CALL FOR PAPERS: Truth and Truthiness: Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages & Renaissance

Truth and Truthiness: Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

December 1, 2018
The 26th Biennial Conference of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program of Barnard College

Plenary Speakers: Lorna Hutson (University of Oxford), Dyan Elliott (Northwestern University)

The capacity of language both to communicate truth and to manipulate perceptions of it was as vexed a problem for the Middle Ages and Renaissance as it is today. From Augustine to Erasmus, enthusiasm for the study of rhetoric was accompanied by profound concern about its capacity to mask the difference between authenticity and deceit, revelation and heresy, truth and truthiness. Even the claim of authenticity or transparency could become, some thinkers argued, a deliberate form of manipulation or “spin.”

In our current era when public figures aim to create effects of immediacy and authenticity, this conference looks at the history of debates about rhetoric and, more generally, about the presentation of transparency and truthfulness. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this conference considers the role of the verbal arts in the history of literature, law, politics, theology, and historiography, but also broadens the scope of rhetoric to include such topics as the rhetoric of the visual arts and the language of the new science to produce effects of objective access to “things themselves.”

Please submit an abstract of 250–300 words and a 2-page CV by April 30, 2018 to Rachel Eisendrath

CALL FOR PAPERS: Administrative accountability in the later Middle Ages: Records, procedures, and their societal impact

Bucharest, 16-17 November 2018

The emergence of new types of financial records, the creation of institutional procedures, and the birth of a bureaucratic corps in a society in which accountability had been largely social and moral represent key developments in the history of the later Middle Ages. The colloquium will explore the multifaceted reality of administrative accountability in Western Europe, c. 1200-1450. Because the renewed interest in the subject makes methodological exchanges all the more timely, the colloquium will provide a venue for testing new approaches to the sources. Special attention will be given to underexplored archival documents, such as the castellany accounts (computi) of late-medieval Savoy, and to topics that have hitherto received less attention, such as the social impact of institutional consolidation. Comparisons with better-known texts, such as the English pipe rolls, are also encouraged.

The colloquium is organised in the frame of the European Research Council Starting Grant no. 638436, ‘Record-keeping, fiscal reform, and the rise of institutional accountability in late-medieval Savoy: a source-oriented approach’ (University of Bucharest)

Proposals for 30-minute papers are invited on topics including:
  • the institutional dialogue between the central and local administration
  • the impact of administrative and fiscal reform on local communities
  • accounting practices and the auditing of financial records
  • the cultural underpinnings of medieval accountability
  • prosopography: background and career of administrators, from auditing clerks to castellans
  • methodological advances, from manuscript studies to sociological frameworks
  • the transfer of administrative models across medieval Europe

The colloquium papers, which will collected in an edited volume published with an international academic press, should reflect original, unpublished research. The authors will be given the opportunity to revise their contributions for publication.

Papers can be presented in English or French; if delivered in French, it is the author’s responsibility to have the paper translated into English for publication.

For inquiries, contact Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici or Roberto Biolzi

Proposals of circa 300 words, outlining the source material, methodology, and anticipated findings, should be emailed to Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici by 30 March 2018.

The organisers will provide three nights hotel accommodation and help defray travel expenses.

Project Description:

This project focuses on an unjustly neglected corpus of sources, the fiscal accounts (computi) of the castellanies, or basic administrative units, of late-medieval Savoy. It deploys a holistic model of analysis that can fully capitalize on the unusually detailed computi in order to illuminate some of the key developments in late-medieval history, from administrative and fiscal reforms and the progress of institutional accountability to the socioeconomic decline and recovery from the late-thirteenth to the late-fourteenth century. More broadly, research into these topics aims to contribute to our understanding of the late-medieval origins of European modernity.

