in Los Angeles, California running from Wednesday, February 21st through Saturday, February 24th, 2018.

ACRAH will be holding the following session at the conference and invite submissions to participate on the panel:

Curating Difference: Race and Ethnicity in the US Museum

Chairs: Bridget Cooks, University of California, Irvine & Camara Holloway, ACRAH

This session is intended as a conversation addressing how to implement a critical race visual studies-informed practice in a museum setting. Topics for consideration include: how mainstream and/or culturally-specific institutions in the US have embraced such an approach; case-studies about exhibitions devoted to art made by US-based artists of color and/or art made about American communities of color; and strategies promoting greater racial and ethnic sensitivity amongst extant museum professionals as well as diversifying their ranks in terms of the ethno-racial backgrounds and/or awareness of future hires. Submissions from Los Angeles-area and West Coast-based curators and museum professionals are especially encouraged, as are topics focused on this region.

Deadline: August 14, 2017

A 250-word presentation abstract, a short CV, a statement of interest, and completed Session Participation Proposal Submission Form should be sent to both Camara Holloway at and Bridget Cooks at

Please note that CAA now requires that all session participants be an active individual CAA member through February 24, 2018, and must register for at least the session in which you participate. Early conference registration at the discount rate opens in early October. Please refer to the CFP for additional details and instructions.

CFP ASWAD Biennial: panel/proposal submissions: Mar. 3, 2017 deadline

Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora
 9th Biennial Conference 
Hosted by Pablo de Olavide University
Seville, Spain
African/Diasporic Futures: Re-Envisioning Power, Interventions, Imaginations and Belonging

November 7-11, 2017 Seville, Spain

Deadline for Submission: Friday, March 3, 2017
In 2015 the United Nations launched the Decade for the People of African Descent to acknowledge descendants of the African Diaspora as a distinct group whose human dignities and rights have been violated throughout the globe. The Decade for the People of African Descent is a sustained global commitment to recognize, protect, and bring about inclusive social justice to members of the African Diaspora. Contemporarily, Europe is an epicenter of such urgent grappling with systematic and long-term social inequities. Politics and policies of racialized exclusion, particularly through its engagement with Africans and people of African descent, re-center Europe’s non-neutral racial projects in their nation building.

The protection and promotion of human rights has gained greater significance and urgency with the crisis of African migration, and other forced and semi-forced migrations from Western Asia and Eastern Europe. As these individuals and groups have sought refuge and equitable and humane social participation within European societies, they have challenged conceptualizations of the state and citizenship formation, and continue to force new articulations and notions of “home” and belonging. These current migratory flows are newer iterations of a long relationship between Europe and Africa, and between Europe and the African Diaspora that spans centuries.

ASWAD invites panel and individual paper proposal submissions for its 9th biennial conference to be held in Seville, Spain, November 7 to 11, 2017 on the campus of Pablo de Olavide University to discuss, examine, and reflect on the critical nature of the interactions and transformations that African descendants experience in their diaspora, particularly within a European context. As an interdisciplinary organization, ASWAD invites presentations that illuminate the lives of Africans and African descendants from scholars of any discipline, including social sciences, physical sciences, life sciences and performing arts.  We aim to collaborate with activist and intellectual communities around sustained dialogue involving diaspora, race and citizenship, and historical and contemporary patterns of racial formation.

In addition to academics, ASWAD welcomes artists, activists, journalists, and independent scholars with specific interests in the African Diaspora. We are especially keen to create a platform for Black European Groups and NGOs.

We encourage proposals that align with the conference theme. Suggested panel themes include, but are not limited to the following:
a.         The African Diaspora, Modern States and (Re)Conceptions of Citizenship
b.         Humanitarianism and Human Rights in the Global African Diaspora
c.         Black Lives Matter Across the Globe
d.         The African Diaspora, Economics and Immigration to/in Europe

e.         Religion, Power, and Praxis in the African Diaspora

f.          African Diaspora and the Arts and Activism in Europe
g.         Spain and the African Diaspora
h.         Writing and Translating the African Diaspora and Black Identities in Europe
i.          The United Nation’s Decade for People of African Descent
j.          Music and the Performing Arts in Africa and the African Diaspora
k.         Pedagogy, Higher Education and Activism
l.          Black LGBTQIA Social Constructs
m.        Labor and Organizing in Local and International Contexts
n.         Activism and New Technologies and Media
o.         African Diasporic Futures: Challenges and Opportunities
p.        Future Makings: Collective re-imaginations through migration
q.        Reimagining social spaces and collective identities
The city of Seville is a UNESCO world heritage site and former medieval capital of Euro-African kingdoms, both Muslim and Christian, and later head of Spain’s early modern world empire. The city is a nexus of African Diaspora history, with a living heritage of connecting Europe, America and Africa. Pablo de Olavide University, ASWAD‘s 2017 conference host, has a demonstrated commitment to international cooperation and social justice.

EXH: “Shifting: African American Women Artists and the Power of Their Gaze” @ David Driskell Center, opens March 2nd

The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park is proud to announce its spring exhibition, Shifting: African American Women Artists and the Power of Their Gaze. The exhibition, organized by the Driskell Center, is curated by the David C. Driskell Center’s Executive Director, Professor Curlee R. Holton, assisted by Deputy Director, Dorit Yaron. The exhibition will be on display at the Driskell Center from Thursday, March 2, 2017 through Friday, May 26, 2017, with an opening reception on Thursday, March 2nd, from 5-7PM.