Destabilizing the Geographic in Modern and Contemporary Art
College Art Association (Los Angeles, California)
Monday, August 14, 2017

Mapping has long served as one of the paradigms of postenlightenment rationalism because of its efficacy in fixing the unknown contours of the world into calculable positions on a grid of longitude and latitude. Eurocentric rationalism and its cartographic logic has also constructed racial, gendered, and ethnic categories linked to the territory. But these totalizing visions belie a stabilization mired in pictorial ambivalence. This panel conceives of the geographic as a scripted genre, where makers intended for their pictures to be read/performed in specific ways. We invite submissions that investigate how imperfectness and visual excess destabilize the empirical authority of the geographic. From exploratory voyages in the Pacific that led to imagistic theories of race to representations of immigrant surveillance by contemporary artists, we seek papers that operationalize geographic metaphors and the images of which reveal erasures and excesses that break with the scripted narratives of cartographic reason. In other words, we are interested in art and visual culture which engages the viewer in a process of counter-mapping. We encourage case studies that consider: How does the logic of the geographic underpin other forms of picture-making? In what ways does the transcription of space allow for the continuous re-performance of colonialism? How does embodied knowledge place in question the geometric abstraction of disembodied projection? What alternate views can we recover from phenomenological approaches to territory? How does the reconfiguration of the past produce other spatio-temporal futures? How can we denaturalize the narratives of progress that the geographic purports to offer?

Please send proposals by August 14 to Tatiana Reinoza, Dartmouth College, and Kailani Polzak, Williams College,

Job, fellowship, and CFP listings are services that offered by the American Studies Association to support its members in exploring professional opportunities in American studies. Any questions should be directed to the program, department, or center that has posted the opportunity.