The Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University is pleased to announce an upcoming conference, “Multiplying the Visual in the Nineteenth Century.”
Nineteenth-century France – or more accurately, Paris - has long been associated with an explosion of the visual. In the wake of the French Revolution, a combination of complex political, economic, social and cultural forces initiated an acceleration and multiplication of visual production and consumption. Crucial for this emerging culture of the visual was a shift from craft-based production to an industrial model of image-making centered on seriality and repetition. The fraught relationship between the rise of mass-reproduction and the formation of the modern institution of the museum, as well as the often contrary demands of the market, produced an unprecedented anxiety over issues of authenticity and originality. Perception itself increasingly unfolded in a murky atmosphere of proliferating copies, imitations, counterfeits and simulacra. For the nineteenth-century observer, modernity meant the traversal of these endlessly mirrored halls. This event will provide a timely reflection upon and reconsideration of modern theorizations of reproduction, from the suggestive and influential writings of Walter Benjamin to the more recent interventions of historians such as Stephen Bann.
One goal of this event is to provide a venue in which graduate students can closely interact with more established members of the academic community. To that end, the conference will take place in two parts. First, four invited professors will present papers related to our theme. These speakers will raise broad questions that will be debated throughout the remainder of the conference. We are pleased to announce that the speakers are:
Keynote Address: Eduardo Cadava, English Department, Princeton University
Jonathan Crary, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Peter Geimer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich
Jennifer Roberts, History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
In the second half of the proceedings, our topic will be explored in relation to specific historical examples in six small-group seminars. These seminars will allow graduate students to present their work and create an opportunity for discussion of specific themes within the topic of nineteenth-century vision and multiplicity. In each of these seminars, two graduate students will present research on a panel moderated by a Columbia faculty member and attended by the invited speakers from our morning sessions. Seminars will run simultaneously, and conference participants will be given a choice of which to attend when registering.
We are now inviting submissions for graduate student papers for these seminars. Individual seminar themes will be decided after all the proposals have been received. Topics could include, but are not limited to:
The status and definition of the “copy” (imitation, citation, replication, reproduction)
law and copyright
dislocation and reproduction
relationships among media
multiplying architecture; reproduction and pre-fabrication
The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2008. An abstract of no more than 500 words, along with the applicant’s current C.V., should be sent to: email@example.com.
This conference is generously supported by the Sterling Currier Fund and the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University.
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