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CFA: Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth Century, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies Special Issue

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CFA: Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth Century

Guest Editors:  Dr Katie Faulkner (The Courtauld Institute of Art and Arcadia University) Dr Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh)

This special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies will use ‘craft’ as a framework for understanding how various forms of masculinity were constructed and expressed during the long nineteenth century (1789-1914) in Britain and internationally.

Picture1Narratives focusing on the heroic male artist and privileging the ‘fine art’ over the ‘decorative’ emerged in the nineteenth century and were perpetuated by modernist writers and formalist art historians throughout the twentieth century. Yet the continuing preoccupation with the male genius and his masterpieces has been challenged by feminist interventions in art historical scholarship, often by reintroducing the significance of craft, and its female practitioners, into histories of material production. This endeavour has found a particular ally in material culture studies. Unburdened by art historical divisions between the fine and decorative arts, high art and craft, a substantial literature on the relationship between women and material culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has recently emerged (see for example Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin’s four-part edited collection on Women and Things: Gendered Material Strategies, 1750-1950 (2009), Material Women, 1750-1950: Consuming Desires and Collecting Practices (2009), Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750-1950 (2009), and Women and the Material Culture of Death (2013)). Despite this historiographical richness, the figure of the male crafter is noticeably absent from the history of nineteenth-century art and culture, aside from notable exceptions associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement, such as William Morris and Charles Robert Ashbee, and organisations like the Art Worker’s Guild.

Nevertheless, the ideas and practices of craft permeated the very fabric of everyday life in the nineteenth century. As a material category, craft encompasses a diverse range of objects, the production of which was central to a number of professional and personal masculine identities. Produced within or outside of the art academy or studio, made singly or collaboratively, and used to express both public and private selves, craft provides a compelling metaphor for thinking about how nineteenth-century masculinity was itself ‘made’. Focusing on objects and figures that have previously been overlooked within scholarship, the issue will reveal forgotten narratives and ignored identities, thereby providing an alternative material record of masculinity in the long nineteenth century.

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This interdisciplinary special issue will explore the material and metaphorical role of craft in constructing nineteenth-century masculinities, enriching an already vibrant secondary literature on gender and material culture. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • tensions between domestic practices and professional craftsmanship
  • collaboration and homosociability
  • craft and queer masculinities
  • craft and emotion
  • craft and recuperation
  • the arts and crafts movement
  • craft made by prisoners, soldiers, and sailors
  • craft as an elite hobby/craft as a labouring class pursuit
  • craft in the age of mechanical reproduction
  • craft and dress
  • craft as/and self-fashioning
  • craft as activism
  • the idea of masculinity as ‘crafted’

We encourage submissions of 5,000-8,000 words on any aspect of the relationship between masculinity and craft during the period 1789-1914. Submission guidelines for Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies are available here. Submissions that are accepted will be subject to blind peer-review. Deadline for completed manuscripts is 30th October 2017. Please send all manuscripts and queries/abstracts to makingmasculinity@gmail.com

Images: Rodolphe Christen, George Sim in His Workshop, Aberdeen, 1890, oil on canvas. Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums & J.M.W. Turner, An Artists’ Colourman’s Workshop, c. 1807, oil on wood. Tate.

Week in Review – 19 March

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33005859916_69ac826dc4_b.jpgRobert Dighton, The Macaroni Painter, or Billy Dimple sitting for his Picture, 1772. British Museum, London.

First up, Dominic Janes’ post, ‘A Queer Taste for Macaroni‘, on the Public Domain Review. I recently had an article accepted for a special issue of Aphra Behn Online: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830 that explores the concept of “camp” with regards to eighteenth-century studies. My article will locate macaronism within a visual and ironic rhetoric of campness, and Janes’ new book Oscar Wilde Prefigured: Queer Fashioning and British Caricature, 1750-1900 is an essential resource for this work. 

Secondly, I was hugely excited to read about the National Gallery of Victoria’s upcoming exhibition Love: Art of Emotion 1400–1800, which draws upon the NGV’s diverse permanent collection to explore the theme of love in art, and the changing representations of this complex emotion throughout the early modern period in Europe.

