Society for the History of Collecting

CAA Affiliated Society Session (February 2022)

CFP: Decentering Collecting Histories

Chair: Dr. Stacey Pierson, SOAS

Recent research into the history of collecting has moved from concentrating on collecting practices by European and American collectors to a much more varied understanding of the global circulation and appropriation of works of art. This approach has been much enhanced by interest in contemporary collecting practices both in the West and in emerging markets throughout the world. However, the history of collecting has been slower to consider non-Western collectors, especially those beyond a restricted canon of examples. This session asks what it would mean to de-center the history of collecting, whether by moving into unfamiliar geographies, recovering the agency of overlooked (often non-European) actors, or reflecting on alternative epistemologies, namely different ways of classifying and exhibiting works of art. What methodologies and what sources are available to those scholars seeking to ‘decenter’ collecting history? How do de-centered approaches force us to rethink definitions about collecting as a cultural activity? We invite proposals from scholars who see their research as lying beyond, and problematizing, more established topics in art history and the study of historical art markets. For instance, whilst much existing research has been focused on the dynamism of collecting in capital cities, we welcome research that rethinks the relationship between core and periphery, or considers the interplay between metropoles, provinces and spaces of colonial occupation. This panel seeks to showcase innovative new work which, by interrogating topics often pushed to the margins of collecting history, also challenges assumptions about what constitutes the ‘center’ of the field.

Guidelines for Proposal Submissions:

Please send the following material by September 1, 2021 to Stacey Pierson c/o and with the subject line: SocHistColl CAA 2022. Applicants will be notified by mid-September.

  • Individual paper abstract not to exceed 250 words describing the theme and scope of each paper;
    • Curriculum Vitae;
    • CAA member ID;
    • Contact information including address, phone, email.

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