Thursday, July 29, 2010

Update on the MCRS Graduate Conference

Dear Graduate Program Directors, Administrators, and Grad Students:

Following is an announcement for the Eighth Annual Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference. Please distribute this and the following CFP to any students who may be interested in submitting an abstract.
The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will host its annual graduate student conference on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Graduate students are invited to submit abstracts for a ten to fifteen minute paper on any range of topics or approaches to literature and history, including textual studies, performance history, philosophy, print culture, religious studies, gender studies, post-colonial interpretations, and other new theoretical perspectives. The purpose of the conference is to provide graduate students with an opportunity to share their work and place it in a greater context of interests and concerns. The conference is designed to foster conversation among students who share similar challenges and construct a space where participants may expect serious feedback on their work.

Please send an abstract of 250-300 words by email or email attachment to Gregory Sargent ( by Saturday, September 12, 2010. For more information on the conference, you can visit the website

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Jeff Dolven of Princeton University will be giving the keynote address. In addition to winning a Mellon/ACLS Fellowship for Junior Faculty, Prof. Dolven was honored with the Donald A. Stauffer Preceptorship at Princeton University. He has published on Spencer and Renaissance poetry and his book is called Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance from the University of Chicago Press.
We are organizing the conference to bring graduate students with similar interests together to share their work. Last year’s conference had an intimate feel with all participants able to view the other presentations. As before, we intend to divide the conference into several small panels, with ample time for discussion among peers, and we welcome the attendance of faculty from your department as well.

Thank you for your assistance and please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
Katey Roden
Gregory Sargent

Conference Organizers

"Perfect Harmony" and "melting strains." Music in Early Modern Culture between Sensibility and Abstraction

In Early Modern culture, philosophers, musicians, theologians, and poets grappled with the ambivalent nature of music. Music was perceived as a phenomenon occupying an ambiguous position between mathematical abstraction and sensual experience. In the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, music was understood as euphonic mathematics replicating the perfection and beauty of a transcendent cosmic order. At the same time, the emotive and physiological effects of actual musical experience proved it to be a sensuous phenomenon of insistent immediacy and affective power.

The conference “Perfect Harmony“ and “melting strains“ focuses on conceptualisations of music in Early Modern scientific, philosophical, theological, and literary discourse. It investigates the explanatory potential of these conceptualisations in the debate over natural philosophical questions in a time when ideas of universal harmony were being challenged by concepts of atomic chance and chaos.

We will also explore the debates in the new sciences, the arts, and theology concerning the intellectual and affective potential of music and the ways in which ideas about music and its affective power were utilized in theological, medical, and poetological contexts for moral and didactic purposes. In addition, the conference will focus on the philosophical, literary, and musical textualisations and dramatisations of the ideas about music and its nature as an emotionally effective sensual and aesthetic experience. These issues acquire a specific poignancy in the Early Modern context, as it is an era during which ancient musicological texts were being rediscovered and new musical genres such as the opera were being invented with reference to Classical dramatic forms.
From these general considerations follow a number of possible questions:
What modifications of traditional theorems can be traced in the Early Modern process of rediscovering ancient musicological texts? What meaning did these transformations acquire in the discourse on music in the Early Modern sciences, philosophy, and arts?
What purposes do musical models serve in medical and scientific thinking? How did the concept of universal harmony change in the context of emerging empiricism on the one hand, and Epicurean ideas of the world as a product of atomistic chance on the other? What were the alterations in the perception of music as a physical phenomenon and in the explanations of its physiological and psychological effects in contemporaneous natural philosophical debates? What configurations of seemingly antagonistic positions such as Early Modern Platonism and Epicureanism, or prevalent hermetic trends, can be observed in the discourse on music?

How did contemporaneous poetic texts stage and textualise concepts of music as well as musical experience? How did scientific, philosophical, and poetic language render perceptible the tension between aisthesis and transcendence? Which rhetorical means were employed in philosophical and literary texts to describe musical phenomena – the sound, the musicians, or the effects of music on the listener? What purposes did these musicalisations and their tropes serve with regard to the social, political, scientific, and poetological questions negotiated in these texts?

We look forward to receiving proposals on aspects of the topics sketched above from the perspective of a wide range of disciplines such as philosophy, the history of science, theology, literary and cultural studies and musicology. We particularly welcome proposals focusing on the Classical conceptions of music and its transformations from an Early Modern point of view. Papers should be given either in English or German.

