Thursday, December 20, 2012

UC Irvine Visual Studies Graduate Student Conference

The PhD program in Visual Studies at UC, Irvine invites submissions for its annual graduate student conference: The Aesthetics of Austerity.

Conference Date: April 5, 2013

Deadline: Abstracts of no more than 350 words are due January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm to Presentations are to be 20 minutes in length. Please include a one-page CV that demonstrates your research interests.

The current historical moment is dominated by arguments over the continued aftermath and threat of recession, rising deficits and spending cuts. In a word, "austerity" governs the tenor of our times. Although the term is traditionally equated with economic policy, austerity is articulated in a multitude of different ways across culture. That is, austerity speaks to creative practices and forms of living that—while sometimes intimately connected to capital—constitute alternative approaches and theories within extreme economies.

This conference is concerned with austerity not only in its traditional economic sense, but also in terms of its other usages: What are the implications of shrinking budgets for art institutions and the humanities in general? How is the threat of debt mobilized in various venues (political, religious, aesthetic)? In what ways is economic uncertainty reflected in popular culture? How are "cuts"—both those from outside and/or those that are self-imposed—explored in the visual arts, as well as everyday practices? Do alternative techniques and strategies present substantive challenges to prevailing notions of austerity or do they function as the other side of the same coin? What shape(s) does opposition to state-led austerity measures take, both in the political and aesthetic spheres? Just as austerity is immediately representative of the contemporary moment, the notion of exploring possibilities within the limits of dwindling resources, of "doing something with nothing," has a longstanding history. This conference welcomes papers on present concerns, as well as works that address different historical moments and forms of austerity.

We hope to receive submissions from across the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural and technological sciences which engage issues of vision, visibility, and visuality, including (but not limited to) gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, ethnic and cultural studies, history, anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, literature and language studies, information and technology studies, philosophy, political science, classics, art history, and film and media studies.

Suggested Themes
"End Times"/Dystopia
Local Ecologies/Localization
Self-Imposed Limitations
Romanticization of Poverty
Cultures of Lux
Amateurism/Do-It-Yourself Movement
Alternative Institutions

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