Online Symposium: ‘Avant-Grades/Contagion/Hygiene’, University of Glasgow, 26 November 2021

We are excited to invite you to an upcoming symposium, the title of which is Avant-Gardes / Contagion / Hygiene, hosted online by the University of Glasgow on the 26th of November 2021.  

This interdisciplinary event brings together scholars in the fields of art history, theatre, visual culture, and literature to explore intersections and interactions, dating from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, between the artistic avant-garde and themes of health and hygiene, such as illness, contagion, cleanliness, and contamination.

Whilst the ongoing covid-19 pandemic has brought these themes – as well as the complex and highly charged discursive field they inhabit – to the fore of popular and political discourse, they have always been central to debates around processes of modernisation.

Examining the artistic oeuvres of some of the great names of modern art – Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, George Orwell, Marcel Duchamp, Antonin Artaud, et al. – the symposium investigates instances where the heightened political, social, and cultural currencies embedded within such hygienic issues have been mobilised, and subversively exploited, to fuel the critical strategy at play.

As such, the symposium promotes an interdisciplinary and socio-historically contextualised understanding of the criticality of the avant-garde gesture and seeks to cultivate scholarship that moves beyond and transgresses the limits of traditional academic subjects to produce innovative and thought-provoking connections and interrelations across various fields.

Full Program with Abstracts


David Hopkins (Professor of Art History, University of Glasgow)

Anthea Callen (Professor of Art, Australian National University)

Fae Brauer (Professor of Art and Visual Culture, University of East London)

Carl Lavery (Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Glasgow)

Abigail Susik (Associate Professor of Art History, Willamette University)

Allison Morehead (Associate Professor of Art History, Queen’s University)

Alison Syme (Associate Professor of Modern Art History, University of Toronto)

Peter Fifield (Lecturer in Modern Literature, Birkbeck, University of London)

Disa Persson (Doctoral Researcher in Art History, University of Glasgow)


Please register for your free ticket now to receive updates and a link to the online event. 


Questions: Disa Persson /