The advances of pragmatic literacy, record-keeping, and auditing practices are analysed with the aid of social scientific theories of practice. By comparing the Savoyard computi with their sources of inspiration, notably the Anglo-Norman pipe rolls, the project aims to highlight the creative adaptation of imported administrative models, thereby contributing to our knowledge of institutional transfers in European history. The project proposes an inclusive frame of analysis in which the computi are read against the evidence from enfeoffment charters, castellany surveys (extente), and the records of direct taxation (subsidia).

The project focuses on a sample of castellanies from the heartland of the Savoyard principality, analysed by the Principal Investigator. Two postdoctoral researchers will study the records of a few other castellanies from outside the bailiwick of Savoy as test cases for the Principal Investigator’s analysis.

CALL FOR PAPERS: North American Conference on British Studies - Annual Meeting

Providence, Rhode Island, October 25-28, 2018
Deadline: 30 March 2018

The NACBS and its affiliate, the Northeast Conference on British Studies, seek participation by scholars in all areas of British Studies for the 2018 meeting. We will meet in Providence, Rhode Island, from October 25-28, 2018. We solicit proposals for presentations on Britain, the British Empire, and the British world, including topics relating to component parts of Britain and on British influence (or vice versa) in Ireland, the Commonwealth, and former colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean (etc.) Our interests range from the medieval to the modern. We welcome participation by scholars from across the humanities and social sciences, from all parts of the globe (not just North America), and from all career stages and backgrounds. We reaffirm our commitment to British Studies broadly conceived, and welcome proposals that reflect the diversity of scholars and scholarship in the field.

We invite panel proposals that address selected themes, methodology, and pedagogy, as well as roundtable discussions of topical and thematic interest, including conversations among authors of recent books, reflections on landmark scholarship, and discussions about professional practice. We are particularly interested in submissions that have a broad chronological focus and/or interdisciplinary breadth. Standard panels typically include three presenters speaking for 20 minutes each, a commentator, and a chair, while roundtables typically include four presenters speaking for 15 minutes each and a chair. We are open to other formats, though; please feel free to consult with the program committee chair.

We hope to secure as broad a range of participation as possible and will thus consider individual paper proposals in addition to the standard full panel proposals. Our preference is for panels that include both emerging and established scholars; we welcome the participation of junior scholars and Ph.D. candidates beyond the qualifying stage. To foster intellectual interchange, we ask applicants to compose panels that feature participation from multiple institutions. In an effort to allow a broader range of participants, no participant will be permitted to take part in more than one session in a substantial role. (That is, someone presenting or commenting on one panel cannot also present or comment on another, though individuals presenting or commenting on one panel may serve as chairs for other panels, if need be.) Submissions are welcome from participants in last year’s conference, though if the number of strong submissions exceeds the number of available spaces, selection decisions may take into account recent participation.

As complete panels are more likely to be accepted, we recommend that interested participants issue calls on H-Albion or social media (e.g., @TheNACBS on Twitter or on the NACBS Facebook page) to arrange a panel. If a full panel cannot be arranged by the deadline, however, please do submit the individual proposal and the program committee will try to build submissions into full panels as appropriate.

In addition to the panels, we will be sponsoring a poster session. The posters will be exhibited throughout the conference, and there will be a scheduled time when presenters will be with their posters to allow for further discussion.

The submission website is now open – submissions will close as of March 30 2018.

All submissions are electronic, and need to be completed in one sitting. Before you start your submission, you should have the following information:
  • Names, affiliations and email addresses for all panel participants. PLEASE NOTE: We create the program from the submission, so be sure that names, institutional titles, and paper titles are provided as they should appear on the program. 
  • A note whether data projection is necessary, desired, or unnecessary.
  • A brief summary CV for each participant, indicating education, current affiliations, and major publications. (750 words maximum per CV.)
  • Title and Abstract for each paper or presentation. Roundtables do not need titles for each presentation, but if you have them, that is fine. If there is no title, there should still be an abstract – i.e. “X will speak about this subject through the lens of this period/approach/region etc.”
  • POSTERS: Those proposing posters should enter organizer information and first presenter information only.
  • All communication will be through the panel organizer, who will be responsible for ensuring that members of the panel receive the information they need.

