Medievalism, Orientalism, Capitalism
Call for Papers for the International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. May 9-14, 2022. Sponsored by the Material Collective. Organized by Jennifer Borland and Mariah Proctor-Tiffany.
Patrons of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries looked to the Middle Ages in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for objects and inspiration for their exoticizing and historically evocative collections and architecture. This session seeks to analyze collecting and/or building projects within their political, social, economic, and cultural environments through examinations of the financial structures that enabled their creation, nationalist and colonialist appropriation and collecting strategies, and issues of class such as the relationships between artists and patrons.
As art history and related fields come to terms with their racist histories, it has become exceedingly important to approach the history of collecting in the U.S. critically. The patrons of 19th- and 20th-century medievalist homes were often also among the political and cultural elite who facilitated the movement of medieval artworks into U.S. collections — often through pathways inflected by colonialism, opportunism, and economic power.
We anticipate speakers doing short, ten-minute presentations that will allow for more robust discussion time.