The Mary L. Cornille (GRS’87) Annual Boston University Graduate Symposium in
the History of Art & Architecture

Submissions due: January 5, 2022
Symposium dates: April 1-2, 2022 via Zoom


The Mary L. Cornille (GRS’87) 38th Annual Boston University Graduate Symposium in the History of Art & Architecture invites submissions considering or responding to the role of the water in shaping the production of visual and material culture.

Water has long occupied a place in art and image making, as subject matter, artistic inspiration, and as a source for materials. The universality of water serves as a useful framework for uniting visual and material production across cultures, geographies, and centuries. Its innumerable and perpetually-changing forms can also serve to highlight differences. Bodies of water provide food, materials, commodities, and waste disposal for human communities. They also function as spaces of transit, connection, exploration, and trade, and sites of religious observance and social identity. Water and water bodies are a source of mystery, myth, and danger. The challenges posed to humans by both too much and too little water continue today. Expanding scholarship in the green and blue humanities considers the relationship between human cultural and visual production and non-human natural forces. Considerations of connections between the blue world and its presence in art and visual culture deepen our understanding between humans and their environs.

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to, the following: climate change; ecocriticism; the ocean; ships; maritime trade; exploration; shipwrecks; sea creatures and monsters; sea mythology; shells; migration & forced migration; underwater archaeology; water-based media; bathing; water rituals; water damage; collecting and containing water and marine species; diving; the shore; beach combing and natural history; leisure and recreation; transnationality; submergence; underwater exploration; cleanliness; aquatic life; horizons; indigenous knowledge.

We welcome submissions from graduate students at all stages of study, from any area of study.

Papers must be original and previously unpublished. Please send an abstract (300 words or fewer), a paper title, and a CV to The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2021. Selected speakers will be notified by early February. Papers should be 15 minutes in length and will be followed by a question and answer session.

The symposium will be held virtually on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, 2022, with a keynote lecture by Dr. Stacy L. Kamehiro, Associate Professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department, University of California Santa Cruz.


This event is generously sponsored by Mary L. Cornille (GRS’87)