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South America

  • Call for applications: Modernisms: Concepts, Contexts, and Circulation (Transregional Academy, São Paulo; 17–24 July 2016)

    Application deadline: 28 November 2015

    Modernisms: Concepts, Contexts, and Circulations

    The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the German Center for Art History in Paris (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, DFK, part of the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad) invite applications from doctoral and postdoctoral scholars of art history and related disciplines to participate in a Transregional Academy in São Paulo on the topic of modernisms. The academy will take place from July 17–24, 2016 at the Universidad Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp) and the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo (MAC-USP) and will conclude with a conference, open to the public, on July 23. The academy is part of the research focus “Circulation and Multipolarity: Transregional Networks in Exchange between Latin America and Europe” of the German Center for Art History in Paris and the Global Modernisms research focus at the Forum Transregionale Studien and is being organized in cooperation with the Network of Art Historians at Latin-American Universities and Museums.

    The goal of the academy is to facilitate an exchange on concepts and variations of modernism across nations and regions. In the spirit of this kind of transregional perspective, the objective is to compare the modernist debates in Latin American countries with those occurring in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and to locate them within a global context. In doing so, questions arise concerning appropriation and distinction, as well as revisions and translations of developments and processes that manifested themselves in terms such as “colonial art,” “independence,” “originality,” “primitivism,” and “nation building.”

    Terms like “modernism,” “avant-garde,” and “modernity” are not only ubiquitous in popular scientific publications and at such events. Like “false friends,” these concepts are also mistakenly used interchangeably in intellectual-academic discourse as a minimum basis of understanding, particularly in the emerging context of “world art history.” This is even more the case when historiographical perspectives are involved that suggest the existence of a common definitional and epistemological basis upon which a global discourse could be constructed. By contrast, the idea of plural or multiple modernities or competing modernisms has made new theoretical approaches possible while raising new questions. 0They invite us to discuss the long-established diversification of modernity, antimodernity, conservative or reactionary modernity, and alternative modernisms within a transregional and, by implication, transcultural perspective. In this process, the terms themselves—“modernity,” “modernism,” “avant-gardism”—will first be questioned; their historiographical rooting in their respective cultural and historical contexts will be discussed; and temporal and spatial settings will be considered.

    The Transregional Academy will be led by a group of scholars: Thomas Kirchner (DFK, Paris), Lena Bader (DFK, Paris), Margit Kern (Universität Hamburg), Hannah Baader (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz/Max-Planck-Institut/Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices, Berlin), Patrick Flores (University of the Philippines, Manila), Thierry Dufrêne (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense), Anne Lafont (Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, INHA), Jens Baumgarten (Unifesp, São Paulo), Ana Gonçalves Magalhães (MAC-USP, São Paulo, USP), Gabriela Siracusano (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, UNTREF, Buenos Aires), and Diana Wechsler (Museo de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, UNTREF, Buenos Aires). They are actively involved as experts in research projects and networks dedicated to questions of transculturality and/or modernity in various regions of the world.

    Rather than merely describing and contrasting artistic tendencies, our aim is to discuss the various cultural creative processes, strategies of appropriation, modalities of translation and of comparison in transregional and transcultural perspectives. In the process, the following topic areas can be debated: terminology and discourses, history and tradition, art and politics, centrality and peripherality, publicity and popularization, institutions, mobility, media, and myths. The paths of transmission within Latin America as well as those between Latin America and the other regions of the world will also be taken into account.