Towards Ecocritical Art History: Methods and Practice | Universität Wien | 2021-2022
Workshop Series – Towards Ecocritical Art History: Methods and Practice
On line and in Vienna
Addressing geo-historical and world-ecological problematics of the Anthropocene, art historians have already started to establish vital directions in the field of enquiry identified as environmental humanities. Yet the disciplinary territory is already complex, and perhaps even overwhelmingly disorientating for students and scholars alike. Numerous theoretical positions and conglomerate vocabularies have accumulated around art historical research, drawn from myriad and often incommensurate intellectual traditions. The health of future ecocritical art histories will rely to some degree on the ability to be able to navigate methodological tools that are cognisant of diverse global approaches.
The main objective of this series of workshops is to identify methods (including frameworks, paradigms, approaches and practices) that will facilitate the work of art historians engaged with the issues of environmental interrelation, sustainability, and justice, across all historical periods. Rather than repeat assertions of existing theoretical positions, we wish to encourage open and forward-looking dialogues on methods and practices for all those working ‘in the field’. The three workshops will take place over 2021-2022 and will lead to a publication.
Organisers: Dr. Olga Smith (University of Vienna)
Prof. Andrew Patrizio (University of Edinburgh)
Student assistants: Anisha Palat and Eszter Erdosi
With the support of The Vienna Anthropocene Network, University of Edinburgh and The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.
Workshop 1: THE CHALLENGE OF METHOD
3-4 December 2021, 5-8 PM (CET)
The theoretical positions that inform much ecocritical art history are becoming increasingly familiar and well known (from new materialism, posthumanism, eco-Marxism, environmental justice and activism, eco-feminism, and many more). What existing methods in art history and visual studies can be adapted, re-tooled or revived to facilitate ecocritical inquiries in art history? We revisit canonical approaches (from formalism, feminism, queer theory, critical race and postcolonial studies, critical animal studies, psychology and perception studies) to consider the methods used therein and potential applicability to the ecocritical project in art history.
3 December 2021
17.00-17.20 Eva Horn – Welcome
Andrew Patrizio and Olga Smith – Introduction
17.20-17.40 Greg M. Thomas – ‘Art Ecologies of The Past: Representation vs Function’
17.40-18.00 Gregory Levine – ‘Close Looking, but at What? An Intimation of Disintegration and Reintegration’
18.00-18.40 Discussion and Break
18.40-19.00 Sugata Ray – ‘Geoaesthetics at The Limits of Global Art History’
19.00-19.20 Catherine E. Karkov – ‘Talking with Things’
4 December 2021
17.00-17.20 Mark Cheetham – ‘Weathering The Discipline of Art History’
17.20-17.40 Tihomir Topuzovski – ‘A Landscape of Anxiety’
17.40-18.00 Stephen Bann – ‘New Art History? A perspective on the Ecological Turn’
18.00-18.40 Discussion and Break
18.40-19.00 Nina Amstutz – ‘A Multi-Species Framework for Art: The Case of Bowerbirds Across Cultures and Disciplines’
19.00-19.20 Jaimey Hamilton Faris – ‘Immersive Gestures: Decolonial (Hydro)Feminist Methods’
Workshop 2: THE CHALLENGE OF PLACE AND PLANET
31 March – 1 April 2022, 5-8 PM (CET)
How can art history reconcile methods developed through the study of a particular national culture with the impetus to engage on local, translocal, global and planetary scales? The challenge of scale and scalability is well-known within environmental humanities as a whole but when art historical accounts are dominated by both atomised individual practices or national boundaries, familiar methodological approaches seem strained or perhaps redundant now. We will seek to include global methods including indigenous approaches worldwide, and how to deal with positionality and fieldwork.
Workshop 3: THE CHALLENGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE
Location: University of Vienna, Austria
1-2 July 2022, 9 AM – 6 PM (CET)
How are methods of art history as a humanities discipline challenged by the emergence of the term Anthropocene and what future methodological advances are possible? What are epistemic ramifications of such changes? How can art history overcome its anthropocentrism and provide some tools of navigation and route-making for those who work and study in the visual? What forms of publication and dissemination would be essential and useful?