CFP: From Centre to Periphery: Collecting Chinese Objects in Comparative Perspectives

Date of event:   30/03/2019 − 30/03/2019

Symposium: From Centre to Periphery: Collecting Chinese Objects in Comparative Perspectives

Date: September 19 – 22, 2019
Venue: Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Ljubljana

Deadline for submissions: March 30, 2019
Notification of acceptance: April 30, 2019


While most studies related to individual collections and objects of East Asian origin are based on analysis of collections and objects mostly located in Western Europe and North America, examination of these types of materials in Central and particularly Eastern Europe remains very limited in scope, thus leaving significant questions unresearched. The reference works of various authors, discussing collecting ideologies and practices in Western Europe, mostly point to the reinterpretation of Eurocentric frameworks and colonial categories of collectorship in connection with orientalist discourses. By including the colonial/imperial peripheries into the investigation of the global exchange market between East Asia and Europe or North America, the in-depth analyses of collecting history in until now fairly overlooked regions – would not only fill in the gaps in the history of collecting but also open current views to re-examination.

The symposium From Centre to Periphery: Collecting Chinese Objects in Comparative Perspectives is conceived as a response to the challenge of situating the history of the collecting of Chinese and other East Asian objects and of their cultural connotations in the global context by drawing the attention to the collections in Central and Eastern Europe and their interconnection with the major collections in larger centres.

It is organized as a part of the research project East Asian collections in Slovenia, supported by the Slovenian Research Agency, and will feature a number of invited participants, including the keynote speakers Stacey Pierson, a Senior Lecturer in the department of the History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS) and Hans Bjarne Thomsen, a Professor and Chair for East Asian Art History at the Institute of Art History (University of Zürich). In order to deepen the discussion on the outlined issue, we are opening up the symposium to further presentations. We particularly welcome papers on one or more of the following aspects:

a)  Collecting practices of Chinese objects in the Eastern and Central European region;

b)  The exchange of objects in its multilayered, temporal and spatial connotations;

c)  The formation and development of museum collections;

d)  Re-examination of the Eurocentric frameworks and colonial categories of collecting practices;

e)  Re-examination of the existing museum taxonomies;

f)  Museum representations of China and East Asia and the issue of representativeness of individual museum objects;

g)  Comparative perspective of collecting Chinese objects with regard to the practices of collecting other East Asian objects and materials.

Abstract proposals (max. 250 words) together with a short CV (max. 3 sentences), title, affiliation, and contact information (address, telephone number, e-mail) should be sent to by March 30, 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be out by April 30, 2019. A peer-reviewed, symposium volume is planned for publication in 2020. The deadline for the publishable papers is November 30, 2019.

Organizing committee:

Ralf Čeplak Mencin (Slovene Ethnographic Museum), Helena Motoh (Science and Research Centre Koper), Nataša Vampelj Suhadolnik (University of Ljubljana), Maja Veselič (University of Ljubljana)

Please see the Call for Papers in PDF here.