Papers should be no longer than 30 minutes. If your are interested in presenting a paper, please submit a 150 word abstract to Cornelia Wilde ( ) before 15th September 2010.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

English Catholic Women's WRiting, 1660-1829

Special Issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature:
English Catholic Women Writers, 1660-1829

Proposals are sought for a special topics issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, which will focus on English Catholic women’s imaginative work as it was inflected by Catholicism or through self-identification with a Catholic minority culture during the long eighteenth century. Articles on eighteenth-century Catholic women from the British Isles, including exiled English women working abroad or in the colonies, are sought exploring topics including, though not limited to, the following: 1) the strategies English Catholic women used to express, promote, or protect their faith; 2) the intersections of gender and faith, particularly in the face of anti-Catholic polemic equating all Catholics with women or with the feminine; 3) women’s education; 4) the role of religious houses or religious orders within literary texts or as sites of literary or artistic production; 5) the reciprocal influence of Anglo-Catholic culture and Gothic literature; 6) Catholic women’s political engagement as Torries or Jacobites; 7) their literary, artistic, or political responses to the Catholicism of the Restoration Court, the Stuart kings, the Revolution of 1688, the Whig ascendancy, or Catholic emancipation; 8) their representation of English national history or English national identity; and 9) their participation in the minority press. Most of the essays will concentrate on women writers, but essays on other forms of women’s imaginative work, particularly the visual and domestic arts, are welcome.

All essays should be informed by the rich repository of recent work in early modern Catholic studies. Articles should not exceed 25 pages (6250 words) and should conform to the 15th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. All submissions should be in Microsoft Word. Initial queries and abstracts are encouraged, though final acceptance will be determined by the completed essay. Please send abstracts by June 1, 2011 and final submissions via e-mail by September 1, 2011 to both:

Anna Battigelli, English Department, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 (

Laura M. Stevens, Editor, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, English Department, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104 (

Shakespeare and the Arts of the Table

Shakespeare and the Arts of the Table

2011 Conference of the Société Française Shakespeare (March 17-19, 2011)

Arts of the table are not that far removed from performing arts. The table is a stage. It has its actors, its backstage, its sets, its props, its rules, its mises en scène, its lighting and musical effects. In English, “boards” can refer both to a table and a stage — both of which can indifferently be designated by “tréteaux” (trestles) in French. The early modern stage abundantly feeds on this spectacular and festive matter. Plays by Shakespeare or by his contemporaries, notably Heywood, Kyd, Marlowe, Lyly, Greene, Peele, Chapman, Marston or Dekker, teem with episodes where food, feeding and eating are staged and where the table appears as a place of creation, recreation and ostentation. From Titus’ bloody serving-up of dishes to the banquet whereby Timon literally makes his guests’ mouths water, through the trompe-l’œil feast conjured up by Ariel, Shakespeare presents cooking and eating rituals in all their musical, theatrical and visual artifice. “Shakespeare and the arts of the table” is an invitation to study early modern food culture, practices and discourses, to address the representation and aesthetics of both the table and the art of cookery, and to explore recipes, objects and utensils that give shape to the raw and the cooked.

“She makes hungry where most she satisfies”: Cleopatra, described as “a morsel for a monarch”, is changed through a gastronomic metaphor into a work of art whose meaning and taste are not exhausted in consumption but which feeds instead a pleasure that is endlessly renewed, generating desire that is consequently never satisfied. Foodstuffs must undergo transformation in order to become royal dainties whose meaning goes beyond mere physical necessity and pure instinct. Arts of the table refer not so much to food that satisfies as to food that leaves you hungry while being a source of sensual pleasures, be it for the hosts or the guests.

A study of Shakespeare and the arts of the table implies an exploration of the rules of hospitality and etiquette as well as of their transgression. The festive, civil table can become a table of torture. One should not only interrogate food stuffs but also table manners as they are taught in the numerous Renaissance treatises on civility and conduct and as they are staged and perverted in the plays. As was shown by Michel Jeanneret, arts of the table have to do with edibles but also with speakables and readables; they reconcile the stomach and the head by summoning the two functions of the mouth: eating and talking. In Shakespeare’s world, the arts of the table inevitably lead to the arts and pleasures of the tongue, to table talk and feasts of words.

Call for Papers
This appetizing theme is bound to provide food for thought and invite proposals which will enable us to draw up a mouth-watering menu.
Please send your proposals (title and 1/2 page abstract) by 30 September 2010 to:
Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin
Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l’âge Classique et les Lumières
UM 5186 du CNRS Université de Montpellier III Paul Valéry

Third Annual Graduate Student Conference in Early Cultures, "Interiority"

The Group for the Study of Early Cultures at the University of California, Irvine invites submissions for its Third Annual Graduate Student Conference:

Friday & Saturday, January 21-22, 2011
Keynote Address by Paul Strohm (Anna Garbedian Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University)
Our contemporary understanding of interiority is tied to a sense of domestic life, personal psychology, and the separation of public and private spheres, all which suggest a model of human existence and interaction that hinges on the delineation of what is ‘inside.’ This conference revitalizes notions of the interior in premodern contexts, ranging from the ancient era, through the medieval and early modern periods, and into the eighteenth century. We define “interiority” loosely as any terrain, such as conscience, mind, psyche, soul, or spirit, that positions itself within a subject. Given this openness, we invite papers across a variety of disciplines that investigate interiority in any of its manifestations—literary, historical, visual, dramatic, legal, spiritual, or philosophical—in early cultures. Fundamentally, we seek to question and mobilize the borders between the interior and exterior as vital spaces of containment and definition.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Religious Interiors: How do the concepts of the sacred and profane hinge on an inner life? Can spiritual interiors conflict with one another? Do dream visions and experiences of the sublime affectively challenge the delineation of the interior?

Interior Bodies: Are interior spaces altered in concert with new discourses of the body, disease, anatomy, and medical knowledge? Do seemingly ‘exterior’ changes in consumption practices (food, goods, clothing) rework internal awareness? How is queerness performed or experienced within premodern interiority?
Political Interiors: Through what means do royal, national, and local subjects construct interiorities? Does state power depend on constructing interiority in its subjects? How do indigenous and colonial tensions engage with sovereign interiority?

Textual Interiors: Do literary works contain interiorities through the incorporation of authorial voice, as in memoirs or confessions? Are new interiorities modified through translation?
Metaphorical Interiors: In what ways do material containers, such as chambers, closets, or caskets, stand in for psychic interiors? How do performed scenes gesture to, or create, a sense of interiority in their spatial configuration?

All interested graduate students, from any university and discipline, are welcome to submit a one-page abstract on any topic related to the self. For more information please visit the conference website at the Group for the Study of Early Cultures at
Deadline for abstracts: September 15, 2010

Please limit the length of abstracts to no more than 300 words. Send abstracts and CVs to

The Group for the Study of Early Cultures focuses mainly on fields that investigate pre-modern societies, including but not limited to: Classics, Late Antiquity, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, 18th Century Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Islamic Studies. We are also interested in a wide range of disciplinary approaches to Early Cultures, including literary studies, history, art history, drama, visual studies, sociology, culture studies, anthropology, political science, philosophy, and religious studies. For more information about our organization, please visit our website:

Shakespeare at Kalamazoo

Shakespeare at Kalamazoo is sponsoring two sessions at the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies, which will be held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, May 12-15, 2011; website: We welcome individual paper proposals for a session on “Shakespeare’s Middle Ages” and a session on “_Hamlet_: Pre-Texts, Texts, and After-Texts.” Please note that the Medieval Institute has rules governing participation in the Congress ( and for the submission of abstracts (; these must be followed.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words in MS Word or Rich Text Format, and the Participant Information Form, which is available on the Congress Web site, to Katy Stavreva, Department of English and Creative Writing, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA 52314, e-mail:, tel. 319-895-4255.
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is September 15, 2010. The final decision on the paper selection for the panels is to be submitted to the Medieval Institute by October 1, by which time you will be notified whether your submission has been accepted for presenting at the Congress.

Thank you for your attention to these various matters. The selection committee of Shakespeare at Kalamazoo is looking forward to reading your proposals.

Ludi Civitatis: the Church, the Court, and the Citizens

‘Civilization arises and unfolds in and as play’ (Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens). In civic entertainment, ‘play’ constitutes the primary formative element in human culture that affords and sustains common interest and amusement. Texts produced in the classical, medieval and the Renaissance periods document how the Church, the Court, and the citizens devise their ‘play’ in triumphal entries, court entertainment, civic festivals, religious rituals, processions, drama, music and dance.

But why does culture endlessly produce and consume entertainment? What are the motives that prompt people to create civic entertainment? How did civic entertainment and its effects resonate through manuscripts, print, economics, politics and the arts from the classical period to the Renaissance?

