La Salle University Art Museum
Online Exhibitions


Call for Papers


Through the centuries, art has played an ongoing role in social change—sometimes as a direct catalyst, and other times as a subtle or subversive stimulus, in transforming social environments and viewpoints. Art has reflected, reinforced and participated in changes in many areas of cultural production, including politics, economics and religion. Art has also had an impact on cultural interaction and public perception of class, gender, race and difference. The history of art is replete with examples of how artists and patrons have used art to promote and even rewrite institutional and personal narratives, influencing public interpretation of the past and the present. Art has also been reactive to dominant forces and trends, and has been used to express supportive as well as oppositional stances. Art has created ripples at the very core of societies, and waves along the periphery which have washed inward and across cultures to create both temporary and enduring changes.

We are seeking scholarly essays (3,000-6,000 words) for an edited book on the subject of art and social change. The book will focus on Western art from the Renaissance to about 1950 (after which artists-activists and art for social change become important themes—and the focus of numerous other recent books). Scholarly essays should address some aspect of the subject and should ideally engage with one or more artworks in the collection of La Salle University Art Museum. (See for images of artworks on display; detailed lists of artworks in storage are also available on request.) Possible essay topics might include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Portraiture, Identity, and Issues of Class, Gender, and Race
  • Religious Imagery and Changing Devotional Practices
  • Revivals of Classical and other Historical Styles/Content
  • Pilgrimages and Travel to Worship, Learn and Experience
  • Art about Marginality, Social Inclusion/Exclusion, and Social Justice
  • Imperialism, Colonization, Cultural Appropriation and Indigenous Rights
  • Art and Cultural Influences/Exchanges between the West and the Wider World

The proposed volume furthers Lasallian educational objectives which hold that an individual’s experience of original artworks, and knowledge about the changing contexts of cultural production and interpretation, contribute to personal, spiritual, and social growth.

We welcome proposals from established scholars, recent Ph.D. recipients, upper level graduate students and museum professionals. The deadline for submission of abstracts (300-600 words) is June 30, 2014, with notification by August 30, 2014. The deadline for completed essays is January 30, 2015, with peer reviews taking place in early spring 2015. The book will be published by La Salle University Art Museum in a limited print run, with additional print-on-demand copies available for purchase through online retailers.

Please direct proposals and inquiries to the editors:

Susan Dixon, Ph.D., Chair/Assoc. Prof., Art History, La Salle University Dept. of Fine Arts,

Klare Scarborough, Ph.D., Director/Chief Curator, La Salle University Art Museum,