I also enjoyed reading this review of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge’s exhibition Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, which the role of domestic objects in sustaining and inspiring faith.

I was also intrigued to read: this post from Notches Blog on ‘Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: A Roundtable on the Politics of Sexual Representations in the 1970s‘; and this fascinating article on the spiritualist artist Hima af Klint.

I’ve got several multi-media picks this week: first, this episode of The Why Factor on using our hands; this episode of the Art Detective Podcast on Tipu’s Tiger – with Sona Datta; and finally, this video of Mary Beard’s lecture, Women in Power.

The following CFPs and conferences also caught my attention this week:

CFP: Fashion, Dress, and Post-Postmodernism (September 20, 2017)

CFP: Vistas. 19th Century Studies (Philadelphia, 15-17 Mar 18)

CONF: Rejection & Recovery in the History of Art & Architecture (Boston, 24-25 Mar 17)

CFP: Early Netherlandish Art in the Long 19th Century (Ghent, 24 – 26 May 18)

CFP: Art of Power: The 3rd Earl of Bute, Politics and Collecting in Enlightenment Britain (2nd Oct 2017 – 4th Oct 2017)

WORKSHOP: Approaching Inner Lives: Thinking, Feeling, Believing, 1300-1900 (Tuesday 28 March 2017)

ECRS – 8 February

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 18.21.55Please join us for the next session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on politics and culture in eighteenth-century Scotland, and will feature Nicola Martin (University of Stirling) whose presentation is entitled ‘Improvement, Stadial Theory, and the Pacification of the Highlands in the mid-Eighteenth Century’, and Thomas Archambaud, (Independent) who will be speaking on’The Highland Bard and the Prime Minister: James Macpherson, Lord Bute and the politics of Scottish patronage in the age of Enlightenment’.

All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception. 

You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.

Week in Review – 15 January

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First up, I’m hugely excited by the programme for this year’s Slade Lectures, which will be given by Caroline van Eck. Eck’s work on objects, experience, senses, rituals and neoclassicism are critical in my own work, but the Lectures are an unmissable series for anyone interested in the history of art. Fingers crossed the lectures will be podcasted, as they have been in previous years.

I read with interest Nathan Perl-Rosenthal’s series on ‘Plotting Revolution‘, for the Age of Revolutions blog. This three-part series considers the complex relationship between history and narrative, something which is also explored in the fascinating Storying the Past project, which will discuss the book The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing (and therefore, issues surrounding women’s life-writing and biography) via twitter in February.

I also enjoyed Anne-Lieke Brem’s post Things that matter(-ed): A biography of anatomical votive reliefs for The Votives Project, which reflects on issues of biography and the changing value of ancient votive reliefs as ‘things’.

I was also made aware of the Association for Critical Race Art History‘s fantastic bibliographic resource this week. Their site provides a number of bibliographies, divided by region, for those seeking to investigate issues of race and ethnicity in art and visual culture. These extensive bibliographies are available here.

As ever, the latest issue of the Journal of Art Historiography provides a fascinating selection of articles, translations and discussions. In the December 2016 issue, I was particularly intrigued by the discussions of ‘Baroque for a wide public’, which seek to add nuance to dominant histories of this global movement.

The following CFPs, CFAs and conferences also caught my attention this week:

CFP: Carnal Canucks, Histories of Sexuality in Canada

CFP: ANTIPODEAN ANTIQUITIES: CLASSICAL RECEPTION ‘DOWN UNDER’

CFP – Nostalgia & Consumer Culture in the 20th Century; SSHA 2017

CFC: The Spaces and Places of Horror

CONF: Coding and Representation

CONF: Trauma & Melodrama: Emotions in the Public Sphere / Conference in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago

CFP: From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance

CFP: Photography and the Histories of Working Peoples and Laboring Lives

Finally, I’m excited to see the Glad to be Gay exhibition, which draws on the unique Hall-Carpenter Archives and the Women’s Library collection to mark the 50th anniversary of a pivotal piece of legislation, the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. Glad to be Gay will be at LSE, London, until April.

Looking Forward to 2017

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Inspired by a number of reflective end-of-year blog posts (including this and this) I thought I’d map out my aims and activities for 2017. If you’d like to gain a sense of what I achieved in 2016, you can check out my series on being a year post-phd here, here, and here.

