HIAA conference image
The Imprisonment of Zahhak (detail), folio from the Shahname of Shah Tahmasp . 1535. Iran. Learn more. Aga Khan Museum, AKM 155.
2020 Biennial Symposium

Regime Change

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor
10.29–11.01.20

How do we write histories of Islamic art and architecture, and in the service of what interests? We might proceed from questions about the intentions of patrons, the agency of craftsmen, and their responses to previous artistic production, thereby allowing artifacts and monuments to be set within a historical, social, and/or artistic context. We might also posit large-scale organizational forms—dynasties, courts, regimes, workshops, technological systems, and exchange circuits—as frames that regulate aspects of life, belief, and ultimately artistic creativity. Recent scholarship has also shifted focus to other forms of agency. For example, “reception history” and the “history of objects” have attempted to move beyond the process of creation to consider the role of later actors and material accretions for the significance of artifacts, while the "material turn" in art history has sought to challenge rigidly anthropocentric epistemologies and open up narratives told by the “stuff” of art.

The aim of this conference is to focus on moments of “regime change” in Islamic art history and to also direct attention to “regimes” that structure our own field, raising questions of interpretation and method. We invite new research focusing on art and architecture after clear political ruptures (e.g., invasion, occupation, conversion); on the replacement of one symbolic order with another (e.g., public inscriptions in the urban space, changes in sartorial codes, new gender norms); and on the transfer of resources (e.g., artists, objects, libraries, treasuries) from one power to another. We also invite panels and papers that explore the potentials and pitfalls of new interpretive and methodological approaches to core questions about objects, material, and images, in both the academy and the museum.


Call for Papers

The submission deadline for pre-organized panels and single papers is December 1, 2019. For single papers, please submit as a single attachment a one-page CV and a paper abstract of no more than 250 words. For pre-organized panels (three or four papers), please submit as a single attachment one-page CVs for all speakers, and the panel abstract and individual abstracts, each no more than 250 words.

Please submit panels and papers to Christiane Gruber, Organizer (cjgruber@umich.edu). All other queries may be directed to Bihter Esener, Managing Organizer (besener@umich.edu).

Accepted speakers must be HIAA members in good standing by the time of the symposium. Speakers will have their travel expenses and accommodation covered by the University of Michigan and HIAA.

The 2020 HIAA Symposium Committee: 

Christiane Gruber, organizer

Anneka Lenssen, Michael Chagnon, and Alain George, committee members