CFP: Networks and Practices of Connoisseurship in the Global Eighteenth Century

CFP: Networks and Practices of Connoisseurship in the Global Eighteenth Century 
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, 8-10 April 2021

Deadline: 15 Sep 2020

The eighteenth century was the age of the connoisseur, the disciplined interpreter and assessor of artworks whose authority, like that of the natural philosopher, was founded on his (more rarely her) extensive and sustained visual analysis of physical things. An era of accelerating trade and imperial conquest, the eighteenth century was also a period of an expanding global consciousness. This panel seeks to link eighteenth-century connoisseurship to a corresponding awareness of the diversity of artistic practice in different regions of the globe. Studies of connoisseurship have tended to be local, focusing, for example, on Western European or Chinese art to the exclusion of works from unfamiliar artistic traditions to which eighteenth-century art experts, collectors, and colonial administrators were also increasingly exposed.

Questions we are interested in pursuing include:

What were the channels through which encounters with art from afar were made possible? What methods we re used to analyze and categorize art from other parts of the globe? And how might a recognition of the conventionality of artmaking have shaped local definitions of art and artistic quality in such regions as Asia, the colonial Americas, and Europe?

We welcome papers that investigate the social, institutional, and commercial networks of international information and object exchange that facilitated eighteenth-century engagements with unfamiliar art. Proposals that introduce new interdisciplinary and methodological approaches are especially encouraged. 

Please send a 300-word proposal and a short (2-page) C.V. to both session chairs, Valérie Kobi, Universität Hamburg; and Kristel Smentek, MIT; by 15 September 2020.

All conference participants must be members in good standing of ASECS or of a constituent society of ISECS. Membership must be current as of 1 December 2020 for inclusion in the program.

For further details, please see the full call for papers here: