Call for Papers: Transregional Academy „Mobility: Objects, Materials, Concepts, Actors“ [DFK Paris]

Deadline: February 28, 2017

The German Center for Art History, Paris (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris, Max Weber Foundation) and the Program Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices, Forum Transregional Studies Berlin invite applications from doctoral and postdoctoral scholars of Art History and related disciplines to participate in the Transregional Academy on Latin American Art II in Buenos Aires, Argentina on „Mobility: Objects, Materials, Concepts, Actors.“ The Academy is organized in cooperation with the Centro de Investigación en Arte, Materia y Cultura at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Arte y Cultura „Dr. Norberto Griffa“ (IIAC) from the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF). It will take place from September 30 to October 8, 2017 at the Museo de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (MUNTREF) in Buenos Aires.

With a focus on Latin America, the Academy questions artistic interrelations within Latin America as well as those with other parts of the planet. It combines the study of transregional mobility and movement with a critical, methodological reflection. Rather than merely describing or confronting artistic traditions and tendencies, the Academy discusses the various dynamics of cultural creativity, strategies of appropriation, modalities of translation and comparison in transregional and transcultural terms.

The Academy aims at a transnational and transregional exchange about concepts and characteristics of mobility. From such point of view, research concentrating on Latin America will be put in dialogue with ongoing debates regarding other regions such as Africa, the wider Americas, Asia, Europe, as well as the regions of the Atlantic and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean in their connectivities and within the horizon of global art histories. This also means asking if indeed there is a common epistemological base for the construction of such a global discourse, interrogating the concepts “transcultural” and “transregional” themselves.

The Academy studies changes of location of objects, materials, concepts and actors. However, it does not propose doing this according to notions of impact and influence or centers and peripheries. And it critically challenges linear concepts of interpretation and exclusively comparative approaches to cultural and artistic transfer. Rather, it aims at the study of the complexity and multi-layered stratigraphies of phenomena and processes of circulation, connectivity and entanglements. In line with the debates on the concept of contact zone, the Academy questions the ideological implications of hegemonial asymmetries and concentrates on fluid histories of Latin American art.

The Academy does not understand mobility as simply defining phenomena of change of location but rather as itself a process, as a basic term for a dynamic art history that argues against dichotomic narratives and static models of interpretation. A dynamic shift in art history towards “mobility” allows us to consider not only individual works of art, their production or reception, but also travelling or migrating concepts and people as well as materials, objects, and formal languages or “styles” in motion. Precisely, the synopsis of all these levels permits new insights into the complex dynamics of locomotion and displacement in their constitutive role for artistic and aesthetic practices and concerns.

The Academy is not restricted to a specific period and rejects historical caesurae. This implies a critical position towards the understanding of mobility as a mainly modernist phenomenon, in the sense of an ever increasing cultural “acceleration”. The Academy rather studies “mobility” as process in all historical forms, including slow, fast as well as non-constant, or eruptive motion, and various, transregionally interrelated temporalities. This furthermore implies a critical position towards the topoi of the “global village” and the celebration of overall connectivity in the course of globalization. Such narratives have fundamental blind spots in relation to important aspects of mobility, such as forced movement or involuntary mobility, as in the case of diaspora, migration and exile. Here, and more generally, mobility has to be studied in respect to phenomena and processes in all their dimensions, including economies, objects, materials, concepts and protagonists. It is exactly the multiplicity of notions and concepts that the Academy aims to analyze in a transregional and transcultural perspective, in historiographical, discourse analytical and art critical terms. A transcultural study of mobility and dynamics of transfer touches on theories of history and aesthetics, on concepts of materiality and cultural / institutional location, modes of performativity and processuality, nature and roles of political power, communities and public spheres, aspects of networks, ways and channels of distribution and circulation, as well as on techniques and geographies of movement.

The Transregional Academy will be led by a group of scholars, among others: Gabriela Siracusano and Diana Wechsler (both UNTREF, Buenos Aires), Lena Bader and Thomas Kirchner (both DFK, Paris), Hannah Baader and Gerhard Wolf (KHI, Florenz/Max-Planck-Institut/Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices, Berlin), Jens Baumgarten (Unifesp, São Paulo), Thierry Dufrêne (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) and Anne Lafont (Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, INHA).

Transregional Academies promote intensive peer-to-peer dialogue and encourage new perspectives emerging from debates in small discussion groups. Participants actively contribute to the program’s structure and content. They present their individual research and co-design thematic discussion groups. Much of the work is conducted in an intense, small-group atmosphere. Moreover, the Academy will include discussions with experts at various locations.

Up to 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from different countries and various academic environments will be given the opportunity to present and discuss their current research in an international and multidisciplinary context. Participants will receive a stipend for travel and accommodation expenses. The program is aimed at scholars of art history and neighboring disciplines, such as postcolonial studies, literary and cultural studies, anthropology, architecture, history, political science, sociology, and media studies. The goal of the conference is to introduce ongoing projects in a comparative perspective in the context of the aforementioned questions. The research projects should be closely related to the topics addressed by the Academy; transregional, comparative approaches are especially welcome.

The working language will be English and Spanish.

Applications, in English, must include the following documents:

  • a letter of motivation (2,500 characters including spaces),
  • a short biography in paragraph form (1,000 characters including spaces)
  • an abstract of your current research project (5,000 characters including spaces)
  • the names of two university professors as references (letters of reference are not necessary)

Please submit all documents as one PDF file via e-mail by no later than February 28, 2017 to: arthistories_application(at)


Dr. Lena Bader
Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art
Hôtel Lully
45, rue des Petits Champs
75001 Paris
E-mail: lbader(at)

Katrin Kaptain M.A.
Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices
Forum Transregionale Studien
Wallotstr. 14
14193 Berlin
E-mail: arthistories(at)

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, concentrated around the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with distinctive and independent focal points. Through its globally operating institutes, the Foundation is able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and the host countries or regions of its establishments. By promoting scientific dialogue and merging academic as well as non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the Internationalization of research in its three fields of dedication.

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