Social Sciences and Art History: Methodological Connections?

Panel Discussion on “Social Sciences and Art History: Methodological Connections?”

17.30, Wednesday 4 June 2014
Research Forum South Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN London

This event is part of the Peripheral Visions lecture series.

Contemporary art extends beyond the visual and aesthetic and operates in multiple areas of human activity. In order to study contemporary art in its multifariousness, art historical research needs to reach beyond its disciplinary boundaries and make use of methodologies of other research traditions. Following the Peripheral Visions lecture series, this panel brings together teachers and researchers in the fields of arts and social sciences to discuss some of the questions raised.

With a cross-disciplinary discussion, we aim to address the question of what other disciplinary bodies of knowledge and the ‘expanding field’ of contemporary art mean for the research of art, and consequently, what research skills beyond aesthetic theories and methods of visual analysis are needed and should be taught. How do the research methods taught at the art institutions prepare students for cross-disciplinary approach? How do specific terms and concepts ‘translate’ between disciplines? What are the risks of misunderstanding, and what are the benefits of exploring art through concepts from other disciplines?

Speakers: Dr Marquard Smith (Royal College of Art), Dr Rebecca Arnold (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Dr Victoria D. Alexander (University of Surrey), Dr Anthony Gardner (The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford).

Organised by Kaija Kaitavuori and Liz Kim with Professor Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art). Sponsored in part by the Sfumato Foundation.

Open to all, free admission

For further information see here.


Marquard Smith is Research Leader and Head of Doctoral Studies in the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art, London, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief, journal of visual culture. His interest in the idea of research as praxis has led to a number of projects including What Is Research in the Visual Arts? Obsession, Archive, Encounter (edited with Michael Ann Holly), public programming at Tate, ICA, and Whitechapel, and exhibitions such as ‘How We Became Metadata’ (2010) and ‘The Global Archive’ (2012). His interest in the convergence of art, visual culture, the medical humanities, and the history of the philosophy of technology has led to publications such as The Prosthetic Impulse (The MIT Press), Stelarc: The Monograph (The MIT Press), The Erotic Doll: A Modern Fetish (Yale University Press), and a forthcoming exhibition at MK Gallery in 2015 entitled ‘How to Construct a Time Machine’.

Dr Rebecca Arnold is Oak Foundation Lecturer in History of Dress & Textiles at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She has lectured and published internationally on 20th and 21st century fashion, including, The American Look: Fashion, Sportswear and Images of Women in New York in the 1930s and 1940s (IB Tauris, 2009). She is currently working on another book entitled, Documenting Fashion: Modernity and Image in America, 1920-60.

Victoria D. Alexander (AB, Princeton; AM, PhD, Stanford) is Senior Lecturer, Sociology Department, University of Surrey. Her books include Sociology of the Arts; Museums and Money; and Art and the State. Research interests include sociology of art, creative industries, and visual sociology and current research involves everyday creativity, change in art worlds, and the culture of change in urban environments. She is Decana of the Research Network on the Sociology of the Arts, European Sociological Association, and with the Surrey Light Project, worked with a visual artist to create a light sculpture inspired by the science of light, which was exhibited in Guildford Castle.

Anthony Gardner is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Oxford, where he is also the Director of Graduate Studies at the Ruskin School of Art. He writes extensively on postcolonialism, postsocialism and curatorial histories, and is one of the editors of the MIT Press journal ARTMargins. Among his books are the anthology Mapping South: Journeys in South-South Cultural Relations (Melbourne, 2013), Politically Unbecoming: Postsocialist Art against Democracy, a study of European installation art in relation to postsocialist political philosophy (MIT Press, 2015), and (with Charles Green) Mega-Exhibitions: Biennials, Triennials, Documentas(Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).

Call for Papers: Bodies Beyond Borders. The Circulation of Anatomical Knowledge, 1750-1950

Call for Papers: Bodies Beyond Borders. The Circulation of Anatomical Knowledge, 1750-1950

Leuven, 7-9 January 2015

How does anatomical knowledge move from one site to another? Between 1750 and 1950 the study of anatomy underwent great changes,as a part of the development of scientific medicine, through public anatomies, as well as in the interplay between the two. How did these changes spread geographically? How did knowledge about newly discovered lesions travel from one hospital to another? What was the role of anatomical models in the spread of the public consciousness of syphilis, for example? Was the spread of this knowledge hindered by national borders,or did anatomical knowledge cross those borders easily? These questions are concerned with what James Secordterms ‘knowledge in transit’. To seek an answer to these questions,a conference focusing on the circulation of anatomical knowledge between 1750 and 1950 will be organized in Leuven from 7-9 January 2015. Confirmed speakers are Sven Dupré, Rina Knoeff, Helen MacDonald, Anna Maerker, Chloé Pirson, Natasha Ruiz-Gómezand Michael Sappol.

Knowledge does not move by itself –it has to be carried. To better understand how anatomical knowledge moves from place to place, we willseek to trace the trajectories of its bearers. Some of those bearers were tied very specifically to the discipline of anatomy:wax models, preserved bodies (or parts of them) or anatomical atlases, for example. These objects are polysemic in nature,tendingto have different meanings in different contexts and for different audiences. It makes the question of how anatomical knowledge travelled all the more pertinent if, for example, wax models that went from a Florentine museum to a Viennese medical training institution underwenta shift in meaningen route. But bearers of knowledge less specifically tiedto anatomy were equally important: articles, books and individual persons to name but a fewexamples.

For our conference we welcome contributions regarding the geographical movement of anatomical knowledgebetween 1750 and 1950. We are equally interested in ‘scientific’ and ‘public’ anatomy –as well as in exchanges between the two domains. Therefore, we encourage contributions about bearers of anatomical knowledge as wide-ranging as persons (scientists, students, freaks), objects (models, preparations, bodies or body parts), visual representations (films, atlases, wall maps) and practices (dissections, travelling exhibitions), as well as their (transnational and intranational) trajectories.

Paper proposals must be submitted by 1 June 2014.
Please send a 300-word abstract to
Notification of acceptance: early July, 2014.

CFP: Special issue on ‘Shaping Identity’ of Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law

Within the context of ongoing debates about medical and social models of disability, the Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law invites authors to submit new manuscripts that address the ethical and legal implications of interventions aimed at modifying the bodies of individuals with physical or mental impairments or disabilities.

Topics suitable for this Call for Papers include but are not limited to ethical and legal issues emerging from:

The use of bionic eyes
The use of cochlear implants
Prosthetics for everyday use or competitive sports
“Normalizing” surgery for individuals with Down Syndrome
Limb lengthening surgeries (e.g., for individuals with achondroplasia)
The use of growth hormones
The use of “neuroenhancement” drugs (e.g., to improve focus, memory, or other cognitive functioning)
Laws that influence decision making on behalf of disabled children (e.g., the Swedish law requiring parents to consult with member of the Deaf community prior to agreeing to cochlear implant surgery for their child)
Growth attenuation procedures
Familial or community pressure to modify or refuse modifications of one’s body

Manuscripts submitted for inclusion in this special issue must be original work and should not be under consideration with any other journal. The word count for submitted manuscripts, including references and notes, should not exceed 5000 words. Manuscripts should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words.

Authors should adhere to the Journal’s publication guidelines:

Authors should submit their manuscripts and abstracts via email attachments no later than October 1, 2013 to Dr. Yvette Pearson: ypearson[AT]odu[DOT]edu. Please write “JPSL Disability” in the email subject line.

Accepted manuscripts will be published online by March 1, 2014.