CFP – Nordic Nature: Art, Ecology, Landscape

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Nordic Nature: Art, Ecology, Landscape

16-18th June 2022

Bergen, Norway

Call For Papers Deadline: October 1st, 2021


This three-day conference at the University of Bergen looks to foreground new and vital conversations currently shaping Nordic art historical research on the natural world. Focusing on the encounter between art history, visual culture, nature, and the environment, we aim to redress the imbalance in Nordic art history that often emphasises teleological national narratives, and instead situate encounters with nature in relation to more broad historical and contemporary perspectives, including, but not limited to, the transnational, environmental, post-colonial, and Indigenous.

Recent scholarship has embraced the trans-Nordic and trans-disciplinary connections in Nordic art history, particularly with relation to landscape and ecology. This renewed focus has drawn upon novel and timely methodologies that offer an interdisciplinary perspective on artwork and objects previously associated with mystical, national, and colonial tropes. We view this conference as an intervention into the prescribed narrative of National Romanticism, inviting speakers to move beyond the national as a priori framework, and to decentre and reconfigure the geographical and cultural focus of the landscape and natural world in Nordic art history. Pressuring the intimate connections between humans and nature, new and emerging scholarship is intensely aware of the overlaps between the visual arts, environmental humanities, animal studies, Sámi bodies of knowledge, and de-colonialism. This emphasis on interdisciplinarity also showcases the wealth of collaborative research currently shaping art historical practice.

Through Nordic Nature we seek to build dialogue among scholars engaged in interdisciplinary art historical research, and to foster a conversation around how to move beyond National Romanticism as the primary way of understanding the visual culture of the Nordic environment. We foresee this conference resulting in an English-language publication, contributing a well-timed ecocritical, multi-national, and trans-disciplinary perspective to the field that could further teaching and engagement with Nordic visual and material culture.

Nordic Nature looks to showcase the richly diverse field of Nordic art history and visual culture studies, from the medieval to the present day. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Art and the Anthropocene
  • Colonialism and the Nordic Countries
  • Art and environmental history
  • Demystifying National Romanticism
  • Topography and mapping
  • Natural sciences relationship with visual culture
  • The transnational nature of Nordic landscapes
  • Human and non-human relationships

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gry Hedin, Curator, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

Please send an abstract (max 200 words) and a short biography (max 100 words) to Isabelle Gapp, MaryClaire Pappas and Tonje H. Sørensen: nordicnature2022@gmail.com.

Feature Image: “jørn utzon, architect’s own house, hellebæk, 1950-1952” by seier+seier is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
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Isabelle Gapp is an Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto. Her research considers the intersections between nineteenth and twentieth century landscape painting, gender, environmental history and climate change across the Circumpolar North.

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