Call for Papers: “Asian American Art: Past and Futures”

Guest-edited by Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander and Marci Kwon

PDF version: CFP Asian American Art 2020

Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art seeks proposals for papers on the topic of “Asian American Art: Past and Futures.” Accepted papers will appear in a guest-edited section of Panorama issue 7.1 (Spring 2021).

Asian Americans and members of the Asian diaspora living in the United States are currently confronting and participating in renewed public discourse about race, racialization, xenophobia, intersectionality, and activism. Anti-Asian discrimination in the wake of COVID-19; the visibility of Tou Thao, the Hmong American police officer who failed to intervene in the murder of George Floyd; and the “model minority” myth’s role in perpetuating anti-Blackness are three salient examples of the urgent need to critically investigate the complexity of Asian American experience in the United States. Scholars including Gordon Chang, Mark Dean Johnson, Margo Machida, Susette S. Min, and ShiPu Wang have made important contributions to the study of Asian American art, but historical and contemporary contributions of Asian American makers remain understudied and undertheorized within the field of American art history.

Acknowledging that neither Asian American experience nor the artistic production of the Asian diaspora is monolithic, this call for papers seeks scholarly essays that address historical, theoretical, and museological dimensions of work by Asian American/Asian diaspora makers. We understand “Asian American” not as a discrete identity category, but as a heterogeneous, relational term created by an interplay of social inclusion and exclusion, connoting interethnic and global connections among East, Southeast, South Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the relationship between art history and Asian American studies. The attentiveness of Asian American studies to the range of experiences within a single identity; interethnic collaboration and exchange; the ways bodies move through space, time, and across borders; and the global entanglements of American empire and culture offer important resources for art history. Conversely, art history’s sensitivity to artistic process, material and historical specificity, and the symbolic, phenomenological, and affective dimensions of aesthetic form offer myriad possibilities for Asian American studies.

Areas of investigation might include: How might the study of this work contribute to Asian American studies scholars’ critique of liberal notions of identity, subjectivity, and the nation-state? How have experiences of immigration, migration, exclusion, assimilation, diaspora, or displacement shaped the work of Asian American makers? How has anti-Asian bias or orientalism shaped the history of American art? What is the relationship between artistic form, Asian American racialization, gender, and sexuality? How might the study of Asian American makers destabilize entrenched notions of canonicity, empire, white supremacy, and the idea of “art” while also expanding the global purview of the subfield of American art? And what role do museums play in the critical recognition of Asian American art?

We seek proposals for focused essays of approximately 5,000 words that engage with issues related to Asian American art history, taking into account the historical trajectory of the field and contemporary discourse about Asian Americans and the Asian diaspora. These texts may take the form of object, artist, or exhibition case studies; transhistorical examinations; and critical or methodological reflections. For consideration, please send a 250-word abstract to guest editors Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander at apalexander@stanford.edu and Marci Kwon at mskwon1@stanford.edu by September 15, 2020. The deadline for papers will be February 1, 2021.