Call for Papers

Process in Modern and Contemporary Islamic Art

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Posted 11.05.17

Islamic art history is an object-centered discipline. Its subject matter generally fits into a frame, vitrine, or photograph. But image boundaries are fuzzy. New materialism, thing theory, transregional studies—by now, many approaches have revealed the performative and affective qualities of Islamic artworks. However, the relevance of process as an aesthetic value itself remains, if acknowledged at all, vague.

Have artists who do not necessarily identify with the rubric of Islamic art drawn on the spiritual function of Islamic creative practices as a means of transcendence? Have time-based art forms of the twentieth or twenty-first century revealed performative facets of past Islamic artworks or questioned their objecthood? What were the ethical implications of the objectification of Islamic art at the onset of its modern historiography? Could thinking through process prove a useful corrective? Can this lens on the modern and contemporary period provide insights into the performative aspects of premodern Islamic art? 

This conference aims to investigate such questions and to claim ground for the recognition of process in Islamic art and the discussion of the methodological ramifications of its study for Islamic art history and adjacent disciplines. Papers that investigate art that transcends contained form or happens independently are particularly welcome. Other issues of interest include: process as medium in performance art, film, video, and other time-based expressions; the status of the creative act in conceptions of art; and the animation of art works in their afterlife through multiples and reproductions.

To apply, please submit a 250-word proposal and a brief curriculum vitae to Martina Becker (mtbecker@umich.edu) by December 1, 2017. 

Participants’ airfare and hotel accommodations will be covered by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant, and it is planned that accepted papers will be published as an edited volume or themed journal issue.