CFP: European Revivals Conference 2017 – Cultural Mythologies around 1900

Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 1-2 December 2017

  • A partnership between: the University of Edinburgh / National Galleries of Scotland / Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, European artists began to express a new and profound interest in their unique local pasts and cultural inheritances. This was a discourse that was largely shaped by the desire within several countries for cultural and artistic, and ultimately social and economic, independence. Historical scholarship on the subject has been broadly established in many European countries, but research has been dominated by nationalist perspectives that have emphasised the cultural specificity of each country. The European Revivals research project (initiated by the Finnish National Gallery in 2009) aims to stimulate debate on a wider scale. From this perspective, late nineteenth-century cultural revivals appear as a set of complex and interconnected phenomena that are transnational, inherently modern, and with far-reaching consequences.

The topic of the 2017 conference is Cultural Mythologies around 1900. Its aim is to examine issues such as authenticity, ‘rewriting’ and reinterpretation in relation to the production and assimilation of national styles, symbols and cultural narratives in late nineteenth century European art and literature. The conference will draw attention to the constructed and imaginary nature of national identities and the role of various mythical traditions and ‘reinventions’ within this context. Papers are invited that examine this European-wide phenomenon in relation to one of the following three themes:

Reinvention and ‘authenticity’
In the late nineteenth century Europe artists and designers frequently drew inspiration from mythical history, legend and vernacular traditions; they were also inspired by the forms and mysterious symbols of ancient ‘national’ art or recent archaeological ‘finds’. As artists adapted the narratives and symbols of the past to their own aesthetic, political or nationalist agendas, the original meaning was often lost and the concept of authenticity and originality became a key issue. This session takes a critical perspective on the topic, examining the reinvention and reconstruction of our mythical past.

Rewriting and reinterpretation
This session examines the impact of the national revival through the translation and rewriting of ancient myths and legends. The nineteenth-century saw the revival of ancient sagas such as the Poetry of Ossian, the Kalevala, or the mythical and heroic narratives of the Poetic Edda, while gifted female scholars such as Lady Guest and Lady Augusta Gregory translated the Welsh and Irish legends. This session examines the way in which the myths and legends of the past were rewritten and reinterpreted by European writers and artists, often guided by different national, political and ideological agendas.

Spiritualism and secret societies
Spiritualism and esoteric traditions had a significant place in the European cultural arena around the year 1900. This subject has become an increasingly central topic of research in recent years, but its relationship with national revivals has not been fully examined. Yet, it is well known that these two phenomena were often deeply interconnected. For instance, Celtic mysticism had direct links with spiritualism, theosophy and other occult movements, as did the mystical interpretations of the Kalevala that were popular among Finnish artists, writers, and musicians.

Please send a 500-word abstract to Marja Lahelma (marja.lahelma@helsinki.fi) and Frances Fowle (frances.fowle@ed.ac.uk) by 8 September 2017.

End Games and Emotions: The Sense of Ending in Modern Literature and Arts

15.-18.8.2017 Tallinn University, Estonia & University of Helsinki, Finland

Keynotes:

Carolyn Burdett, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Patrizia Lombardo, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Pirjo Lyytikäinen, University of Helsinki, Finland

Matthew Potolsky, University of Utah, USA

The Conference End Games and Emotions focuses on the affective aspects of literature and arts sensitive to the threats and fears of modernity, like the ideas that “all that it solid melts down”, that the modern culture and modern man is decaying, or that the whole existence of human life may be threatened by different aspects of modernization process. We ask how moods and emotions are depicted and evoked and emotion effects produced by the literature and art of what we call the long twentieth century. With this notion we understand broadly the period beginning with the nineteenth-century naturalism and decadence, encompassing the twentieth-century developments of a variety of modernisms, and reverberating into the contemporary literary and artistic or musical scenery. Focus on the dystopic and decadent, on fears rather than hopes concerning modernity, gives a precedence to negative emotions and dismal moods but also invites considerations of the ambiguity of emotions, oxymoronic expressions like the entanglement of pleasure and “ugly” feelings, and the positive functions of evoking negative affects. We ask how the aesthetic feelings relate to depicted and evoked horrors or misery, how ecstasies alternate with depression and melancholy, and what are the critical and ideological stakes of evoking emotions and affecting audiences. All in all, the multiple functions of emotion effects as well as the variety of ways in which artworks affect audiences are a central field of discussion which we hope to open by the conference.

