Call for Papers: The Global GDR–A Trans-Cultural History of Art (1949-1990)

Time/Place of the Conference: February 24-26, 2022, Technical University, Dresden (TU Dresden). The international and interdisciplinary conference “The Global GDR – A Transcultural History of Art (1949-1990)” is dedicated to a chapter in the history of art in Eastern Europe that has received little attention up until now, the manifold connections, in the field of art, between the GDR and socialist countries outside of the Eastern Bloc, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These relations manifested themselves in artists’ trips and in reciprocal study visits; in exhibitions of East German art abroad as well as of non-European art in the GDR; in artistic representations of the “foreign” and in various primitivisms, all of which the conference seeks to examine critically. Furthermore, the planned conference weighs in on the current international debate about the restitution pf artworks and situates this debate historically in the power struggles of the Cold War. As a first, the conference brings together existing research into the German-speaking world with perspectives from outside of that world. The event will have the following four main sections:

•    Foreign Cultural Policy and Intercultural Encounters

•    Transcultural Aesthetics of Socialism

•    Shared Spaces

•    Transnational networks and art institutions

In order to bridge the gap between scholarly discourse and tangible (but until now little known) artworks, the conference is organized in cooperation with the Academic Heritage of Technical University Dresden (TU) and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD). It will take place simultaneously with an introductory exhibition at the Albertinum section inside the SKD. The theme of the conference has high political relevance for the self-understanding of a post-socialist society. This is especially true in Dresden, where the debate about art in the GDR is being conducted with particular vigor. “The Global GDR” thus aims to provide a critical platform with the goal of negotiating existing narratives concerning art history, society, and politics from a transcultural perspective.

We are looking for early-career researchers (MA graduates, PhD students or Postdocs) who are conducting research on the aforementioned main topics or related questions on the “Global GDR” in the area of art history or visual studies, media, film and cultural studies, visual anthropology, or architectural history.

Please send an abstract of your contribution in either German or English (max. 500 words) and a short CV to: by October 1, 2021.