Deadline: August 2, 2022, 5 p.m., PST
Call for Papers: The 57th Annual UCLA Art History Graduate Symposium

Figuring Space


Symposium Date: Friday, October 21, 2022

Location: The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

CFP Deadline: August 1, 2022, 5 p.m. PST


Space is the elusive yet malleable material which artists, performers, architects, and other creatives mold to shape and configure their realities. Space, with its façade of stability, is constantly shifting beneath us, around us, and above us. Socio-political forces frequently rework and reconstruct land and our relationships to it. Artistic practices and architectural gestures reveal the ways people interact in space, look up into Space, carve up space, disrupt space, and construct spaces through visual and material culture. Figuring Space seeks papers that explore these spatial practices and manifestations as well as the figurations that nations, races, classes, genders, sexualities, and religions take in and outside of their spaces.


The 57th Annual UCLA Art History Graduate Symposium, Figuring Space, will explore formulations of space and its revolutionary nature as a medium, such as for indigenous, diasporic, genderfluid, and anti-racist imaginaries in art historical inquiries. Examples include how Iberian invaders tried to reorder the Inca city of Cuzco to show their dominance (and how Indigenous peoples pushed back on those colonial spatial attempts); how the French Impressionists painted the new urban landscape of Haussmann’s Paris along with its class and gender ramifications; how contemporary Afrofuturist artists fuse black diaspora and technology to generate spaces that center Black culture. When artists, architects, and performers paint, sketch, mold, enclose, pierce, expose, and perform space, they give contours to its conceptual indeterminacy.


We welcome submissions from art historians and those from all disciplines who are working with visual and material culture across all time periods, regions, cultures, and mediums–from ancient to contemporary, global to local, and transnational to transhistorical. We are eager for papers that engage with spatial transformations, slippages, and subversions in methodologically imaginative ways.


Examples of general topics include:

  •     Borders and Migration
  •     Landscapes and Environments
  •     Queer Spaces
  •     Colonialism and Empire
  •     Property and Ownership
  •     Spaces of Religious Significance
  •     Domestic Spaces and Gender
  •     Museum and Gallery Spaces
  •     Phenomenology of Bodies in Space
  •     Trade Routes
  •     Urban Spaces and Gentrification
  •     Diaspora and Home
  •     Astronomy and Scale
  •     Technology and Globalism
  •     Futurism and Fascism
  •     Afrofuturism
  •     Posthumanism and Anthropocentrism
  •     Abstraction and Flattened Space
  •     Mirrors and Reflection


Figuring Space will be an in-person symposium over one day in Los Angeles. The day will include research presentations, keynote speeches, and complementary food. Groups of participants will deliver 10–12-minute presentations on a topic relevant to their current research followed by panel-type discussions with UCLA students and faculty, keynote speakers, and symposium attendees. We can offer small honoraria for all participants’ work and time and will assist with housing. Interested candidates are invited to submit an abstract of approximately 300 words along with a CV or resume to by August 1, 2022, by 5 p.m. PST. Scholars at all stages in their graduate career are welcome to apply as we will select participants holistically. Accepted participants will be notified by late August.


The Annual UCLA Art History Graduate Student Symposium is the longest running symposium of its kind in North America. Initiated in 1965, the symposium provides a forum for graduate students to present original research in a creative and non-judgmental scholarly format. Organized by a cohort of students, the symposium is structured around critical themes and issues in art historical scholarship. Past themes and keynote speakers include: Edible Undercurrents: Food in Art History, Deborah L. Krohn and Carol Goodden (2021); Speculative Forensics, Carrie Lambert-Beatty (2020); Distraction, Paul Mpagi Sepuya (2019); Alterations, Juliana Huxstable (2018); Art on the Edge: Crossing Borders, Shifting Boundaries, Challenging Conventions, Ala Ebtekar (2017); Killing Time: Temporality in Visual Culture, Dylan Miner (2016); Half-Life: Persistence and Decay, Alexander Nagel (2015); (Re)Mediation, Lisa Saltzman (2014); Sense-ability: Multi-perceptual Encounters with Art, Henry John Drewal (2013); Translations, Jonathan Hay (2012); Standard Procedure, Beatriz Colomina (2011); Back to the Future, Pamela M. Lee (2010); Incongruities, Helen Molesworth (2009); ARTifact, Alan McCollum (2000); and Crossings, Belongings, Presence, Trinh T. Minh-ha (1998).