All program presenters must be current members of the NACBS by September 28, one month before the conference, or risk being removed from the program.

Some financial assistance will become available for graduate students (up to $500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed members within ten years of their terminal degree ($300). Details of these travel grants and how to apply will be posted to and emailed to members after the program for the 2018 meeting is prepared.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Re-reading Hebrew Scripture: Old Testament Cycles in Medieval Wall Painting

University of Milan - Università degli Studi di Milano, October 16 - 18, 2018

CFP Deadline: Feb 15, 2018

Rereading Hebrew Scripture: Old Testament Cycles in Medieval Wall Painting

The Chair of History of Medieval Art, Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment - University of Milan, organises an International Conference concerning the Old Testament narrative in medieval wall painting. Four thematic sessions are scheduled, calling for 20 minutes papers to be presented in Italian/English/French.

1st Session: Early Christian Pictorial Tradition and Early Middle AgesThe aim is to bring into focus the relationship between the monumental pictorial tradition set up in the early Christian Rome and its reworking in the early Middle Ages. To what extent did the paradigm of Santa Maria Maggiore, Old St. Peter’s and San Paolo fuori le Mura expressed its leading role in Old Testament sequences like those in Santa Maria Antiqua and Santa Maria in via Lata in Rome, in the Crypt of the Original Sin in Matera, or in St. John in Müstair? On the other hand, what was the impact of different models (also Byzantine), of patronage and liturgical space in setting the iconographic programme?

2nd Session: The Thematic and Narrative Development in the Romanesque PeriodThe widespread revival of early Christian iconography in the Romanesque period is reflected by the Old Testament narrative, which regains room in church decorations, especially dealing with the first part of the Genesis: mainly in the Roman area (Santa Maria in Ceri, San Tommaso in Anagni, San Paolo inter vineas in Spoleto, Castro dei Volsci, Ferentillo, San Giovanni a Porta Latina), but also in the South (Sant’Angelo in Formis, Santa Maria d’Anglona), in the northern Italy (Galliano, Agliate, Carugo, Muralto, Acquanegra), north of the Alps (Saint-Savin and Château-Gontier in France; Idensen, Brauweiler and Berghausen in Germany; Gurk and Matrei in Austria), and in the Iberian Peninsula (Bagüés, Sigena). The session will offer the opportunity to compare subjects, themes and solutions on a European scale, highlighting continuity, recurrences, peculiarities, deviations and anomalies.

3rd Session: Old Testament Cycles and Multi-layered MeaningUniversal chronicles remind us that an Old Testament cycle was primarily a historical and chronological depiction of the humankind on the path to salvation: the ‘visual device’ in the nave of Acquanegra is a clear example. Still, the events before the Incarnation shall be understood in a figurative sense, what is depicted in Agliate lining up the Creation of Adam and Eve precisely above the Annunciation and the Nativity. This does not preclude a manipulation driven by political claims, as seems to be expressed in the cycle of Joseph in San Marco in Venice. Therefore, a full account of the visual relationships within the liturgical space is required.

4th Session: The Role of Patriarchs, Judges, Prophets and KingsSince at least the mid 5th century, with the mosaic panels in the nave of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the Hebrew Scripture has also been illustrated through the stories of its protagonists: Patriarchs (Moses and Joshua in San Calocero in Civate), Judges (Samson in Galliano and Civate, Gideon in Civate and Sant’Angelo in Formis), Prophets (Ezekiel and Daniel in Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome), Kings (David in Müstair and Malles), involving a wide range of meanings, relationships and implications, which are still waiting to be figured out.

SubmissionsProposals should cover a wide range of aspects concerning each session, giving priority to the iconographic approach, to the relationships with the liturgical space and to the historical-institutional frame. Topics dealing with the monumental contexts mentioned above are especially welcome.
Proposals will be evaluated by the conference scientifc committee.
Submissions for a 20 minutes paper (in Italian/English/French) should include: paper title, abstract of around 300 words, a short CV including current affliation and full contact details. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file.

