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Call for Papers. Visual Cultures of Colonial India: A Historical Perspective

Deadline to apply: 31 March 2024
Seminar dates: 24-25 April 2024

Department of History, Motilal Nehru College, University of Delhi invites papers for a BAN supported, two-day international hybrid seminar on Visual Cultures of Colonial India: A Historical Perspective, to be held on 24th-25th April 2024.

This seminar aims to bring to a discussion table, the visual cultures of colonial India in which producers and consumers of art objects were engaging. The eighteenth-century world was replete with patrons, consumers and producers of art and Britain and through its agency of colonialism, India, were no exceptions. The robustness was visible not only in the import, export and auction of art between mainland Europe and London, but also in numerous artists traversing the globe in search of patronage and inspiration to tap into the growing art market of the eighteenth century. As the English East India Company came to have strong political foothold over parts of South Asia from the middle of the eighteenth century onwards, several European artists arrived in India in search of patronage. The proliferation in artwork owed not only to the growing middle class in England which emerged as a paying viewer at exhibitions held in different cities, but could also easily be attributed to the changes in artistic technologies with a shift from watercolor to oil on canvas to aquatints, chromolithography, panorama, photography and so on. The ability to produce faithful multiple copies and the possibility to exhibit artworks in various cities through mobile exhibitions without damaging the artwork itself allowed for a larger consumer base for the works of artists. A critical study of the networks that sustained the hybridity in the long eighteenth century can go a long way in unravelling the fascinating multi-layered interconnected histories of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic regions through the history of the circulation of art objects. This seminar will be useful in introducing the scholars of British Art History to newer epistemologies and methodologies of doing art history and public history. Abstracts are invited on the following themes but are not limited to:

  • Visual Cultures: History, Science and Semiotics
  • Global Art Market of the Colonial World
  • Hybridity in the Age of Imperialism
  • Artistic Content and Technological Innovation
  • Decolonizing Art History: Issues and Challenges
  • Colonial artworks: Thematics and Patrons

A 300-350 word abstract with a brief bio must be mailed to [email protected] by the 31 March 2024. Registration fee is INR 1000/- which includes a seminar kit and refreshments. At travel bursaries cannot be provided.