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About The 2009 Conney Conference

Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness

April 22-24, 2009

Register to Attend | Hotel and Lodging Information | Schedule of Events Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness, an initiative of the Conney Project on Jewish Arts, directed by Douglas Rosenberg, continues and extends our initiatives in the area of Jewish Identity in the Arts. Previous and ongoing offerings have included symposia, conferences and think tanks as well as visiting artist programs and the soon to be completed Conney Media Lab. Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness refers to the multiple ways in which historical narratives concerning Jewish identity in the arts are both fluid and volatile and how, throughout history, those practices are inscribed culturally. We are interested in new interpretations, new theorizing and new ways of lensing Jewish culture through the arts and throughout history to the present and into the future. This conference will look at all aspects of Jewish identity across disciplines in the broadest sense. We are interested in opening this discourse up to include any and all historical periods as well as geographical locations, inclusive of the practices of music, the visual arts, performance, new media, photography, dance, spoken word, and any other sub-genre or categorization that might be applicable to the question of Jewish Identity in the arts.

Painting by Lilli Anne Sprintz
Previous symposia and conferences organized by the Conney Project on Jewish Arts have focused on inscribing Jewish Identity in art practice and art practice by Jewish artists. Performing Histories seeks to open up new discussions that inspire critical debate around both traditional and contemporary approaches to creating and circulating work of Jewish content in literature, theater, the visual and performing arts as well as in art-related scholarly writing and research. We are interested in expanding the field of discourse surrounding Jewish identity in the histories and visual cultures of artmaking, scholarship, literature, music and other art related practices in which Jewishness exerts a significant presence. We welcome all models of presentation from artists and scholars ranging from the traditional to the performative.

Keynote Speaker: Catherine Soussloff

University of California Presidential Chair Professor, History of Art & Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz Professor Soussloff is the editor of, and a contributor to, the first comprehensive study of Jewish identity in the context of art history. Jewish Identity in Modern Art History (University of California Press), was published in 1999 and the seminal text opened the door to a much needed discourse on the contributions of Jewish Artists to the culture of Modern and Post-Modern Art. She is a renowned scholar in the area of art and visual culture whose research has been recognized with the appointment of a Presidential Chair at UC Santa Cruz in recognition of her “distinguished scholarship and continuing efforts in the areas of interdisciplinary teaching, research, and publication activities on performance and the visual arts.” Professor Soussloff has an article forthcoming in Images: Journal of Jewish Art and Visual Culture 2 (2007) titled, Teaching the Three A’s of Jewish Identity and Visual Representation: Assimilation, Aniconism, and Art.

More about the Conference

Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness will focus on the contribution of Jewish artists and theorists to world culture through the spectrum of arts practice. The conference is intended to raise questions about both the nature of Jewishness and the nature of “Jewish Art” as well as Jewish identity in general. While clearly engaged with both the practice of and the writing of contemporary art history, Jewishness has not been recognized as an ethnic identity in the arts. Jewish difference, once the material for anti-Semitic exclusion from the canon, has been absorbed by critical culture to such a degree that in this multi-cultural era, Jews have been curiously absent from multi-cultural discourse. While Jewish scholars and artists in the 20th and 21st century arguably have played a vital role in the creation of Modern and Post-Modern art culture, rarely if ever are they looked at as a group of individuals with a common thread, that being their identity as diasporic Jews. This conference offers a platform for critical dialogue about the role of Jewish artists and scholars in shaping art history, theory and practice. Through papers, presentations, performances and dialogue, Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness will create a space to engage the questions that arise out of the intersection of art, theory, performance and Jewish identity. Register to Attend | Hotel and Lodging Information | Schedule of Events

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