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Call for Proposals: Different Vision Journal, ‘Social Sculpture in the Middle Ages’, Deadline October 1, 2023

Published September 21, 2023

Different Vision Journal 

Issue: Social Sculpture in the Middle Ages

Deadline: October 1, 2023

Proposal Length: 300 Words


Submit to:


This special issue of Different Visions seeks to address the methodological unity between sensory experience, reader response, and performance studies through the paradigm of “social sculpture.” Since Joseph Beuys introduced the term “social sculpture” in the late 1960s, contemporary art historians have investigated the potentialities of bodies-as-sculpture to shape social communities and identity through performance. Beuys’ expanded definition of artistic creativity no longer limited art to the creation of tangible objects; instead, the social realm became a stage for embodied performance that actively required the participation of its audience for its completion.

This methodological approach has the potential to usher medieval studies outside the archive and into the embodied repertoire, yet social sculpture has never been explored within the context of medieval art history. For medieval art historians, social sculpture can provide a paradigm to rethink our approach to medieval materials, documents, and objects by reframing these extant materials as only one actor within the greater collage of embodied participation that shaped medieval religious, political, and social communities.

We seek to open this relatively new field of study through a diverse and interdisciplinary special issue incorporating scholars’ work across the medieval world (broadly defined). As an online, open-access journal, Different Visions accommodates dynamic and interactive media. We invite submissions that include digital content such as video and audio clips or three-dimensional models.

Paper proposals should consider the intersections between embodied action and material culture, including but not limited to:

  • Participatory objects, performance, and spectacle
  • The role of the sculpted body-in-space in structuring religious and civic ritual
  • Animated images and automata
  • The migration and performative uses of portable objects along pilgrimage, procession, and trade routes
  • The various publics of medieval social sculpture
  • The representation and/or interaction of the body with ephemeral or recyclable materials, such as votive offerings in shrine space(s) and on cult objects
  • Delimiting premodern racial and religious communities through public oaths and acts of conversion
  • Manipulation of the body in penitential and confessory settings

Different Visions believes that peer review should be an open, productive, and reciprocal process. Submissions are reviewed by the editors, and then sent to external reviewers. The first stage of the external review will be double blind. Following the first review, author and reviewer(s) are invited to communicate and collaborate during the remaining review process.

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words to by October 1, 2023. First drafts of accepted essays of approximately 10,000 words will be due in Fall 2024.

For questions please reach out to

You may also reach out to the special issue editors:
Kris Racaniello at
Ariela Algaze at