This year’s conference explores complex manifestations of ‘play’, aiming to look into ‘makers’ and consumers of civic entertainment in the city, the ‘common’ stage for cultural productions across the classical, medieval and Renaissance periods. TACMRS now invites proposals for papers on one of the following themes:
 The Church and religious ‘play’ in the city
 Court entertainment and the city
 Popular festivals in the civic space
 Playwrights and their ‘play’
 Artists and the performing arts

TACMRS provides an interdisciplinary forum for discussions and debates on the motives, performances, and effects of civic entertainment, and seeks to create dialogue between and across disciplines and periods. We would particularly encourage submissions with cross-cultural approaches, and on this premise welcome papers that reach beyond the traditional chronological and disciplinary borders of classical, medieval and Renaissance studies. The conference will be held on Oct 28 and 29. Please send your abstract and CV to by 28 December 2010.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Literary Allusion," seminar at ALSCW 2010

Seminar: "Literary Allusion"

To be convened by Joseph Pucci and Hannibal Hamlin at the ALSCW's 2010 meeting, 4-7 November, on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

Send proposals (or short papers) on or before 1 August 2010 to both conveners

Participants must be members of the ALSCW and registered for the conference before attending (see link below). Short papers will be circulated among all participants two weeks before the seminar. The papers should expressly, specifically examine practices of allusion or the explanation of allusions. Textual examples may represent any genre, region, period, tradition, or literary movement. Yet the discussion of such examples ideally should be informed by explicit theoretical reflection, on such questions as:
• What are allusions?
• What factors determine how allusions are received and understood?
• What can and should be made (or cannot and should not be) of inferences and assertions concerning a writer’s allusive intent?
• Is allusion is more fruitfully placed among poetic figures (for example, some have analyzed it as a kind of metaphor) or among metapoetic performative gestures?
• Why might a given allusion seem so significant to some people who love a text, yet so negligible to others?

For more on ALSCW and its 2010 meeting, see:

Troubling Subjects: Teaching Risky Texts

The Association for Bibliotherapy and Applied Literatures (ABAL) is pleased to announce a conference devoted to pedagogy: “Troubling Subjects: Teaching Risky Texts” to be held on April 27th-28th, 2011 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. While there has been a significant body of scholarship on trauma, testimony and witnessing in narratives, there has been less critical attention to the work of bringing these texts into the classroom. This conference will focus on circulating strategies to teach texts that take up troubling subjects; have the potential to elicit emotional, powerful or volatile responses; or that provoke responses that may reinforce rather than undo stereotypical representations. What teaching strategies have you developed for narratives that make vulnerable subjects their focus? How do you negotiate cross-cultural encounters between students and texts? What are the risks and what are your pedagogical tools to minimize those risks? If you have had trouble with a particular text, what happened and what have you learned from the experience? Are there some texts that we shouldn’t teach?

ABAL invites you to submit a proposal (300 words) for a workshop, paper (to be discussed rather than read), roundtable, performance or demonstration. Times allotted will be flexible, according to the presentation and format. In your proposal, please outline your presentation plan, any audio-visual and space needs, and your requested time allotment. The deadline for proposals is Friday, December 3rd, 2010.

Please submit proposals and a 50 word biography to Deanna Reder, Assistant Professor of First Nations Studies in English, Simon Fraser University. or Tara Hyland-Russell, Associate Professor of English, St. Mary’s University College.

Please note that "Memory, Mediation, Remediation: An International Conference on Memory in Literature and Film" will be held on April 28-30, 2011 at Wilfrid Laurier University. Participants will have the opportunity of attending both conferences for a combined registration fee.

New Approaches to Early Modern Historical Drama at NeMLA

2011 NEMLA Convention in New Brunswick, NJ, April 7-10, 2011. The history play has resisted attempts at definition. How are early modern history plays in conversation with historiography? Is re-telling English history substantively different from re-telling Roman history or continental history? Why was the genre so popular, and what triggered its decline? Who is represented in historical dramas, and who constitutes the “obscene” (offstage) persons of history? How do we reconcile a “Chronicle History of King Lear” with a “Tragedy of Richard II”? Is there something unique to historical drama that separates it from the popular historical poetry or fiction of the period? This panel welcomes submissions on any aspect of the historical drama of the early modern era, including studies of individual plays and playwrights. Abstracts are due no later than September 30, 2010, accompanied by a brief CV. Send submissions or inquiries to Miles Taylor,, or via post at Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse NY 13214.

