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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Department of Art History Conference "The Culture Wars: Then and Now"


The Culture Wars: Then and Now Graduate Symposium

Friday, March 27, 2015

Keynote Speaker

Amelia Jones, Robert A. Day Professor of Art and Design and Vice Dean of Critical Studies, University of Southern California

Extended Deadline

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In 1994, queer performance artist Ron Athey presented excerpts of his performance Four Scenes in a Harsh Life at the then-underground performance venue Patrick's Cabaret, under the aegis of the Walker Art Center. Athey's infamous performance sparked a national debate around art and censorship and ultimately led to the slashing of the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts, nearly eliminated grants to individual artists, and had a powerful, chilling effect on controversial artwork.

Twenty years later, The Culture Wars: Then and Now asks: how does this controversy reverberate in the current local and national cultural landscape? This symposium reconsiders Athey's performance and its legacies for queer performance both in the Twin Cities and on the national level. What effect has Athey's performance had on the practice of local artists? How did the controversy surrounding Athey's performance in Minneapolis affect the local community, and how has it been written into (or occluded from) local and national histories? In what ways do we discuss Athey's performance in performance studies, queer studies, queer history, and art history?

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Contemporary queer and feminist performance and artistic practice regionally or nationally
Histories of queer and feminist artistic practice regionally or nationally
Issues of archiving performance
Difficulty and vulnerability in art, theatre, and performance
Abjection, disgust, destruction, and repulsion
Theorizations of flesh, the body, marking, and scarring
Journalism and ethics in reporting on queer events and issues, especially art, theatre, and performance
The legacies of the Culture Wars

We strongly encourage proposals from across disciplines. Please submit a proposal title, abstract for a 20-minute presentation of no more than 300 words, and CV to CultureWars.UMNsymposium@gmail.com by Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Selected participants will be notified by email soon after the application date.

The symposium's organizers are Lauren DeLand, PhD (Department of Art History, Macalester College, delan104@umn.edu) and Aron M. Lorber (PhD candidate, Department of Art History, UMN, lorbe012@umn.edu).

The Culture Wars: Then and Now (March 26-28, 2015) is a weekend of events that revisits and reconsiders Athey's performance in multiple contexts and formats. Scheduled events include:

A conversation between Ron Athey and Jennifer Doyle (Professor, Department of English, UC Riverside) on Thursday, March 26, at the Walker Art Center;
Graduate presentations and community panels on Friday, March 27, at the University of Minnesota); and,
Multidisciplinary performances on the evenings of Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at Patrick's Cabaret.

The Culture Wars: Then and Now is sponsored by the University of Minnesota, Patrick's Cabaret, and the Walker Art Center. The graduate symposium is sponsored by the Departments of Art History; Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature; English; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; History; Political Science; and Theatre Arts and Dance; as well as the Schochet Endowment for GLBT Studies.