Conference is supported by the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of Estonian Academy of Sciences Astra project.

Click here for more information.

GOTHIC MODERNISMS International Conference: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 29-30 June 2017

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

GOTHIC MODERNISMS: 29 & 30 June, 2017, The Rijksmuseum: A two-day international conference discussing the legacies, histories and contested identities of European Gothic/early-modern visual cultures in (global) modernity, in particular in contexts of new fin-de-siècle cultural modernities, modernism, avant-gardes, nationalisms and cosmopolitanisms.

More information here; registration here.

Conference fee (two days): 125€; 40€ for students – includes conference, access to the Rijksmuseum Collections on both days, guided visit to the exhibition Small Wonders, coffee, tea, lunch, snacks and drinks. For enquiries please contact both: Professor Juliet Simpson (Coventry University): juliet.simpson@coventry.ac.uk and dr. Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam):t.m.bauduin@uva.nl

This conference is the culminating in a trilogy, including ‘Primitive Renaissances’ and ‘Visions of the North’: for earlier events, see ‘Visions of the North’.

Continue reading

The Idea of North: Myth-making and Identities

This is a call for abstracts for an online-publication on ‘Northernness’ in visual culture edited by Frances Fowle and Marja Lahelma, to be published by The Birch and the Star as part of the series ‘Studies in the Long Nineteenth-Century’. The publication will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence in 2017.

Mythical notions of the north have existed in European culture since antiquity, fuelled at various times by archaeological discoveries and cultural revivals. Romanticism brought on a veritable ‘cult of the north’, which gained in strength throughout the nineteenth century, riding on the back of the nationalist wave that swept across Europe at the fin-de-siècle. Northernness is not a simple concept; while the Nordic people were associated with purity, originality and subjectivity, the Celts were regarded as creative and noble, yet feckless and irrational. Nevertheless, partly through the impact of Wagner’s operas and Macpherson’s Ossian, by the end of the nineteenth century, northern artists were elevated to a prominent position on the international stage. This notion was supported by the theosophical formulation that it was time for the ‘northern race’ to take over.

This publication will examine the mythical associations and cultural appropriation of ‘north’ and ‘northernness’ in European and North American visual culture in the long nineteenth century. We invite abstracts that examine the revival and assimilation of the north and northernness, taking into consideration, for example, mythical origins, spiritual and theosophical agendas, or notions of race and/or national identities. Topics might relate to individual artists and artworks, particular geographical regions or specific artistic and cultural phenomena, as well as to broader ideas associated with northernness.

Please send a 500-word abstract to Marja Lahelma (marja.lahelma(@)helsinki.fi) and Frances Fowle (frances.fowle(@)ed.ac.uk) by 31 January 2017.

Gothic Modernisms – Call for Papers

29 & 30 June, 2017, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL

Organized by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Coventry University; the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, and Radboud University, Nijmegen

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. Elizabeth Emery (Montclair State University, US)

picture1 Continue reading

CFP: Visual and Material Culture Exchange across the Baltic Sea Region, 1772-1918

Greifswald, Germany, 15-18 June 2017

Deadline: 15 December 2016

Although the Baltic Sea has been one of the world’s greatest cultural crossroads, scholars often have overlooked cultural exchange in favor of exploring national and regional identities. Since the 1990s, the concept of a Baltic Sea Region encompassing the sea and its surrounding land has fostered transnational thinking about the region, transcending Cold War binaries of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in an effort to view the area more holistically. Still, common terminology such as ‘Scandinavia’ and ‘the Baltic States’, suggests these cultures are mutually exclusive, or, as the case with ‘Central and Eastern Europe’, ambiguously monolithic.

While historians have been examining the Baltic Sea Region — present-day Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden — as an important center of cross-cultural interaction, the area’s visual and material culture, one of the most important avenues of exchange, is often reduced to illustrative examples of historical phenomena. Art historical narratives continue to be tethered to national and ethnocentric approaches, a bias this conference seeks to complicate.

