CFP: The Art of Survivance

CFP: The Art of Survivance
Annual Conference of the College Art Association (CAA), February 12-15, 2014, Chicago
Chair: Sascha Scott, Syracuse University,

The concept of “survivance” is a powerful tool for thinking about cultural production by indigenous peoples. Proposed by Anishinaabe cultural theorist, Gerald Vizenor, survivance emphasizes survival through active resistance to oppressive forces. The concept thus provides a way to counter the historically pervasive idea that indigenous peoples have been passive survivors of colonial domination. Within the framework of survivance, “resistance” should not be understood as a purely negative reaction to colonial victimization. Indigenous resistance can involve cultural negotiation and can be a vehicle through which indigenous peoples claim their authority, autonomy, and sovereignty.

Survivance has been productively explored in literary theory, indigenous studies, museology, and anthropology, but has gained less traction in art history. This panel seeks to explore the ways in which survivance can be used to understand the production, consumption, collection, exhibition, and circulation of visual media and objects created by indigenous artists. Of central interest are discussions of indigenous people who have strived to maintain their cultural traditions in the face of imperialism in its varied forms—colonization, political oppression, cultural appropriation and exploitation, etc. Papers are welcome that address indigenous visual and material culture from contact through the present. Scholars from a range of disciplines are encouraged to submit proposals, as are practicing artists.

Philip J. Deloria will be the discussant for this session.

Please send abstract, recent CV, and CAA conference application to Sascha Scott ( by May 6, 2013.

CAA individual membership is required of all participants. For more information, visit: