[Msa-discuss] CFP: Art Histories, Cultural Studies and the Cold War London 24 September 2010

David Ayers D.S.Ayers at kent.ac.uk
Thu Jul 8 11:05:04 EDT 2010


Conference: Art Histories, Cultural Studies and the Cold War

Date: 24 September 2010

Venue: Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London

Twenty years ago the world witnessed the most momentous geo-political chang=
es since the end of the Second World War: the fall of the Berlin Wall the i=
mplosion of Soviet Union and the emergence of the USA as the global superpo=
wer. The period of the Cold War (c.1948-89) was one of ideological struggle=
 and profound cultural crisis, no less so than for the discipline of Art Hi=
story, rooted in the ideals and aspirations of  the European Enlightenment.=
 But the crucible of the Cold War also witnessed the re-definition of Art H=
istory, the birth of the New Left and a nascent tradition of Cultural Studi=
es.

In 1952 Erwin Panofsky wrote a paper surveying Three Decades of Art History=
 in the United States =96 an essay pervaded by an acute sense of how the de=
velopment of the discipline of Art History, and the lives of individual art=
 historians, had been shaped by the momentous political events of the 1930s=
 and 40s. In a specific reference to McCarthyism, Panofsky noted how =91nat=
ionalism and intolerance=92 remained a terrifying threat to academic freedo=
m and that =91even when dealing with the remote past, the historian cannot =
be entirely objective.=92 Although the situation was less extreme in the UK=
, intellectuals and academics with left wing sympathies such as Frederick (=
Frigyes) Antal, Francis Klingender and Eric Hobsbawm still faced =91red bai=
ting=92 and other challenges in gaining employment in universities and othe=
r teaching-related posts.

Writing in 1960 to Adrian Stokes about his book Art and Illusion, Ernst Gom=
brich reflected on the =91considerable shock=92 with which he discovered th=
at Art History had been misused to propagate pseudo-historical myths on bot=
h the Right and the Left. Some decades later Peter Fuller was faced with a =
changing political landscape and the need to re-consider his own response t=
o national identity and to the Marxism he had cherished earlier in his care=
er.

This international conference will explore how the Cold War delineated appr=
oaches to Art History, Historiography and Cultural Studies and how its cond=
itions and constraints shaped the professional careers and ideas of scholar=
s and cultural theorists.

Conference Fees: =A320  [=A312 students and unwaged] to include tea, coffee=
 and evening drinks reception.

For further information on the conference and registration details, please =
contact: G.F.Pooke at kent.ac.uk<mailto:G.F.Pooke at kent.ac.uk> or B.D.H.Thomas@=
kent.ac.uk<mailto:B.D.H.Thomas at kent.ac.uk>

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