The Society of Contemporary Art Historians (SCAH) aims to foster strong scholarship and promote collegiality within the vital field of contemporary art history. Major initiatives include a standing panel at the College Art Association annual conference, Regional Groups, mentoring and career development, The Syllabus Project, the Foreign Language Index (FLI) and the distribution of relevant information through the Society’s website and listserv. SCAH was founded in 2007 as an affiliate society of the College Art Association.

Visit our Resources page for more information on our initiatives and community resources. 

Ready to join? Visit our Membership page.

︎2015 Report on the Society of Contemporary Art Historians

Google Group Membership

The SCAH Google Group is designed for SCAH members to interact with one another, ask questions, debate pressing issues, problem-solve, share resources, and discuss Society business. We hope that you will find it a useful and inspiring tool for connecting with fellow contemporary art historians.

Note that although this forum is managed through Google Groups, once you’ve signed up you can access it entirely through your email, similar to a Listserv.

To join, fill out this Google Form. The form will ask for your preferred email address,which will connect your membership to your existing account. If this address is not a Gmail, you will need to associate that address with a Google account. These help pages can assist you with signing up for a Google account.

Once you’ve signed up and our Communications moderator, Sarah, has added you to the Group, you’ll find the Society of Contemporary Art Historians group under “My Groups” in your Google Groups. Further instructions on posting to the group can be found at the top of the group’s page, including how to initiate and respond to threads through your email without having to return to Google Groups.
SCAH Panel for CAA Conference 2024 

Fugitive Ecologies in Contemporary Art

Chair: Allison Young, LSU

Saturday, February 17, 2024 • 3:30–5 PM
Hilton Chicago • 8th Floor – Lake Ontario

For historian Sarah L. Lincoln, the term “fugitive ecology” describes a range of subaltern relationships to the land, soil, and planet enacted in response to conditions of alienation and dispossession. As she indicates, fugitivity not only suggests “modes of being, knowing, and acting on the run, perpetually mobile, lacking a legal or official relationship to place” but also “oppositionality to a system predicated on the ‘fixing’ of bodies.” Yet even under the duress caused by the tangible spatial violence of enslavement, apartheid, colonization, reservations, prisons or plantations, such transgressive practices of tending the earth have persisted as strategies of both resilience and care.

This panel asks how “fugitive ecologies” have been proposed or theorized by contemporary artists, particularly in the wake of climate catastrophe. It considers the many resonances of the “wake” offered by Christina Sharpe – as visible disturbance, as a view towards the past, as openness of mind, or care in mourning – which are made manifest amidst present ecological breakdown.

Responding to environmental crises of industrial, nuclear, and colonial origin, artists have served as documentarians and activists, gardeners and radical botanists, and community archivists. What possibilities for decolonizing our relationship to nature are envisioned or demonstrated in contemporary art? How have artists drawn from alternative, Indigenous and subaltern onto-epistemologies when engaging with natural materials or landscape representations? How have artists responded to the collapse of world systems in the wake of the recent pandemic - alongside calls to action on the fronts of climate change and social justice? 


Invasive Species: Nonbelonging and Utopia in Flaka Haliti’s ‘Maybe I Ate It?’ • Andrew Hennlich

Distance and Risk: Chim↑Pom & Finger Pointing Worker • Jason Waite, University of Oxford

Shadow Worlds: Plotting Alternative Futures for the Earth • Kate Keohane, University of Oxford

How to Improve the World Through Vulnerable Listening • Brianne Cohen, University of Colorado at Boulder 



Google Group
Talk with other SCAH members. 

Become an active member of the SCAH community. 

Regional Groups
Find a SCAH group near you.

Programs and Initiatives

Upcoming Events
Meet and talk with SCAH members and visitors.

Annual Panel @ CAA
Information about past and future SCAH panels. 

The Syllabus Project
An evolving archive of contemporary art history syllabi.

Foreign Language Index
A collection of recent foreign-language scholarship on contemporary art. 

Recent recordings of SCAH events. 

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Regional Groups

Washington, D.C.
Valeria Federici

Katie Anania

Christopher Bennett

Johanna Gosse

New York
Dominik Izdebski

Southern California H.C. Arnold
SCAH Regional Groups convene scholars, curators, artists, and arts professionals from diverse institutions who are invested in the study of the history of contemporary art. These groups aim to support the specific interests of scholars of contemporary art history while contributing to the organization’s overarching mission: to promote knowledge of contemporary art history and visual culture through facilitation of discussion groups, presentations of works in progress, and the active encouragement of research among its members.

We aim to connect scholars of contemporary art history across institutions in order to help them collectively identify, assess, and negotiate key issues facing their work and lives. These groups liaise with larger organizational bodies including the SCAH Executive Board and the College Art Association in order to address the specific interests and challenges of scholars of contemporary art history.

Current Regional Group projects include organizing reading groups and discussions, behind-the-scenes tours, gathering and sharing online resources, and holding regular meetings to discuss topics such as professionization, publishing, the job search, and tenure processes. Through these activities, SCAH endeavors to create robust local communities around the critical study of contemporary art history and cultivate active and resource-rich networks of and for scholars, teachers, and museum professionals.

If you are interested in launching or leading a SCAH Regional Group, please contact a member of our Executive Board.