Proposals and enquiries should be sent to: Old Testament 2018

ScheduleDeadline for submissions: 15 February 2018.
Notification to the applicants: by 31 March 2018.
Final programme: by September 2018.
It is expected to publish in a double-blind Peer review Series.
Speakers will be asked to provide a final paper by 30 June 2019.

Practical InformationThere is no registration fee for participation or attendance.
Coffee breaks, lunches, and dinners will be provided to all speakers. Travel and accommodation expenses cannot be covered, but every effort will be made to secure special hotel rates.

Conference DirectorFabio Scirea, PhD, Lecturer in History of Medieval Art
Conference Scientifc Committee
Mauro della Valle, Stella Ferrari, Paolo Piva, Fabio Scirea, Andrea Torno Ginnasi, History of Medieval Art, University of Milan

CALL FOR PAPERS: XXXVII Scientific Instrument Symposium

3 - 7 September 2018
Leiden and Haarlem, The Netherlands

The XXXVII Symposium of the Scientific Instrument Commission will take place from the 3rd to the 7th of September 2018 in Leiden and Haarlem, the Netherlands. The general topic of the conference is Instruments and the ‘Empire of Man over Things’. In The New Organon (1620), Francis Bacon famously wrote that “the empire of man over things depends wholly on the arts and sciences. For we cannot command nature except by obeying her” [Works 8 (1863), 162-63]. How have instruments of the “arts and sciences” been deployed in efforts to “command nature” for social, economic, political or personal purposes? How have instruments entered public works projects (waterways, transport, energy, pollution control), economic projects (mining, agriculture, factories), or political projects (military, public health, exploration, cadastral surveying)? Are different instruments required when the goal is not only knowing but also controlling?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that fit in any of the following three subtopics.

1. Water works and technics is inspired by the fact that the SIC conference is taking place in the Netherlands and thus water works are very appropriate. Proposals in this session could range from locks, building of dykes, to all kind of measuring instruments used for water works or technics. Also social aspects may be the subject of a paper, as for large projects a lot of coordination, politics, economics is needed.

2. Electricity nods to the fact that Teylers Museum is famous for its huge electricity machine and Rijksmuseum Boerhaave has also large collection of electrical instruments. Proposals in this session could range from static electricity toys, human electricity to powerplants. Also economic aspects may be the subject of a paper, such as the electrification of the homes, cars and electrical energy.

3. Citizens instrumental science proceeds from the idea that in the eighteenth century Dutch societies of interested upper middle class citizens flourished. Teylers is only one of them. In other countries people also gathered to see demonstrations by Desaguliers and others. What kind of organisations were they and what instruments were used and what for? Who joined these gatherings and what came of it? What was their relationship with the universities? Proposals in this session will address to these questions and other aspects of scientific societies.

Furthermore, the SIC invites members to organize other sessions that explore the general theme. Of course we also welcome proposals for sessions, papers or posters on any topic dealing with the material culture of science.

For the first time the SIC will include pitch sessions at the Dutch symposium. Speakers have to put forward their point of view of a subject in a short time. After 5 pitches we turn to an in-depth debate. SIC 2018 welcomes proposals for pitches related to the following two topics.

1. End of the SIC? In the past, historians of science took material heritage for granted and did not often make it a topic of analysis. Studies on the history of science and the activities related to scientific instruments (research, preservation, promotion) have been separated from each other for a long time. One of the main goals of the SIC in its early decades was to put this material heritage on the map. Nowadays more and more examples of interactions between the two fields appear: some historians of science base their researches and/or their lectures on scientific instruments, they co-curate exhibitions with curators, etc. So has the SIC done its job well? Should we step aside now? Proposals in this session should contain pitches with short and precise arguments and should contribute to an in-depth discussion on the future of the SIC.

