CHAViC Call for Papers 2013

Conference: November 1-2, 2013
Poignant Prospects: Landscape and the Environment in American Visual Culture, 1750-1890

The Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) at the American Antiquarian Society seeks paper proposals that explore how visual representations of both natural and built environments have changed over time, and how those changing narratives helped shape American attitudes toward nature and the environment. How has historical visual culture contributed to today’s environmental movement? We encourage proposals for papers that address the issue of landscape broadly defined as depicted in prints, photographs, political cartoons, book illustrations (including children’s literature), broadsides, ephemera and other forms of visual culture. We invite participation and dialog among scholars from a variety of disciplines including history, American studies, art history, literary studies, and environmental studies.

Keynote Speaker: Aaron Sachs (Cornell University). His most recent book Arcadian America: The Death and Life of an Environmental Tradition (2013) has just been published by Yale University Press.

Potential topics and themes include:

  • The urban landscape
  • The American West and other borderlands
  • Exploration and science
  • Streetscapes
  • The commemorative landscape
  • Parks and public spaces
  • The ocean as a landscape
  • Museum and other displays of natural history
  • Transnational comparisons
  • Regional identities
  • Body/landscape
  • Abundance and destruction in landscape imagery

Please send proposals for 20-minute presentations including a title and abstract (not to exceed 250 words) and a brief CV to Nan Wolverton, Director of CHAViC, to by March 18, 2013.

Please also note the availability of short-term fellowships for the study of visual culture at the American Antiquarian Society. The application deadline for the 2013-14 fellowship cycle is January 15, 2013. Information of fellowships can be found at:

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