Call for Journal Submissions: ‘(re)Interpreted, (re)Imagined, (re)Constructed: Medieval art and Medievalisms in Central Europe after 1945’, Ikonotheka vol. 31, deadline 30 April 2021

In Central Europe, the year of 1945 brought about not only new borders but also a new socio-political system, accelerated modernisation, and the promise of a “brave new world” which was to be founded on the ruins of the past. However, the ideological drive towards the future was supplemented by a turn towards a specifically understood distant history, often phantasmagorical and imagined. Interestingly, it was the Christian Middle Ages, with its feudal system, visual culture, and its traces in the form of medieval artefacts and architecture, that gained an important role in establishing the communist and socialist utopia. It was not the first time that the Middle Ages had become the subject of medievalist practices and ideologies in Central Europe, including creative adaptations, programmatic redefinitions, nationalist appropriations, and ideological revaluations. “Rediscovery” of the Middle Ages in the Long Eighteenth Century and the appreciation of the medieval legacy, especially of the Gothic, followed by the formation of nationalisms and the negotiation of collective national identities in the 19th century, already ensured the Middle Ages a permanent place in the historical and national discourses of many states and national communities in Central Europe. 

The latest issue of Ikonotheka intends to trace the emergence of new interpretations and medievalist imagery over the last several decades, as well as the post-WWII fate of medieval art and architecture in Central Europe. We also wish to address a variety of medievalist discourses that emerged after 1945: particularly their origins, uses, reception, and legacy. In addition to investigating the post-WWII politics and aesthetics of heterogeneous medievalist narratives, we also hope to critically reflect on the enduring appeal of the Middle Ages – from the late 1940s until today. 

Ikonotheka invites contributions addressing the issue of medievalisms in Central Europe after 1945. Possible topics may include: 

  • transregional/transnational medievalisms in Central Europe 
  • medievalism and medieval art as contested heritage 
  • medieval pasts and multidirectional memory after 1945 
  • the “communist/socialist” Middle Ages 
  • the place and role of medieval art in the post-war public space and its symbolic, mythological, and subversive potential 
  • reconstruction, creation, and intentional destruction of medieval artworks, as well as social, political, economic, and diplomatic contexts of such actions, including manipulations and confabulations 
  • notions of originality, truth, and falsity in restored, reconstructed, and constructed works; the limits of conservation and ideological creation 
  • institutional appropriation and re-contextualisation of “foreign” medieval art in museums and academic discourse 
  • translation and adaptation of medieval artworks to new places, contexts, and settings 
  • new media and technologies used for reinterpretation, reimagining, and reconstructing of medieval art 
  • medievalism and the visual culture of Central Europe (film, television, theatre, etc.) 
  • medievalisms in the 21st century 

DEADLINES for the abstract: 30 April 2021 (notification by 15 May 2021) for the article: 30 September 2021 

Abstracts should be sent to ikonotheka@uw.edu.pl 

SUBMISSION | Guidelines and Dates Deadline for the abstracts: 30 April 2021, with successful notification by 15 May 2021. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and include the author’s short biographical note with current academic affiliation (up to 150 words). The deadline for the final contributions will be 30 September 2021. Publication date: early 2022 The expected length of individual contributions is approximately 6000 words. All submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind peer review process. 

ABOUT THE JOURNAL Ikonotheka is a journal of the Institute of Art History University of Warsaw on the history and theory of the arts. Ikonotheka was founded in 1987 by Professor Jan Białostocki, with the first volume published in 1990. The journal seeks to demonstrate a wide range of approaches to the study of the art of the past and of the contemporary artistic practice. It encourages its authors to employ different methodologies and welcomes investigations into previously understudied art historical topics. The authors are invited to consider both mainstream and lesser known artists and/or artworks. The journal publishes solely original texts that have not been previously published elsewhere. The journal is annual and undergoes a double-blind peer review, which is carried out both for paper and digital (open access) editions. 

For more information, including guidelines for authors visit http://www.ikonotheka.pl 

Published by Lydia McCutcheon

Lydia McCutcheon graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class Honours in History in 2019. She also holds an MSt in Medieval Studies from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation on the twelfth-century miracle collections for St Thomas Becket and the stained-glass 'miracle windows' at Canterbury Cathedral explored the presentation of children and familial relationships in textual and visual narratives. Her research interests include the visual and material cultures of saints and sanctity, pilgrimage, and childhood and the family.

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