CfP: Concepts of Sacred Spaces in Architecture and its Description in Literature from Early Modern Times to the Present. Zurich, 17-18 November 2020

Call for Papers: Concepts of Sacred Spaces in Architecture and its Description in Literature from Early Modern Times to the Present. Zurich, 17-18 November 2020

Sixth Biennial International Conference “A Dialogue of the Arts”

The biennial international conference “A Dialogue of the Arts”, pursues a long-term vision including Early Modern Times up to the present and including all places. It explores the possibilities of widening and enriching the methods of the history of art. The five conferences from 2010 to 2018 dealt with “Descriptions of Architecture in Literature from Early Modern Times to the Present”, first in a general way (2010), then focusing on “Descriptions of Interior Design” (2012), “The Relationship of Exterior and Interior” (2014) and “Reinterpreting Architecture and its Description in Literature” (2016) and finally “The Spatial Turn in Architecture” (2018).
The sixth conference will take place from 17th to 18th November 2020 and is devoted to “Concepts of Sacred Spaces in Architecture and its Description in Literature from Early Modern Times to the Present”.
Larry E. Shiner stated, “if we begin with a sacred/profane or religious/secular dichotomy every piece of evidence tends to get polarized from the beginning and we end up with artificial paradoxes. On the other hand, if we begin with the concept of human spatiality, of lived space with its fundamentally heterogeneous, oriented and meaningful organization, we can accommodate the kinds of extreme phenomena for which the concepts of sacred and profane space were developed without distorting the phenomena which lie between these poles.” (Larry E. Shiner: Sacred Space, Profane Space, Human Space, in: Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 40 (1972), 425–436).
The aim of the sixth International Conference “A Dialogue of the Arts” is to question phenomena “which lie between these poles” of sacred and profane space, and this by relying on literature of different languages from Early Modern Times to the present. The past five conferences have shown that literary descriptions of different times and languages are a witness of the time in which they are written: on the one hand they are an important contribution for understanding the development of methods in art history, on the other hand they can disclose new interdisciplinary dialogues. The presentations and the subsequent publication of the peer reviewed papers of the foregoing conferences have shown clearly that literary texts of different genres like prose, poetry, travelogues, diaries as well as letters and other categories are door-openers not only for new art historical perceptions, but can also give hints to new methods for the discipline. This means not only the breaking up of the periodical conception of art history, but also the architectural and spatial categories which define it. Therefore, the conference is looking for papers showing new perspectives for the discipline, which will make it possible to engage and continue new dialogues for the different shifts of time and genres. The conference organizers particularly encourage the submission of proposals that crosscut cultural contexts, present diachronic perspectives or establish relationships between different research
areas. Furthermore, junior researchers are encouraged to submit to this CfP.
Submissions for a 30-minute presentation to the Scientific Committee should be sent by email to with “CFP Dialogue of the Arts 2016” as subject message. Deadline for proposals : 30 April 2020. The abstracts should include title and a maximum of 500 words; the abstract must be accompanied by a different file with a curriculum vitae (maximum: 1 page), that must include personal identification elements, the submission title, academic affiliation and a selection of a maximum of 5 bibliographic references; notification of acceptance will be announced until 30 May 2020.
This Call for Papers, with more information about the conference, is also available here, in English and French.
Scientific committee:
Sabine Frommel, Prof. Dr. EPHE Paris-Sorbonne
Hubertus Günther, Prof. em. University of Zurich
Barbara von Orelli-Messerli, PD Dr., Private Docent University of Zurich

Share this post

News from the field

On the Traces of Misery

“Miserabilia” investigates spaces and spectres of misery in the imagination and reality of the contemporary Italian urban context. The main objective is the definition of tools for the recognition and investigation of the tangible and intangible manifestations of...