Cultural Studies has long occupied a productive tension between material and visual cultures. Over the years, scholarship on materiality and visuality has developed in relation to perceived limitations with the “linguistic turn,” but also, more recently, in dialogue with the “new mobilities paradigm,” and “object-oriented ontology.” The production and circulation of images and material culture has, moreover, been forged and contested through colonial encounters of violence and intimacy, international political solidarities, and competing imaginaries of the global. This conference aims to bridge the divides between visuality and materiality by examining their recursive relation in the production and consumption of commodities, subjectivities and power as well as in the embodied sensations of sight and touch. By reflecting on how these issues are framed differently across disciplines, and in accordance to particular area-studies approaches, the main objective of this conference is to stimulate an interdisciplinary, globally-focused dialogue, on the historical role and current standing of visual and material cultures. Some of the main questions that the conference seeks to address include: 1) how does visuality intersect with material practices in the production of racial and gender differences? 2) how do material and visual cultures reproduce and/or contest Eurocentric tropes and scopic regimes? 3) how does the circulation of images, objects, and people operate in tension with the imaginary and physical construction of national boundaries? and 4) how do contemporary visions of the world from outer space provide the basis for new international and transnational political solidarities focused on questions of materiality, particularly with regard to the environment and the crisis prompted by the anthropocene?
If you have particular research interests that fit within the parameters of next year’s conference, please contact the co-conveners Ishan Ashutosh (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Olimpia Rosenthal (email@example.com).