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CFP: The Eye of the Dragon: Viewing a Medieval Iconography from the Other Side (Kalamazoo 2015)

Call for Papers:
The Eye of the Dragon: Viewing a Medieval Iconography from the Other Side
International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo 2015
Deadline: September 15 2014

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Photo: British Library Board

From the iconic heroism of Saint George to the resolute piety of Margaret of Antioch; from the arrow-shooting Bahram Gur to anonymous spear-wielding riders, slayers of dragons have received considerable art historical attention. Individual slayers, as well as the iconography itself have been extensively studied and critically contextualized to reveal multi-layered meanings and changing identities. In his study on the Islamic Rider of the Gerona Beatus, O. K. Werckmeister demonstrated how, in the context of the Reconquista, the identity of the slayer could switch from good to evil, while Oya Pancaroglu argued that in Medieval Anatolia slayer images were both products and facilitators of cross-cultural exchange. Dragons and other monsters have been under the lens of art historians, too. Michael Camille and Debra Strickland have emphasized their roles as surrogates for social types and political adversaries. In that sense, the victims of the slayers, though independent of the iconography, have also been studied. However, it is difficult to say that the perspectives of the victims have received equal attention.

This panel calls for papers that will look at the slayer iconography from the position of the slain rather than the slayer.  It seeks papers that will approach the image visually and conceptually from bottom up and explore alternative and innovative interpretations.  What can this switch of gaze reveal about the relationship between the dragon and the slayer? In what novel ways can we interpret the visual asymmetry between them?  Would it correspond to actual social asymmetries, or to their subversion? Does the diagonal of the spear pin down and stabilize differences and antagonisms, or does it cut across and mediate between them?  Especially welcome are papers that move beyond Western European examples and provide comparative perspectives.

Due date for the abstracts (approximately 250 words) is September 15, 2014.

Contact Person:
Saygin Salgirli, Sabanci University: salgirli@sabanciuniv.edu

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Fellowship: Pre- or postdoc fellowships at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence

Fellowship: Pre- or postdoc fellowships 
The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
Application deadline: 15 August 2014

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institut is pleased to place a call for applications to pursue studies in Art History within the independent Max Planck Research Group (MPRG) “Objects in the Contact Zone – The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things”, directed by Eva-Maria Troelenberg.

– 1-2 pre- or postdoc fellowships for up to 6 months, beginning approximately 1 October 2014 
– 1 student assistant position (BA or MA level, 80h/month) for October – December 2014

KHIThe research group seeks to adapt the notion of the “contact zone” as a key term, connecting it to the object: non-European objects which are shown and stored in Western museums or collections, reproduced in Western media or are regarded, described, analyzed and categorised through a Western lens – such objects are situated in a contact zone. This follows approaches of cultural anthropology, while maintaining genuinely art historical solutions as the investigative aim. As such, these contact zones create particular conditions of perception and reception, resulting both from the object’s own aura, provenance, or biography and from the recipient’s predisposition and intentions.

Following a potentially asymmetric, but basically reciprocal or polycentric working hypothesis of transculturation, we are looking at case studies which can shed significant light on the production of knowledge in such contact zones.

Our examples deal with the interrelation between particular objects or groups of objects and their cross-cultural reception as mediated through museums, collections, publications or other visual or performative cultural practices in the colonial and postcolonial age. We are mainly focusing on exchange processes within the larger modern Mediterranean and its global connections.

Together, our case studies can bridge the theoretical space between cross-cultural studies and visual culture phenomena and may also induce critical reassessments of established narratives, categories and key terms such as the very idea of “transculturation” itself. As our work is embedded into questions of institutional history as well as into the history of science, knowledge and representation, our overarching research queries have developed significantly towards fields such as:

– museum theory and exhibitions in cross-cultural context
– agency theories for polycentric and transcultural art histories
– political and social functions of aesthetic differences and convergences
– critical approaches to canon and chronology in art history

For further information on the MPRG see also
http://www.khi.fi.it/en/forschung/projekte/projekte/projekt179/index.html

Fellowship applications in German or English language should include 

– detailed CV
– research proposal (max. 4 pages)
– list of publications and one substantial writing sample
– one letter of recommendation

Student assistant applications should include

– letter of motivation
– CV
– one letter of recommendation
– certificate of matriculation

Please send your electronic application in one pdf file (max. 2 MB) by 15 August to troelenberg@khi.fi.it.

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz is an equal opportunity employer and particularly encourages applications from women and disabled persons. Fellowships follow the rules of the Max Planck Society.