CFP: Co-opetition: Testing the Bounds of Cooperation and Competition

Sixteenth Century Society & Conference, 18-20 August, 2016

Bruges, Belgium

Sponsored by the Italian Art Society

Submission deadline: February 1, 2016

Organizer: Alexis Culotta, Professor of Art History, American Academy of Art 

John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern’s landmark 1944 publication, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior,introduced the world to the economic field of Game Theory and proposed the principle of co-opetition. Originally suggested as a method of interaction between businesses, the theory holds that when two competitive entities share congruent interests, working together to develop those shared characteristics will lead to a greater outcome than isolated efforts. This concept has been applied in earlier research to the working relationship between early sixteenth-century figures Raphael and Baldassarre Peruzzi in the negotiations of artistic and architectural commissions at the Roman Villa Chigi (known today as the Villa Farnesina). Though the two were inherent competitors, the visual record at the Villa Farnesina suggests that competition was tempered with collaboration to yield a striking series of visual narratives that today are recognized as a watershed moment in Roman artistic and architectural history.

This session aims to advance this initial exploration by inviting paper topics that work to apply this theory of co-opetition to the larger field of early sixteenth-century Italian artistic and architectural production as a nuanced engagement between the parameters of competition and cooperation, examining instances where normally competitive forces chose to work in tandem to achieve an ultimate artistic goal. Papers could trace this theme within a singular work that exhibits these tensions to a larger negotiation, for example, one that occurs between workshop participants or large-scale commissions. The goal of this session is to better elucidate this term in its applications to art and architecture and to assess more globally its validity in such applications to the working relationships of sixteenth-century figures.

Prospective participants should send a brief abstract (no more than 300 words) and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum in outline rather than narrative form) to the organizer by February 1st, 2016.

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