Call for Papers

UPDATE: We have extended our deadline for submissions through Friday, March 18, 2022. Please submit all required materials through the Google form linked below.

The University of California, Riverside’s Art History Graduate Student Association is pleased to announce its 11th Annual Conference, Visualizing Love and Death Across Cultures.

We are honored to host Dr. C. Ondine Chavoya, Professor of Art and Latina/o Studies at Williams College, as this year’s keynote speaker.

Love and death are both uniquely positioned as emotional events that significantly impact the human psyche, individually and collectively. Their distinct experiences are dictated by cultural customs and personal experience. Furthermore, developments in academia, such as the rise of phenomenology, the affective turn, and consciousness of non-Western ideologies, have changed how scholars analyze and relate to emotional stimuli. Love and death are prescient topics of contemplation, as COVID-19 has made mass death a global experience: communities engage in rituals of mourning, practice love through protest, and navigate companionship across digital media.

What can the arts tell us about contextual understandings of these two concepts, or how they often exist simultaneously, symbiotically or otherwise? These concepts call into question our ever-shifting relationship with emotions. Our understandings of these emotions, such as love and infatuation, or trauma and mourning, are dynamic. Love and death occupy a similar emotional space: both have the potential to be all-consuming, emotional, physical, restorative, or destructive. 

To explore the relationship between love and death within the field, art historians often employ an interdisciplinary approach, turning to queer studies, ethnic studies, and anthropology, among other disciplines. How do our religious customs, subjectivities, and ritual practices create a dialogue between love and death? This conference seeks to create a framework for discussion of what relationship love and death could hold by bringing together scholars working on one or both of these concepts. To that end, we call for papers that address art historical exploration of love and/or death, or their complex interplay across all geographic and chronological contexts. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Works which explore love and/or death in religious ritual, such as marriage, funerary rites, altars and shrines, etc.
  • The analysis of devotional objects as repositories of emotion.
  • Personal correspondence, textual expressions of emotion, and documents as records of feeling.
  • Works which deal with mass trauma, such as: war; epidemics/pandemics; persecution; natural disaster; etc.
  • Artistic practice as a labor of love.
  • Performance and ephemera.
  • Interactive artworks.
  • Analyses of various forms of love, including platonic, romantic, familial, etc,; as well as more taboo forms of love, including voyeurism, kink, passion and aggression, murderous love, and violence.
  • Sensory Experiences.
  • Collaborative artworks, artist networks, and collectives.
  • Archival practices, by artists, loved ones, or institutions.
  • Bio-Art, bodily attachments/consequences of love/death.
  • Relational Aesthetics.
  • Architecture and Landscape (tombs, homosocial spaces, monuments/memorials, gardens, etc.).
  • Phenomenological experience of artworks or spaces.
  • Conditions/concepts of love and death as they inform art historical or other scholarly writing, curatorial practices, collecting/display, or conservation.
  • Global and/or racial capitalism and other issues around globalization as they affect interpersonal relationships.
    • The commodification of bodies and death.
  • Artworks which deal with questions of identity, including gender, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. 

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for 20-minute paper presentations. Proposals from graduate students in any discipline will be considered, including Art, Art History, Anthropology, Literature, Dance Studies, Ethnic Studies, Global Studies, History, Media and Cultural Studies, Music, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and others. Selected speakers will be invited to share information related to their presentation on the conference website:

Please submit your abstract and CV via this Google form by Friday, March 18, 2022. Contact us at with any questions.

The conference will be held both in-person and virtually on Saturday, May 21, 2022, from 9:00am – 4:30pm. Please visit our website,, for more information.

The conference is free and open to the public.