This project (two conferences – in Greifswald and Tallinn – and an anticipated edited volume) emerges from these twin desires: to study the Baltic Sea Region as a cultural crossroads, and to depart from isolated, national/regional narratives. By foregrounding visual and material exchanges and the ideological or pragmatic factors that motivated them, we seek to establish common ground for viewing the Baltic Sea as a nexus of intertwined, fluctuating individuals and cultures always in conversation. We invite papers that engage material/visual culture as conceptual lenses through which to reevaluate the history, meaning, and significance of the Baltic Sea Region.

Proposals for this conference must include (in English):

a) an abstract of maximum 150 words summarizing your argument;
b) academic resume; and
c) full contact information including e-mail.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length and will be followed by discussion. The language of the conference is English.

Contributions should be sent to Michelle Facos (mfacos@indiana.edu) and Bart Pushaw (bcpushaw@gmail.com) by 15 December 2016. Notification of acceptance will be by 15 January. This conference will be co-sponsored by the Baltic Borderlands Program of Greifswald University and the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg, Greifswald.

 

Annual General Meeting of the Birch and the Star, Mon 25 April 2016

Please join us for a private visit to the Japanomania exhibition at the Ateneum Art Museum on Monday 25 April at 14.00. The Annual General Meeting of the Birch and the Star will take place after the visit at 15.00. This is your opportunity to hear about our activities and our exciting plans for the future. Come along and have your say! We will meet in front of the Ateneum Art Museum (Kaivokatu 2) at 14.00. The museum is closed on Mondays so we all have to go in at the same time – please be punctual.

All members of the Birch and the Star are welcome!

If you are not a member yet but would like to join the association, please  fill out the membership form and send it to birchandstar@gmail.com, or bring it along with you to the meeting.

CFP: The Idea of North: Myth-making and identities

Academic Session at AAH2016 Annual Conference and Bookfair University of Edinburgh 7 – 9 April 2016 

Abstract deadline 9 November 2015
The north is an elusive and ambivalent concept with both negative and positive associations. Mythical notions of the north have existed in European culture since antiquity, fuelled at various times by archaeological discoveries and cultural revivals. Romanticism brought on a veritable ‘cult of the north’, which gained in strength throughout the 19th century, riding on the back of the nationalist wave that swept across Europe at the fin-de-siècle. Northernness is not a simple concept; while the Nordic people were associated with purity, originality and subjectivity, the Celts were regarded as creative and noble, yet feckless and irrational. Nevertheless, partly through the impact of Wagner’s operas and Macpherson’s Ossian, by the end of the 19th century, northern artists were elevated to a prominent position on the international stage. There was even a popular belief that it was now Scandinavia’s turn to lead the intellectual advance of humanity. This notion was supported by the theosophical formulation that it was time for the ‘northern race’ to take over. Continue reading

CFP: Artists’ Colonies and Nature in Art, Architecture and Design Around 1900, September 23-25, 2015

Research conference
Organiser: The Tatra Museum, Zakopane

www.muzeumtatrzanskie.pl

The three major topics that this conference seeks to address include:

– philosophical and theoretical writings and ideas that underpinned the return to nature ca. 1900;

– the rise of artists’ colonies and communities in the countryside in search of alternative ways of living;

– natural motifs, patterns and inspirations in decorative and applied arts, architecture and interior design as well as in painting and sculpture of the time.

The conference will take place in Krakow with a one-day study visit to Zakopane to visit the collections of the Tatra Museum and the artistic houses there.

The conference fee is 55 EURO, in which a trip to Zakopane is included. Participants are required to organize and cover the costs of their travelling and accomodation. Students can register free of charge for a conference, but will be charged 15 EURO for a study-visit to Zakopane.

Abstracts of 20 minute papers should be sent to returntonature@muzeumtatrzanskie.pl by 30 June. Continue reading

On the Move: Real and Imaginary Spaces, Borders and Transitions in the Nineteenth Century

The Seventh Annual Conference of the Network of the Nineteenth Century Studies in Finland.

29th-30th January 2015, Tampere, Finland

The full program is now available on the conference website. Click here to follow the link.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Frances Fowle, Reader, University of Edinburgh; Senior Curator, Scottish National Gallery
  • Tutkija Olli Löytty, Turun yliopisto / Åbo Universitet
  • Professori Jari Ojala, Jyväskylän yliopisto / Jyväskylä Universitet
  • Helen Rogers, Reader in Nineteenth Century Studies, English
    department, Liverpool John Moores University