CFP: Art as cultural diplomacy: (re)constructing notions of Eastern and Western Europe (Prague, Czech Republic)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 3:00am

Prague, Czech Republic November 15-16, 2013

Deadline: October 15, 2013

Art as cultural diplomacy: (re)constructing notions of Eastern and Western Europe

Panel chair: Cassandra Sciortino, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

The Euroacademia Second International Conference ‘Re-Inventing Eastern Europe

15-16 November, Grand Majestic Plaza Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic


In Inventing Eastern Europe. The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment, Larry Wolff deftly shows the idea of Eastern Europe to be an invention that emanated initially from the intellectual agendas of the elites of the Enlightenment and later found its peak of imaginary separation during the Cold War.  The EU enlargement was expected to make the East/West division of Europe obsolete and finally prove the non-ontological and historically contingent division of Europe and remind Europeans of the wider size of their continent and the inclusive and empowering nature of their values. Yet still, more than 20 years after the revolutions in the Central and Eastern European countries, Leon Marc (What’s So Eastern about Eastern Europe? Twenty Years After the Fall of The Berlin Wall), while arguing that the category of Eastern Europe is outdated and misleading, is still compelled to ask: ‘will Europe ever give up the need to have an East?’

The panel “Art as cultural diplomacy” seeks papers that explore the function of art (in its broadest definition) as an instrument of cultural diplomacy in Europe before and after  the Fall of the Berlin Wall.  Papers are welcome which explore issues related to the role of art, diplomacy and the politicization of the European Union and its candidate countries, as are those which consider how the arts have pursued or resisted East-West dichotomies and other narratives of alterity in Europe and worldwide.  The panel seeks to combine a wide range of  interdisciplinary perspectives to explore how art--its various practices, history, and theory--are an important area of inquiry in the expanding field of cultural diplomacy.  Selected papers will be invited for publication in a book.  Some examples of topics include:

  • How can art serve as a neutral platform for exchange to promote dialogue and understanding between foreign states? 
  • How can art, including organized festivals (i.e. film, visual art, music.), cultivate transnational identities that undermine dichotomies of East and West, and other narratives of alterity in Europe and beyond it?
  • The implications for art as an instrument of diplomacy in a postmodern age where geopolitics and power are increasingly mobilized by image based structures of persuasion
  • How has/can art facilitate cohesion between European Union member states and candidate states that effectively responds to the EU’s efforts to create “unity in diversity.”
  • The politics of mapping Europe: mental and cartographic
  • Community based art as a social practice to engage issues of European identity
  • The difference between art as cultural diplomacy and propaganda
  • The digital revolution and the emergence of social media as platforms for art to communicate across social, cultural, and national boundaries?
  • Diplomacy in the history of art in Europe and Eastern Europe
  • Artists as diplomats
  • Art history as diplomacy--exhibitions, post-colonial criticism, global art history, and other revisions to the conventional boundaries of Europe and its history of art
  • The international activity of cultural institutes

Please submit abstracts of less than 300 words by October 15, 2013 to Cassandra Sciortino

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