Art and Social Justice

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Arts department at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev
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The Arts department at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev invites scholars from all disciplines to participate in a symposium on the topic of Art and Social Justice to be held on May 24, 2012.
The call for social justice that is now spreading all over the world is a significant phenomenon that (re)opens new dimensions for art history as well as other political, historical and visual discourses. The shift towards neo-liberal capitalism and the dismantling of the welfare state is now being challenged. The call of the crowd in major cities such as Cairo, Rome, New York, Barcelona and Tel-Aviv, is changing the political agenda calling for greater solidarity and human compassion. This has been especially impressive coming from protesters of different social, political, gendered and cultural backgrounds. These changes echo, as well as build on, the paradigmatic shifts which have occurred within art theory and political thought in the last decade, where new theorizations and appreciation of the multitude, and wide ranging participatory practices have surfaced.
Taking current social and political upheavals as our point of departure and looking back into history one wonders about other calls for social justice and the ways they shaped or have been shaped in artistic practices. In this symposium we welcome papers that relate to such points in history, which not only had a tremendous influence on human and social developments but also received attention in the art of the time. In some cases the artists were documenting the events; in others they were propagating their own ideas. There were cases in which the artistic production was perceived as a tool for spreading the news or as a space for developing new socio-political practices. We especially welcome papers addressing a complex view of these and other interlinked approaches.
Our keynote speaker will be: Larry Silver (University of Pennsylvania) who will talk about: "War is Hell: Visualizing Warfare as Social Injustice"
Please submit a proposal for a 20-minute talk, in 250 words or less, by 23 January 2012, to: Please include your name, professional affiliation and contact information.
Topics may include but not limited to:
-Social aspects of the American, French or Russian revolutions in the art of the period
-The social dimension of Franciscan, Dominican or Jesuit reformations and their
manifestation in the arts
-Protestantism and material culture
-injustice and the common people
-Social rights movements and the arts
-The others and their voices in artistic creation
-Art and the emergence of communism, fascism or any other modern ideology
-The interrelationship between art and propaganda, ideology or statesmanship.
-Rethinking communality in the production, dissemination and reception of art.