Gendered Spaces in Medieval England

46th International Congress on Medieval Studies - Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI-- sponsored by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship

Women’s (and men’s) relation to the world is literally a reciprocity between body and space. Space and place largely controlled gender and social order in medieval through early modern England (and beyond). In turn, gender exercised considerable influence on the use and organization of space. “Status and gender were displayed physically and spatially every moment of the day, from a person’s place at table to the bed on which he or she slept,” from the boudoir to breweries, from convents to the alehouse, the garden to birthing ceremonies, even one’s place at the offertory of the mass. Yet, certain societal changes, including the growth of the market town, the migration of single women from country to town, single women taking jobs as household servants, women traveling --sometimes alone, as did Margery Kempe on occasion—began to affect the physical and symbolic barriers intended to control their access to economically and socially valued knowledge. On the other hand, was there “considerable gender overlap in the use of domestic space and in the authority that husbands and wives exercised both within the household and over access to it” as Amanda Flather (2007) argues? Did neighborhood networks have a way of co-opting private (and domestic) space into the public through neighbors helping each other or through local ties of kinship or habits of socializing? This session is particularly interested in how women occupied, negotiated, (re)defined, constituted, and mediated new meanings, new knowledge in the process of creating, transforming, contesting, disolving, (new) spaces during this period in England.

Possible topics of exploration include but are not limited to:
Domestic space
Rural and/or urban space
Pilgrimages and crossing boundaries
Sacred spaces (churches, chapels, sanctuaries)
Virtuous space
Public space
Professional space
Fictional (literary) spaces

Please send a 1- page (about 150 words) abstract, and a 2-pp. CV attachment to by 15 September 2010.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shakespearean Adaptations and Appropriations (Roundtable)

Shakespeare and his characters sell everything from fishing equipment to candy. Popular television shows and movies have been inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. This roundtable will explore the ways in which Shakespeare and his plays ‘appear’ in modern popular culture. Participants will consider how these appropriations and adaptations use Shakespeare and examine the impact of these variations in the modern world. For roundtable at NEMLA Conference, New Brunswick, NJ, April 7-10, 2011. Please send an proposal of 250 words to Pamela Monaco, Brandman University,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

(Okay, so this one isn't directly Renaissance-y, but it was such a great title that I couldn't resist reposting.)

Georgia State New Voices Conference 2010, October 7-9:
What makes us laugh? Why is humor such an important cross-cultural phenomenon and universal human trait? What are the genres of humor and comedy? Can postmodernism and critical theory be funny? How can we teach humor? What are the theories of laughter? How do we research and write about humor, comedy, laughter, wit, satire, and jokes across disciplines? How global is humor? What is the place of humor in academia and in popular culture?

The Georgia State New Voices 2010 conference is interested in an academic exploration of the role of humor in literature, rhetoric, and all its other myriad permutations. Interdisciplinary and collaborative submissions are not only welcomed, but encouraged, and we look forward to hearing from you all!
Abstracts should be limited to 500 words, and be submitted to by September 1, 2010.

Renaissance Trauma (NeMLA)

Renaissance Trauma

This panel seeks papers that explore the experience and/or representation of trauma in Early-Modern texts or of how Early-Modern cultural, religious, and political institutions dealt with trauma. Papers that look at trauma theory and its use in Early-Modern studies are also invited.

Papers might explore, but are not limited to the following issues:
-How trauma was experienced and represented in Early Modern literature and culture.
-How Early Modern cultural, religious, and political institutions dealt with trauma; Renaissance therapies
-Representations of mourning and melancholy
-How the current trauma theories of Cathy Caruth, Dominick LaCapra, Susan Brison, Judith Herman, and others might illuminate Early-Modern texts
-Whether the nomenclature and methods of trauma therapy should even be applied to Early-Modern experience
-How our understanding Early-Modern subjectivity might inflect our notions of therapeutic method
-Performing horror and secondary trauma in the theater
-The effects of plague

Send 250-500 word abstracts and a brief biography or CV with contact information and affiliation to Paul Rosa at Please also let me know if you have any AV needs.
Deadline for abstracts: September 30, 2010.

Consult the NeMLA web site ( for more information about the conference and the organization.

Panelists may present only one paper at the convention, though they may submit abstracts for consideration to more than one panel.