Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture

Contemporaneity is an open access journal that publishes scholarly and artistic explorations of how the complexities of being in the world have found visual form throughout time. Based in the department of the History of Art & Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, and emerges from its innovative constellations program. We publish question-driven research that resonates across disciplines, interrogating diverse visual material from across time using multiple methods. Our editorial board seeks to:

  • Adhere to high publishing standards that preserve the integrity of scholarship

  • Bring junior and senior scholars and editors together through a constructive, double-blind peer-review process

  • Generate content of lasting intellectual interest to emerging and tenured scholars

  • Provide a forum for junior and senior scholars to develop under-researched topics and experimental methodological approaches

  • Make scholarly writing free and accessible online

  • Lead critical discussions around current publications and developments in curatorial and artistic practice in flexible formats.

  • Link art historical practice to a global discussion of visual cultures across disciplinary and methodological boundaries.

  • Encourage non-traditional formats

Current Open Calls:


Volume 8 CALL FOR PAPERS!: Yesterday’s Contemporaneity: Finding Temporality in the Past

CFP: “Yesterday’s Contemporaneity: Finding Temporality in the Past” 

In recent decades, art historians have explored how communities in the global past understood their own positions in time. For example, Marvin Trachtenberg has made the case that twelfth- and thirteenth-century European architecture articulated a form of medieval modernism. Conversely, Paul Binski argued the same material could be understood as not only innovative but also firmly historicist in nature. Studies of eschatology in artworks ranging from Renaissance wall paintings in Italy to Pure Land Buddhist Mandalas in Japan have highlighted how people in the past used theology to conceptualize their own place in time in the face of an uncertain but infinite future beyond their own deaths. Meanwhile, studies of the visual cultures that emerged under different eras of imperialism and colonialism have illuminated how local and foreign definitions of time, history, and contemporaneity could directly shape the identities of both conquered and conquering peoples.

Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture asks what it means to be in time. The term “contemporaneity” is often invoked in reference to the current lives of citizens of today’s world. Volume 8 seeks to publish examinations of contemporaneity across a wider variety of historical contexts. The aim is to uncover how cultures throughout the global past have negotiated temporalities, modernities, and historicisms, to come to terms with what it means to be present in their own moment. How can both history and modernity be visualized, contextualized, or conceptualized to create a sense of contemporaneity? How have institutions created temporalities for the cultures they study, and how can a historical object or space shape perceptions of a culture’s identity or agency? What is at stake in defining a work of art’s place in time?

Submissions on all topics will be considered. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

-modernism, medievalism, and historicism

-modernity and history in a global context

-anachronisms, futurisms, and revisionist histories

-Orientalism and other uses of the temporal in cross-cultural exchange

-spoliation, re-use, and/or appropriation

-museums, the ethics of collecting and “Grand narratives”

-traditional or historical art and crafts and the preservation of style

-contemporary interventions on historical objects or sites

-creation myths, apocalypses, beginnings and end times

The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2018. Manuscripts (circa 6,000 words) should include an abstract, 3-5 keywords, and adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style. To make a submission, visit, click Register and create an Author profile to get started. Proposals for book and exhibition reviews, interviews, or other scholarly contributions will also be considered, and we recognize that these submissions may take many forms. 

Proposals and questions can be directed to the editors at


Download Vol. 7 today