Crosscurrents: Visualizing the Arts of the Atlantic World

  • Deadline: Feb 12, 2024
  • Dallas, TX

This call for papers is for a conference at Southern Methodist University (April 12-13, 2024) for graduate students on the theme of visual culture of the Atlantic World.

The Atlantic World refers to the economic, political, and social spheres of cross-cultural exchange taking place between Europe, the Americas, and Africa, temporally situated but not limited to the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Propelled by technological advances in science and technology, early capitalist economies, and colonial conquest, people of European, African, and Indigenous American descent experienced unprecedented mobility and produced a transatlantic visual and material culture. The visual culture of the Atlantic World provides a productive framework for exploring fine and decorative arts, architecture, scientific instruments, maps, and print culture from the early modern period to the present.

Keynote Speaker: Caitlin Beach, Assistant Professor of Art History, Fordham University

Accepted papers will demonstrate a broad and creative engagement with this theme that deals with any medium, time period, culture and geography related to the Atlantic. Particularly welcome are perspectives that explore how people of vastly different geographic regions made physical contact and participated in shaping a global visual culture. The organizers invite considerations of Black and Indigenous transcultural intervention and resistance to European regimes of vision and representation. They also welcome papers invoking the haptic, the temporal, and the spatial dimensions of transatlantic culture, as well as tactics of display that include absence and negation, the body, and affiliation in mediating complex forms of human agency. Additionally welcome are papers by and on modern and contemporary artists who derive inspiration from the Atlantic World or situate themselves within the diasporic cultures of the Atlantic.


Areas of interest for this symposium include, but are not limited to:

  • The Black Atlantic and Afro-Atlantic art
  • Urban Planning and fortification design
  • Economic or political histories of the Atlantic world
  • Impact of the Enlightenment
  • Representations of racialized and gendered froms of labor
  • Materialist histories that trace extractive economies
  • Cartography and print culture
  • Black feminist art and practice
  • Diaspora and Narratives of dispersal and movement


Current and recent MA, MFA, and PhD students in art history, archeology, Native American and Indigenous studies, African and African Diaspora art history, anthropology, material culture studies, science and technology studies, and other related disciplines may submit abstracts of no more than 350 words and a CV to [email protected] by February 12, 2024.

The RASC/a program will provide a modest honorarium to speakers to offset the cost of travel and accommodations. Thanks to the generous support of the Custard Institute of Spanish Art and Culture at the Meadows Museum, the RASC/a program will award cash prizes of up to $300 to the best student papers at the conference.

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