CFP: ‘Intersections and Entanglements: Objects of Mobility in the Ancient and Early Modern Periods’, CAA Annual Conference 2023, deadline 31 August 2022

From ceramic vessels to elaborate textiles, the ancient and early modern periods are rich with portable objects. Although art historians regularly interpret and even define whole classes of objects as “mobile,” they often move in unusual and interesting ways. Viewed cross-culturally, a series of paradoxes beset the attempt to define and characterize the “mobile” object. Not all objects that appear mobile physically move, while seemingly immobile objects can in fact travel. Things may be considered “mobile” if they have the power to move people, whether as an accessory to travel, through the reconceptualization of space, or by demanding movement of their viewers. Furthermore, the transit of a thing into a new context can redefine it or inspire the invention of an entirely new type of object. In this session, we wish to call attention to the diversity of cultural phenomena that fall under the auspices of the “mobile” and “portable.”

We are interested in studies that theorize the topic within current scholarly discourses of mobile objects, to include approaches such as pilgrimage, itinerancy, trade, phenomenology, cartography, encounters, and memory, among others. We welcome papers that consider the following questions: How do objects move? Why do people move objects? What types of objects move people? Can objects inspire movement in more ways than one? How does time alter movement? Are new meanings generated when an object is placed in a novel context?

Papers that advance a global perspective are especially encouraged. Please submit proposals to and


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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