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Workshop: Art, Perception and History
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5/5/2017 to 5/6/2017
When: May 5-6, 2017
9:00 AM
Where: University of Toronto
27 King's College Circle
Toronto, Ontario  M5S 1A1
Contact: Sonia Sedivy

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The American Society for Aesthetics Board of Trustees has approved support for the Workshop on Art, Perception, and History, at the University of Toronto, May 5-6, 2017. The Workshop is organized by Sonia Sedivy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto.

ASA has awarded up to $4,600 in support, plus an additional $1000 to support attendance at the Workshop by ASA student members. Support is also being provided by several units of the University of Toronto. The workshop is free and open to the public.


NEW! Poster for the Workshop

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 31: Graduate Student Travel Grants

Graduate students are invited to apply for travel grants of up to $350 to help with the costs of attending the workshop. About 3 or 4 grants will be available. (Students must be members of the ASA to apply; your student membership of $35 can be submitted to ASA when you apply.)

The application should consist of a cv, and a brief statement (500-750 words) that explains your interest in the topics of the workshop and how the workshop would fit into your program of study.  One letter of reference is  encouraged but not required. Please include a statement of your anticipated travel and accommodation costs.

Please send your application to the organizer, Sonia Sedivy  by March 31, 2017.


COMING SOON: Schedule of events

Speakers at the workshop will include:

From Art History

  • Whitney Davis, University of California, Berkeley, Art History
  • Jason Gaiger, University of Oxford, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art
  • Amy Powell, University of California, Irvine, Art History
  • Paul G. Smith, University of Warwick, History of Art

From Philosophy of Art or Perception
  • Diarmuid Costello, philosophy, University of Warwick
  • Robert Hopkins, New York University, Philosophy
  • Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp, Centre for Philosophical Psychology
  • Belinda Piercy, University of Toronto, Philosophy, Ph.D. 2016.
  • Sonia Sedivy, University of Toronto, Philosophy

  • Kendall L. Walton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Philosophy

The workshop will focus on the way that works of art and visual culture are poised at the intersection of history and perception. Such works are imbued with their historical situation and with historical relationship to other works. Yet for the most part, it is through their perceptible properties that they have their impact.

To explore this nexus, the workshop aims to bring together art historians with two sub-disciplines from philosophy – philosophy of perception as well as aesthetics. While art historians and philosophers of art have collaborated to some extent, bringing philosophers of perception explicitly into the mix is a recent development. The objective of the workshop is to initiate fully three-way collaborative research between art historians, philosophers of art and aesthetics, and philosophers of perception.

The main goal of the workshop is to create bridges between these three fields of study to produce integrated, multi-dimensional research into works of art and visual culture. A small intensive workshop is ideal for discussing methodological differences, for sharing knowledge and for facilitating shared language.

The workshop will address a number of questions of broad interest to which art historians and philosophers of art and perception have turned their attention. For example:

1. How are historical developments made perceptibly manifest in artworks and non-art pictures more broadly, including photographs?

2. What is aesthetic value? How can such value be both historically contingent and perceptual in nature?

3. How do pictures work? How do diverse kinds of pictorial vehicles make contents available?

4. What is distinctive about photographs?

5. What makes properties aesthetic and when is perceptual experience aesthetic? 

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