RHA: Call for contributions | Re-turns: on future art histories | until 1 March


Repair work in Church of [the Holy] Sepulchre. Chapel of St. Helena. Pillars on N. side with scaffolding, between 1934 and 1939, title and date from: photographer’s logbook: Matson Registers, v. 1, [1934-1939], Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.


Call for Contributions

Re-turns: on future art histories 

Among other things, unlearning is a method of curating new directions of a future to be imagined. In Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019: 70), Ariella Azoulay calls for different modalities of ‘rehearsal, reversal, rewinding, repairing, renewing, reacquiring, redistributing, readjusting, reallocating.’ The practice of re-doing, with reparation at its inner core, frames the notion of return, but also of re-thinking and re-writing. To celebrate the re-launch of Revista de História da Arte in 2023, we are inviting submissions for a themed issue on the topic of ‘Re-turns: on future art histories’ (working title). Taking these broad conceptual categories into consideration, re-turn might be a useful strategy to revisit and unlearn in order to understand anew. We are interested in approaching, via art history, different chronologies and spatial organisations in order to repair tangled pasts. In Azoulay’s words (2019: 539), ‘[R]eparation is the right of return and the right to return — return as a reparative modality that rewinds the movement of the forward-thrusting shutter.’ As Silvina Rodrigues Lopes remarked in O Nascer do Mundo nas suas Passagens (Edições do Saguão, 2021), in Portuguese, ‘to repair’ (reparar) also contains an additional meaning: ’to pay attention.’ While Azoulay argues for undoings, we welcome any contributions that explore returns and reversals, rewritings and renewals, paying attention to how we can learn, analyse, archive, articulate, represent, record and otherwise uncover. We invite perspectives that engage with a broad range of chronologies, geographies and methodologies navigating the issue of return to curate an art history for the future.
Art history may be positioned as a discipline and a practice that frames cultures and identities and which can build on (and conversely, contest) knowledge(s) concerning power relations, inequalities, silencings and invisibilities that continue to shape the world today. By conflating art with histories, it can turn a spotlight on assumptions and expose fault lines so as to generate a more complex, responsible, inclusive and comprehensive landscape of stories towards a future led by social justice and equality. Of course, art history is itself part of discursive formations that have also served to reinforce and/or contributed to existent power relations; nonetheless, it also harbours the potential to think across disciplines such as literary studies, postcolonial theory, indigenous histories, and anthropology, addressing the past by paying attention to the ways in which power relations shape culture, relaying dominant values through material, performative and visual means.
We seek contributions from art historians, critics, theorists, artists or curators from across a comprehensive range of chronologies and geographies that explore the most pressing challenges for art history on the issue of “return”. Collaborative and/or interdisciplinary submissions are particularly welcomed. What are the stories of art for the future and how can the discipline meaningfully engage with the urgency of lives in the current context? How might such an approach foster thinking across disciplines, chronologies, geographies and materialities whilst reckoning with the past, calling into question and unlearning its legacies, rewriting histories and engaging in conversations about what confronts us now and into the future? This re-launch issue of Revista de História da Arte marks the increasing demand to reshape the critical directions of art history, reflecting on its rich legacies and troubling omissions. Which scholarly trajectories may heed the potential to return to and re-turn historical consciousness? 
This themed issue will mark the occasion of the journal’s re-launch, collaboratively imagining the future of art history as a discipline but also as a commitment. We invite proposals that address the notions of return and re-turn, not to dwell on the past, but in order to understand how art history, as a practice and a process, might pave the way for more equal, ethical, responsible, and caring communal futures.
The Journal
The Revista de História da Arte is an open access online journal published by the Institute of Art History (NOVA FCSH). It publishes multi- and cross-disciplinary peer-reviewed articles that critically analyse and address historical and current conditions of art practice and theory in the global field, with a particular focus on Portuguese narratives and discourses, and their global resonances and articulations.  
Submissions, due dates 
  • Title, 300 word abstract, 6 keywords, and an 80-word author biography due 1 March 2023 to rha@fcsh.unl.pt  
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 20 March 2023
  • Full paper submission: 29 May 2023
Academic research articles should be between 8,000 and 10,000 words, including footnotes and Bibliography. Creative responses should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words, including footnotes and Bibliography. Please check the Author Guidelines. 
All information here: rha.fcsh.unl.pt