Call for Papers

The decades around 1900 were a period of such varied experimentation that any attempt to apply labels, particularly those based on formal style, inevitably creates artificial exclusions and divisions. Despite much work in recent decades on the art, architecture and design of the period, it remains conceptually difficult to work outside the categories that are deeply embedded in our scholarly traditions. Symbolism and Art Nouveau are both labels whose definitions have been widened to try and accommodate the diversity and geographical range of the period. Both movements resist straightforward positioning in relation to the dominant discourse of Modernism. It remains challenging to reconcile the ideas of escape, nostalgia and the subjective dream space that prevailed at this time with the engagement with the contemporary world valorised by the label Modern.

This session invites researchers to consider how their work relates to the binaries that still linger behind our sense of what is progressive or modern but that were in such a tangled relationship at this period. Progress: retreat; forwards: backwards; reveal: conceal; clarity: obscurity. We welcome contributions with a focus on any area of visual or material culture between 1880 and 1920.

Please submit your proposal (max. 250 words) by 11 November 2013 to:

Charlotte Ashby c.ashby(at)
Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff  Anna-Maria.vonBonsdorff(at)

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