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Yale Center for British Art

As always seems to be the case, 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year.

In January, I’m primarily working on editing my PhD thesis for publication: firstly, I’m editing the sample chapters of my book that will be submitted for review, and secondly, I’m revising an article on needlework and visual culture, which is currently at revise and resubmit stage with a peer-reviewed journal. As a broader research aim, I also want to develop a sustainable daily writing habit during this month.

January is also the month in which I return to teaching, and this term I’m teaching four courses, one of which is completely new to me. I’m excited (and slightly apprehensive) about the challenges of a heavier teaching load, and interested to find ways of balancing my time between teaching and research commitments. Indeed, while teaching and marking dominate the months of January, February and March, I’m also planning on revising another article, this time on the interior decoration of A la Ronde, during this time. In February, I’m working on hosting a public event on Queer Material Heritage to tie in with this year’s LGBT History Month theme.

In April, I’ll be finishing off some marking, but more excitingly I’m off to Yale University’s Lewis Walpole Library for a two week-research trip. I’ll be researching an exciting mixture of things for both my monograph project, as well as my postdoctoral project on collage in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Directly following on from this, I’m spending the month of May as a Visiting Scholar at Yale Center for British Art, during which time I’ll also conduct research for the collage project, this time on composite albums, botanical paper collages, and a number of mourning objects.

In June I’ll be travelling to Umeå, Sweden for the International Society for Cultural History 2017 Conference, which this year is on ‘Senses, Emotions and the Affective Turn: Recent Perspectives and New Challenges in Cultural History’. My presentation, ‘Lost Objects & Loss Objects: Intersections of Absence and Presence in Eighteenth-Century Material Culture’, will hopefully provide the perfect opportunity to tease out some of the key issues for the Introduction of my book.

In July, I’m off to another conference, this time in London. At Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period, I’ll be presenting my recent work on Romantic commonplace books, which has functioned as a sort of pilot study for my collage project.

Finally, in August, I’m spending a month as a research fellow at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. Other than providing a gorgeous setting for research, I’ll be using the Wintherthur’s library and museum collections to conduct research on a form of paper collage known as ‘scrapbook houses’. I’ll definitely be posting about all my research trips so stay tuned!

I’ll also be running Edinburgh’s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminars again this year (with the first session on Jan 25th) and Katie Faulkner  and I are hoping to develop a project from #WaysofSheing, which will look at the contribution of female art historians across history – watch this space.

From September onwards, things are a little more hazy, although I’m a hundred per cent sure that I’ll be working on publications as much as possible, having kept various articles and the book ticking over during the first 8 months of the year. So 2017, let’s do this.

Lost Objects & Loss Objects – Abstract for the 2017 ISCH Conference

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Mourning Ring, Private Collection

I’m very excited that our panel, ‘Materialising Love and Loss: Objects and Identity in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Britain’, has been accepted for the 2017 International Society for Cultural History conference Senses, Emotions and the Affective Turn: Recent Perspectives and New Challenges in Cultural History. The panel, organised by Dr Sally Holloway, features papers from myself, Dr Kate Smith, Professor Joanne Begiato, and Dr Holloway. My abstract for the conference is included below, and will form the basis for one of the new chapters of my book.

Lost Objects & Loss Objects: Intersections of Absence and Presence in Eighteenth-Century Material Culture

Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh)

This paper explores the complex relationship between absence and presence in our understanding of eighteenth-century material culture. Specifically, it attempts to unpack the correlation between lost material objects whose very absence evoked feelings of longing and grief; associational objects which recalled a lost family member, friend, or lover, through their contrasting continued presence; and finally, the development of a commercial material culture that explicitly engaged with, and was used to express, bereavement. Utilising a number of case studies, the paper will examine a variety of material objects and domestic spaces, including ceramics, mourning jewellery, grottoes, silverware, furniture, and textiles, in order to better understand how emotions became enmeshed with the material culture of this period. In so doing, the paper will attempt to write a theory of material loss, in which absence and presence, materiality and immateriality, were intricately related in contemporaries’ understanding of material objects.