Call for Papers:
Conference: Contemporary Confrontations Between Art, Morality, and Politics
When? 1 and 2 June 2012
Where? University of Nanterre-Paris X
Organization: Sophiapol (University of Nanterre), CRHIA (University of Poitiers) and CEHUM (University of Minho)
Noël Carroll (CUNY Graduate Center)
Nathalie Heinich (EHESS) (to be confirmed)
Matthew Kieran (University of Leeds)
Jerold Levinson (University of Maryland)
Jacques Morizot (CEPERC, Université de Provence)
Ruwen Ogien (CERSES, CNRS)
Jacques Rancière (Université de Paris XIII) (to be confirmed)
Christian Ruby (revue Raison présente)
Anne Sauvagnargues (CRéART-PHI, Université de Nanterre) (to be confirmed)
This conference will investigate the intersections of art, morality, and politics, with particular focus on the shifting dynamic between these cultural and social forces over the last fifty years. Throughout the twentieth century, the de-functionalization of art seen in radical practices such as Dada and Fluxus, along with the secularization of its institutions and the affirmation of its transgressive role, have loosened the ties between art and traditional notions of morality. Even the aestheticised Kantian ideal of a community of taste has been abandoned; it seems that art, alongside morality and politics, no longer congregate around a shared political project of emancipation.
The recent cases of censorship (Larry Clark, at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and David Wojnarowicz at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington in 2010), of vandalism motivated by active fundamentalism (Andre Serrano’s Piss Christ destroyed in Avignon, France, 2011), and the vitality of self-righteous lobbying groups against art, suggest that the interactions between these three spheres are neither clearly defined nor consistently controlled.
This conference seeks to explore the ambiguous, yet constant, connections between the potential influences of art and the norms or authorities that engage with it. We will question both aesthetic autonomism and moralism in relation to art. Can art be defined as a closed field structure? Should it be assessed on its own criteria regardless of political or moral values or should it be constrained by them?
Within the political sphere, the logic of cultural policy (through curatorial choices of museums, the distribution of grants, public commissions, etc.) reinforces the dependency of artists on the State, and pits freedom of creation against the preservation of public interest. With these considerations in mind, the spaces of art become charged: is the museum to be considered as part of the public space, and thus be subjected to the rules of social life, or can it be a reserved space, an area for allowed transgression? New technologies add another and more complex arena in which to consider these questions, straddling public and private, virtual space partly escapes legislation and forcibly raises the question of what is visible and presentable.
Reflection on the epistemological divides separating art, morality, and politics, allows for a redefinition of the ongoing cultural dialogues which constitute contemporary thought. The analysis of the intersections of these three cultural notions will further understanding of the role each of them has in the community, and contribute to philosophical discourse regarding the renewal of their respective stakes in this new century.
Researchers and practitioners wishing to present their work during the conference are invited to propose papers that may address the following themes.
The function of art: autonomism, aesthetic moralism and immoralism
Aesthetic imagination and moral imagination
The relationship between neuro- aesthetics and neuro-ethics
Judging artworks: assessment and recognition.
The institution of the space of art: a space of asylum or of control?
The relationship between the artistic and political avant-gardes
These suggestions are only intended to encourage the confrontation of normative theory with the socio-political facts in order to promote the interdisciplinary perspectives that such a confrontation reclaims.
Guidelines for submission
The conference languages will be English and French. Abstract proposals should address a major issue related to the conference’s topic and should be between 300 and 400 words in length. Abstracts should be suitable for blind review. Submission deadline is 15 January 2012. Notification of acceptance will be provided by 1st of March 2012. Preferred format for all submissions is RTF attachment submitted by electronic mail to both Pauline Colonna d’Istria (email@example.com), Florian Gaité (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Roberto Merrill (email@example.com) with “Art, morality, and politics: Submission” in the subject line of the email.
The conference fee is 50 € and can be paid in cash at the conference desk.
You will soon find information on accommodation on the conference’s webpage. For additional information, please write to Pauline Colonna d’Istria (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Florian Gaité (email@example.com), or Roberto Merrill (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scientific Committee: Noël Carroll (CUNY Graduate Center), Matthew Kieran (University of Leeds), Christian Lazzeri (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre), Jerold Levinson (University of Maryland), Ruwen Ogien (CERSES-CNRS), Catherine Perret (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre)