The Power of Things: Revolutionary Objects, Icons and Images Across Borders (September 2016, Belgium)

Date: 16 September 2016 Location: Ghent University, Belgium Contact:  Elizabeth Amann Deadline for submission proposals: 1 May 2016 T...

Date: 16 September 2016
Location: Ghent University, Belgium
Contact: Elizabeth Amann
Deadline for submission proposals: 1 May 2016

The U4 network ‘Reverberations of Revolution: Political Upheaval Seen from Afar (1750-1850)’ invites proposals for the conference ‘The Power of Things: Revolutionary Objects, Icons and Images Across Borders’, which will be held at Ghent University (Belgium) on 16 September 2016.

The goal of the U4 network is to explore how writers, artists and intellectuals responded to and represented revolutions taking place in other parts of the world in a variety of genres—novels, essays, poetry, spectacles, art works, journalism, caricatures, everyday objects, historiography and life-writing—and how discussions of these uprisings influenced domestic political discourse and debate.

In our Fall 2016 meeting, we will explore how the objects and images of revolutions are interpreted, disseminated and transformed abroad. Whether it takes the form of a fetish, a souvenir, a propagandistic object or a fashion accessory, the material culture of revolution can be as powerful as its intangible ideas, memories and discourses. We will examine how revolutionary objects and images travel to new cultural contexts and how they acquire new meanings and social functions.

Possible subtopics include but are not limited to:

  • the appropriation and re-signification of the fashions of revolution (Garibaldi shirts, bonnets rouges, cockades, the Wedgwood Anti-Slavery medallion, etc.) in new cultural contexts
  • efforts to support or  frustrate revolutions abroad by boycotting material things (e.g. sugar)
  • the way in which foreign journalists, writers and artists react to and interpret iconic visual representations of revolution (appropriation of Jacques-Louis David or revolutionary caricatures in other places, etc.)
  • the appropriation of French revolutionary pornography in other cultural contexts
  • representations and re-signification of revolutionary objects (guillotine, etc.) in other cultural contexts
  • the way in which objects act as catalysts of revolution (e.g. the animal grease used in cartridges for British rifles as a catalyst for the Indian rebellion)
  • the appropriation of the iconography, myths and signs of counter-revolution
  • the circulation and fetishisation of revolutionary souvenirs or memorabilia
  • the foreign revolution/revolutionary as spectacle or entertainment

We invite proposals for individual 20-minute presentations or complete panels that explore these and related issues in European and non-European revolutions that took place between 1750 and 1857. Proposals for individual paper submissions should consist of an abstract (max. 250 words) and a short CV. Proposals for panels should provide a brief explanation of the goals of the panel and its link to the conference theme (max. 250 words), accompanied by 250-word abstracts and brief CVs of all speakers. Proposals for alternative presentation formats (e.g. roundtables, impulse sessions, interviews, performances, or other innovative formats) are also welcome. Please submit all proposals to Elizabeth Amann by May 1, 2016.



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The Trouble with Normal...: The Power of Things: Revolutionary Objects, Icons and Images Across Borders (September 2016, Belgium)
The Power of Things: Revolutionary Objects, Icons and Images Across Borders (September 2016, Belgium)
The Trouble with Normal...
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