Call For Papers
‘Picturing’ Women : A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium
March 19-20, 2004
Bryn Mawr College
In conjunction with the multi-venue, collaborative exhibition ‘Picturing’ Women: Historical Works and Contemporary Responses at Philadelphia-Area Institutions to be held at Bryn Mawr College, The Library Company of Philadelphia, and The Rosenbach Museum and Library from January through May 2004, the Center for Visual Culture at Bryn Mawr College and The William Penn Foundation will sponsor a one-and-a-half-day symposium exploring the intersections of representation and identity across a wide range of disciplines to question and rethink what a portrait can be – what women were historically and are today “pictured” to be -- in the vocabulary and imagery of various fields.
The exhibition will juxtapose historical works with 20th- and 21st-century art, presenting photographic, printed, and painted portraits along with such diverse cultural artifacts as conduct manuals, historical dress, literary portrait sketches, advertising images, caricatures, silhouettes, contemporary installation pieces, and performance art as a means of exploring the historical and contemporary representations and self-representations of women – how they are figured, fashioned, turned into portraits, and described in words and pictorial narrative.
Those interested in submitting abstracts for consideration are encouraged to explore these themes within the parameters of their own fields, and to contemplate one or more of the following fundamental questions in ways that foster cross-disciplinary connections:
What constitutes female identity?
How is it and has it been culturally constructed in images, artifacts and texts, and through the various processes of self-fashioning?
What roles have these artifacts and processes played in defining women’s places in society, in how women have been “pictured” historically and how they are “pictured” today?
How can the lessons we learn from seeking answers to the prior questions teach us about the roles played by material culture and representation in defining our understanding of identity in general?
How have the collecting practices of our cultural institutions contributed to those definitions of identity, and how do they continue to do so today?
We are particularly interested in talks that explore the intersections of race, gender, and class, and encourage submissions that range widely and inventively into diverse areas of scholarship and investigation. These might include such areas as the construction of trans-gender identity, theological constructions of identity and femaleness, exploration of the female body and the allegorical figure of the female in medical and scientific disciplines, and the construction of identity through instrumental music or song, among others.
To submit a proposal:
Please email a detailed proposal for your talk, a letter outlining your interest and expertise in the subject, and a resume, to Susan Shifrin, Project Curator (address below), by September 30, 2003. Presenters will
be selected by early December. An honorarium will be provided. Several of the papers may be included in the companion book for the project, to be published by Penn State Press.
Susan Shifrin, Project Curator
"'Picturing' Women: Historical Works and Contemporary Responses at Philadelphia-Area Institutions."
Ursinus College, P O Box 1000
Collegeville PA 19426
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