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Two Students' Conference Sessions Selected for CAA

  • Date: June 29, 2016

We are excited to announce that two sessions devised by our Ph.D. students have been selected for inclusion at the 2017 national meeting of the College Art Association.

Chair: Jessica Cooley, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art History, University of Wisconsin Madison; co-chairing with Stefanie Snider, Assistant Professor, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Title: Crip Affects: New Approaches to Disability Studies in Art History


Tobin Siebers’ Disability Aesthetics lays the foundation for a new way of understanding disability studies as central to art history and its methods. With the turn to conceive disability as not merely a matter of representation, biography, or biology but also and especially as a style, an aesthetic, and a tactic that produces interactions and emotions, Siebers’ Disability Aesthetics alters both the role and value of disability: “disability is properly speaking an aesthetic value, which is to say, it participates in a system of knowledge that provides materials for and increases critical consciousness about the way that some bodies make other bodies feel.”

Taking up and extending the challenge of Siebers’ prompt, Crip Affects takes seriously the expansive possibilities of “crip” as an adjectival modifier to welcome a generous rethinking of non-normative affects. Pushing the question of how disability feels as material object(s) or in performance art, Crip Affects asks about feeling crip. In addressing how crip may be felt not simply in a solitary body, but in the friction, attraction, or vibration of multiple bodies (human and non-human) that interact, collide, or enmesh, Crip Affects also contends with cripping’s power to affect.

Crip Affects seeks papers from a wide variety of contributors (artists, art historians, curators, and scholars of visual culture, disability studies, and other fields) to constellate a space to collectively reimagine how art objects, performance art, and curatorial practice produce, challenge, and perform the vertiginous possibilities of crip while also holding onto the lived experiences of disability and its political and cultural stakes.

Chair: Lex Lancaster, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Title: New Materialisms in Contemporary Art

Though contemporary art may be understood as fundamentally digital and dematerialized, it also continues to be compelled by matter and medium. As an activating tendency in contemporary art, materiality demands our critical attention and potentially a shift in our methods. Staging an interdisciplinary conversation among scholars of art history and visual culture, this session seeks papers that take medium and material processes seriously in order to explore the critical significance and possibilities of materiality as an analytical apparatus. Addressing the radical affective and affecting work of materiality in contemporary art alongside the explosion of interdisciplinary scholarship on “New Materialisms” in the twenty-first century, this session asks not only what engagement with “new materialism” and materialist modes of analysis may bring to contemporary visual theories and art historical scholarship, but also what this scholarship contributes to the bourgeoning field called “New Materialisms.” The session is focused on artworks produced since 1960, but in terms of the broadest possible range of media from the sculptural and painterly to the digital and performative. Of particular interest are papers that consider the affective and visceral textures and relational dimensions of materiality; contemporary abstraction; queer and feminist ontologies and phenomenologies; race and racialization; postcolonial studies; disability studies and crip theory; cybernetics and posthumanism; animacies and agential life.