Session at the 108th College Art Association of America Annual Conference

Kirsten Scheid, and Todd B. Porterfield, New York University 

This session investigates artistic, critical, and historigraphic practices that make claims on home, an urgent and long-standing issue with disciplinary and international consequence. Movements to repatriate looted objects and claims to return exiled peoples sometimes suppose an integral bond to home. Opposed to the dispossessed and the transient, home sits on the side of possession, permanence, and immutability. Has it always been and must it be the case? What are the ethical stakes in starting histories of art with a given, preset home?

We seek papers on artistic and art historical practices from multiple perspectives. In both Lebanon and Algeria, as in "France-proper," for example, claims to be at home were made through art while impossible in other realms. More contemporary concerns interrogate artistic strategies that stand for home and signify at-homeness in currently colonized lands or sites of dispossession. How does art renew standing claims of affiliation with a "home audience" or broadcast new claims in an unfamiliar context? What formal strategies and economic arrangements effectuate home-making?

We know that art historians and curators have long deemed origin and provenance as essential markers and determinants of character, meaning, and value. How do those points of claimed origin fix notions of identity and presumptions of belonging? Does one start Vietnamese or Palestinian art history with the pre-colonial "lost homeland" or with the later exchanges that articulated the right to the homeland? The recent flux in discourses around home-lands offers an opportunity to reevaluate art narratives, vocabularies, and methodologies.