The William Morris Society in the US is seeking participation for its upcoming CAA 2023 session, “Rethinking Craft: Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Decolonization.”

This session is scheduled to take place in person at the conference venue in New York City between February 15th and 18th, 2023 (exact date and time to be announced).

Proposals are accepted between July 21- August 31, 2022. Submission information and additional key dates can be found on the CAA website.


Session Details

For centuries, craft has been set apart from the Eurocentric and academic sphere of the fine arts. Likewise, people who craft have often been marginalized in society. With this history in mind, how is the practice of craft implicated in discourses of colonialism? Where do the histories of craft and social justice movements overlap and diverge? What is the role of craft in postcolonial theory? How has craftivism contributed to processes of decolonization?


Drawing inspiration from William Morris’s roles as a craftsman and social activist, this session responds to recent and ongoing activism to decolonize the discipline of art history. We invite papers that critically examine the topic of craft in relation to colonialism, imperialism, postcolonialism, and decolonization. How are the violent histories of colonialism and imperialism interwoven with the appearance, production, marketing, collection, display, and/or study of crafted objects? How do concepts such as the handmade and the industrial intersect with the histories of colonization and decolonization? How do craft practices and production methods challenge or reinforce the imbalance of power that results from colonialism or imperialism? In what ways have artistic techniques and media been impacted by global interactions? When and why has cross-cultural collaboration, inspiration, and/or appropriation occurred?


We welcome submissions that engage with these or other related questions. Proposals focused on historiographic and theoretical questions are encouraged. Presenters may engage with craft in any period, geographic region, or medium.