2. Instruments that failed, became obsolete or forgotten. Cases of instruments that were regarded as failures have occurred throughout the centuries. But there are also cases of instruments that were relevant in their own time, but turned out to be no part of the history. And there are cases of research (instruments) which led to dead ends. Why do some instruments fail or fall into oblivion? What can we learn from such instruments? Can their study enrich the history of science? Should they be displayed and how? Proposals in this session should contain pitches with short and precise arguments and should contribute to an in-depth discussion on the role of these instruments in museums and the history of science.

The final deadline for the abstracts is March 1, 2018. The Symposium will be hosted jointly by Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden and the Teyler's Museum in Haarlem with visits to nearby cities and collections. The preliminary program can be found at the conference website.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Reformation Studies Colloquium

This year’s Reformation Studies Colloquium will be held at the University of Essex, Colchester on Thursday 30 August to Saturday 1 September 2018.

The conference, which meets biannually, will bring together established as well as younger scholars studying all aspects of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations in the British Isles and Europe. We invite papers showcasing all aspects of current research into the Reformations and new trends in the fields from all disciplinary backgrounds.

The plenary speakers for the conference will be:

Prof Peter Lake (Vanderbilt University)

Prof Alison Rowlands (University of Essex)

Prof Bill Sheils (University of York)

Contributions from current research students are especially welcomed. Papers should be about 20 minutes, additional time for discussion will be allowed in each session.

To propose a paper please submit a title and a short summary (no more than 300 words) by e-mail no later than Wednesday 25 April 2018.

Contact: Dr Tom Freeman Dr Justin Colson

The conference will be held at the Colchester Campus of the University of Essex, located in the beautiful grounds of Wivenhoe Park, around 60 minutes from central London. The conference will take advantage of the many medieval and early modern features of Colchester, including an exclusive evening private tour of, and wine reception at, Colchester Castle and its recently refurbished museum.

Please join the Reformation Studies Colloquium mailing list here

CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘On Belonging: English Conceptions of Migration and Transculturality, 1550 – 1700’,

TIDE Conference, 26 - 28 July 2018
London Campus, University of Liverpool, 33 Finsbury Square EC2A 1AG

How did early modern processes of global exchange influence English identity? How did the movement of peoples, objects, and ideas across the globe shape English concepts of self and belonging, both at home and abroad?

Join the ERC-funded ‘Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, 1550 – 1700’ (TIDE) project to explore these questions through a three-day interdisciplinary conference in summer 2018.

Confirmed Speakers: Raingard Esser, Katy Gibbons, Imtiaz Habib, Claire Jowitt, Beverley Lemire, Gerald MacLean, Angela McShane, Sarah Knight, Barbara Ravelhofer, Edmond Smith

We invite proposals for papers that examine human mobility both into and out of England, and that cover topics from the Tudor and Stuart periods, including (but not limited to) the following:
  • Legal and political processes of defining and regulating national identity and the rights of strangers, aliens, and foreigners, as well as of natural-born English men and women
  • The various forms of forced and voluntary global movement
  • Local and global migration patterns
  • Travellers, diplomacy, and trade
  • Migrant case studies: individual go-betweens and transcultural agents
  • The effect of mobility on English taste and consumption (from music to the arts, dietary habits to vices)
  • The role of non-English objects on English social rituals and ways of life
  • Representations of English encounters with other peoples in literary forms and imaginative discourse

We welcome interventions from a variety of approaches, methodologies, and disciplines. Please send abstracts of up to 300 words and a short biographical note including institutional affiliation (250 words) to by 15 February 2018 for contributions in any of the following formats:
  • Traditional 20-minute papers
  • Complete panels of 3 x 20 minute or 4 x 15-minute papers
  • Roundtable discussions
  • ‘Exploration sessions’ that focus on particular research questions, provocations, or relevant ‘state-of-the-field’ discussions.

Proposals for complete panels and roundtables should have contact details of all confirmed participants.

Coordinators of exploration sessions will be expected to offer a brief introduction to their questions and methods before inviting a broader discussion with other attendees. These informal and flexible sessions will encourage helpful scholarly discussion and input for researchers (doctoral and early career, as well as more established scholars), particularly those embarking on new projects.

