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Call for Papers

Build your scholarly pathway with us!

Each year, HASA calls for papers in the Fall term in preparation for our annual undergraduate research conference. Submitting your paper to HASA gives you the opportunity to present at our annual undergraduate research conference. With that, your paper will also be included in our annual release of our conference journal. 


The theme of this year’s undergraduate conference is

When Worlds End”.


Through art, we have seen the world end many times over, and with it comes a sense of foreboding and unease of a future unknown. Over millennia, humanity has shown itself to have a morbid fascination with tragedy, the inevitability of death, and the beauty of the eternally damned. It is this preoccupation with haunting thoughts that has prompted the most macabre imagery in the art historical canon. Artists have a unique ability to tap into our deepest anxieties and fears, prodding at questions that we wish to never know the answer to. In many ways, art allows us to seek solace in calamity; in personal, societal, and religious catastrophe. Thus, endings are more than mere conclusions—they nurture beginnings.

Submissions can broadly consider thematic relations across time, periods, or focus on particular artworks and/or artists and their stylistic form. One might discuss temporal relationships and breaks between periods, drawing upon historical events such as the Reformation, iconoclasm in the Low Countries, or the strife of the French Revolution. Endings can be explicitly told as illustrated by Death of Marat (1793) in which Jacques-Louis David transforms the death of the bloody revolutionary into that of a Christian martyr. Endings can be an internal experience; the ending of a private world. One may choose to draw upon artists such as Vincent van Gogh or Francisco Goya, famed for the works in which they produced in periods of personal crisis. The ending of worlds can be expressed through natural disasters, such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its fatality, Pompeii.

Art as a medium provides us with modalities, both visual and sensory, to unpack and understand our fragility. Throughout history, artists have grappled with the horrors of war. Zdzisław Beksiński was no stranger to this; his ghastly paintings depict scenes of decay, deformed bodies, and obliterated landscapes in a sombre, muted palette. Likewise, impending the outbreak of World War II, Max Ernst’s Europe After the Rain II (1940) is an attempt to accept a collapsed civilization. Over historical periods and artistic movements, artists have illustrated the definitive nature of conclusions, however, there is never a final denouement provided by the very nature of art itself as a medium. Art exists beyond our demise. With that, we welcome… When Worlds End.

Questions to consider: How have artistic traditions accommodated end-of-the-world imagery? How have artists and movements responded to catastrophic events? Where do religion, mythology, and belief figure into the symbolic and artistic representations of end-of-the-world imagery? How have contemporary artists responded to and interacted with current events?

Our intention is to explore the theme of endings, their representations over time, and how this imagery has changed to accommodate evolving societies and civilizations. The notion of endings broadly implies a beginning, an unending cycle of creation, destruction, and recreation. Our hope for this theme is not only to explore all things pertaining to endings, but to expand our understanding of what an ending can be. We invite the submission of papers that explore topics relating to this theme. Ideas may include:

  • Depictions of death, rebirth, or the afterlife and its artistic conventions

  • Ends of civilization and cataclysmic events

  • Apotropaism

  • Art, artists, and movements at the turn of the century

  • Iconoclasm and the Reformation

  • Revolution, invasion, and the Crusades

  • Plagues, pandemics, or pestilence

  • Responses to war and man-made disaster

  • Internal endings and insight into the mind of the artist

  • Explorations of life, meaning, and purpose

  • Contemporary, modern, and classical representations of endings

This symposium aims to create a supportive environment in which undergraduate art historians can challenge their fields of interest and explore research as a community. We ask for papers that show a high degree of independent thinking and that may discuss any period in the art-historical timeline. We welcome papers that take religious and/or historical approaches just as much as those that explore the theme in a literal and/or postmodern framework.


We invite papers ranging from approximately 1,500–2,500 words (not including footnotes and bibliography) on an issue related to the symposium theme. Longer papers can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Papers can be excerpts from larger works or separate independent pieces but must have a strong thesis and be well supported with primary and secondary material. Papers will be published in Chicago style, so it is strongly encouraged that your submission conforms to this from the beginning. Interested students must submit their full paper and include a brief abstract (max. 250 words) to this form ( by 11:59 pm on Friday, January 13th, 2023.


On your title page, you should include your name, institution, year of study, paper’s title (or working title), course or supervisor, the grade received, and the approximate length of the paper, followed by your abstract. Everything should be in a single attachment as a document or pdf file.


Our final selection of papers will be decided by Sunday, January 16th, 2023 and authors will be notified by the end of that week.

This symposium will be hosted in person on Saturday, March 18th, 2023. If you do not reasonably expect to be able to present at the symposium on this date, please refrain from submitting.

We will be creating an open-access Ebook available for download. A full program will be available and emailed to the speakers once decisions have been finalised. It will also be posted on our website:

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to connect with us at

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