HISTORIANS OF ISLAMIC ART ASSOCIATION 2016 Biennial Conference

The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
October 20-22, 2016
Regionality: looking for the local in the arts of Islam
The Fifth Biennial Conference of the Historians of Islamic Art Association will take place at The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, from October 20th to October 22nd, 2016. The Courtauld Institute of Art is one of the world’s preeminent centres for the study of art history and conservation. The introduction in 2013 of a dedicated teaching position for Islamic art history marks the enormous strides taken in our field in recent decades, and recognizes the fact that the study of the arts of Islam have become an integral part of the broader art historical discipline and have made important contributions to cross-cultural studies, trans-disciplinary approaches, and the general widening of the scope of art history.

The London venue celebrates the European ‘roots’ of the study of the arts that fall under the cultural umbrella of Islam, and the formation of the important early collections and exhibitions that launched its scholarship. Those early, mostly connoisseurial categories of regional types and styles – the “Moresque”, Persian painting, Turkish tiles, Indian decorative arts – formed the foundations from which universalizing narratives of “Islamic” arts emerged, especially in the period after the Second World War. Some fifty years later, we are witnessing a resurgence of the study of regional specificities, augmented with deeper research into the diverse facets of any given locality or artistic form, and a greater commitment to the linguistic and cultural particularities that shaped the arts, architecture and archaeology in a specific locale. Rigorous application of trans-disciplinary research strategies have contributed to the deepening of our understanding of the arts of Islam in local terms, and have allowed us to embrace broader historical trajectories to include the modern and contemporary in our field.

The conference organizers believe that this is a time to celebrate the diversity within HIAA’s specialist remit and to take stock of our field’s capacity for extending beyond nationalistic formulations of history, and for breaking out of Euro-centred identities and perspectives. As such we invite proposals for papers and pre-organized panels that take regionality as their principal theme, that complicate simplistic assumptions about ethno-national labels, and that highlight the local. Paper proposals from all parts of the field, from the late antique to the contemporary, from Spain to Southeast Asia, are welcome.

The conference program will feature guided object-handling sessions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum, allowing direct access to a wide range of media from these two remarkable survey collections. On October 19th, there will be an opportunity to preview the exhibition Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural, at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford (travel to Oxford not provided). On October 23rd, the Sarikhani Collection of Persian Art in Oxfordshire has generously invited conference participants to a daylong visit to the collection (travel by coach will be provided).

Graduate students and early career scholars will be considered for travel and lodging grants. We urge our senior colleagues to seek funding in their home institutions. The conference schedule will be finalized by August 2016. There will be three keynote talks marking each day of the conference and a special dinner on October 22nd for all speakers, session chairs and discussants. Tea, coffee, and some lunches will be provided. The guided handling sessions – in small groups and focused by media – take place on the morning of Friday 21st October at the V&A and British Museum. Advance registration required. Details forthcoming.

Abstracts and Panel Proposals
Proposals may be submitted either for individual papers or for pre-arranged panels. Paper proposals should include your name, contact information, affiliated institution, professional/academic position, paper title, and the abstract.

Panel proposals should include a panel description of no more than 300 words and the names, contacts, and proposal abstracts of all participants.

The abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and should indicate the original contribution of the paper and/or panel.

Proposals should be submitted by Monday 4th January 2016 to Sussan Babaie, HIAA President-elect, at HIAABiennial2016@gmail.com.

Selected speakers will be given 20 minutes for their presentation followed by a short Q&A. Time will be allotted for panel discussions at the end of each panel.

All Symposium participants must be HIAA members in good standing. To join or renew your membership in HIAA, please follow the instructions on the HIAA website: http://www.historiansofislamicart.org

Program Committee for HIAA Biennial 2016:
Mariam Rosser-Owen, Victoria and Albert Museum
Scott Redford, SOAS, University of London
Sussan Babaie, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London

Key dates:
Deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals: 4 January 2016
Accepted papers and panels announced via email: 28 February 2016
Deadline for draft paper submission: 1 September 2016
Conference dates: 20-22 October 2016

For further details please contact Sussan Babaie at HIAABiennial2016@gmail.com
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