Call For Proposals: Mobilities of Craft since 1900: Economics, Politics, Aesthetics (proposed panel, AAS Meeting, Philadelphia, March 27-30, 2014)

CFP: Mobilities of Craft since 1900: Economics, Politics, Aesthetics (proposed panel, AAS Meeting, Philadelphia, March 27-30, 2014)

The twentieth century saw a heightened interest in the intersection between craft, design and high art, both in Asia and elsewhere, with productive intersections across national borders (such as American artists in residency in India and Japan), possibilities of (limited) cultural preservation through commercial distribution (e.g. Madhubani painting), and the means to shore up political relations (as in Southeast Asia during the Cold War). This panel investigates the mobility of craft in the context of twentieth and twenty-first century global flows of capital and asymmetrical power relations.

Focused on craft in relation to Asia (conceived broadly), we also seek innovative scholarly approaches to questions of the movement of crafts and aesthetics, questions of authenticity, and engagement with commerce. Does the framework of Orientalist appropriation and romanticization as articulated by early twentieth-century scholars and critics such as Coomaraswamy and Yanagi remain useful? Or, do we require new methods to raise questions about the movement of craft objects and related processes of creation, distribution, display and use across the globe—in cultures of migration, as mobilized by varieties of transport, as outsourced goods in transnational export/import flows, as traded for cultural diplomacy, or as contextualized in relations of aesthetic agency and constraint?

How has craft objects’ mobility impacted craft’s participation in economies and political orders? Does the circulation of craft preclude other forms of visual and material culture? What expectations about the significance of its makers do craft demonstrations produce and reify? How do the locations where craft processes are demonstrated—rural areas, regional cities, national museums, festivals, (aspiring) cultural hubs in Asia and abroad—contribute to or limit craft’s significance? Later in the century, the rise of “fair trade” movements seem to rework the role of craft. Did the rise of neoliberalism reshape the significance of craft materials and processes along with links to tradition and locality? Has attention to craft in its materiality overshadowed or potentially erased other, less physical modes of cultural expression such as dance, music, or storytelling? Does craft remain associated with folk or the vernacular along with discourses of authenticity and ethnic purity?

We welcome papers that address any of these trajectories at the intersection of craft, commerce, and the movement of material culture and aesthetics around Asia and around the world, from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Rebecca M. Brown, Johns Hopkins University,

Jennifer Way, University of North Texas,

Please send abstracts (250 words) and a short cv to both of the above email addresses by July 15, 2013. We will be submitting a panel to the AAS Annual Meeting held March 27-30, 2014 in Philadelphia.

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