Conference participants will be able to sign up for exploration sessions on a first-come, first-served basis at the time of registration.

Conference fee: £80
Subsidised fee for students: £40
Conference Reception: £20

We will offer a small number of conference bursaries, which include a fee waiver and £50 travel grant for student delegates presenting a paper or organising an ‘exploration session’. Please include a separate 1-page CV and a 300-word statement in addition to your abstract if you wish to be considered for these bursaries.

Tide Project

The Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book summer school: “The Scientific Image”

25-29 July 2018.  Course convener: Roger Gaskell.   Application form (doc)


Origination and transfer of images; relief, intaglio and lithographic printing; the role of the author, draughtsman and printmaker; formal analysis of images; text-image relationships; bibliographical description and cataloguing; the history of scientific, technical, medical, and natural history illustration.


This course examines the production and use of printed pictures in scientific books from the incunable period (before 1501) to the end of the nineteenth century. Diagrams and pictures are not ancillary to scientific texts: they are part and parcel of the intellectual content; ‘illustration’ is a misleading if unavoidable term. To understand the role of images, this course looks at how the production of images affects how and what theories, facts or observations can be communicated, and can be part of the making of scientific knowledge. What an author sketches or an artist draws will often be enhanced and refined in collaboration with the author in the print making process. By analysing the formal qualities of the printed image we can ask: what visual strategies of description, analysis, explanation and persuasion are deployed? We will also consider the description and cataloguing of the illustrated scientific book. The course will provide an introduction to the history of scientific illustration in the physical sciences, technology, medicine and natural history.

This course is intended for those with a strong interest in the history of scientific books and printed images. Some previous training in either art history or the history of science and the basics of analytical and descriptive bibliography will enable students to get the most out of this course, but neither one is a prerequisite. No language skills are required. In their personal statements, applicants should describe the nature of their interest in the history of the technical image and explain briefly the purposes to which they propose to put the knowledge gained from the course.


‘Printed mathematical instruments of the 16th century, bound and unbound’
Jim Bennett will discuss the use of printed mathematical instruments in the 16th century, paper machines that were operational instruments on the page of the book, or intended to be separated from the book and possibly pasted on card or wood, or even cut from the book and used independently.

Taught seminars will take place in the Bodleian Library where participants will examine original drawings, original printing blocks and plates and printed books from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Printing demonstrations, led by Richard Lawrence at the Bodleian Bibliographical Press, will provide a first-hand understanding of relief, intaglio and lithographic printing.
Visits will be made to the Sherardian Library of Plant taxonomy and the Museum of the History of Science to look at original drawings, specimens and scientific instruments.

Roger Gaskell is an antiquarian bookseller specializing in scientific medical and technical books. He has lectured on scientific book illustration at the Bodleian Summer School and teaches a regular seminar, ‘Science in print’ in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, and a regular course at the Rare Book School in Virginia.

Jim Bennett is former Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and curator of the Whipple Museum, University of Cambridge. His publications include London’s Leonardo: the life and work of Robert Hooke.


The fee of £500 covers tuition, refreshments and lunches. Note that accommodation is not included in the fees and securing accommodation is the responsibility of the student.

A limited number of reduced-price places are available for postgraduate students at UK universities. If you wish to be considered for one of these places, please indicate this on your application form.

A non-refundable deposit of £150 is required within two weeks of notification of admission.

The balance of the course fee is due by 25 May 2018. If you are unable to attend the course after paying the balance of the fee, this is refundable only in extraordinary circumstances.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the course is full. Your application should include a cv and a one-page letter indicating how you plan to use the knowledge gained on the course.

If you are a postgraduate student at a UK institution and wish to be considered for one of the reduced-price places, please indicate this on your application form.

Those accepted will be notified as soon as the applications have been approved.

Dr Alexandra Franklin, Project Co-ordinator Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book Bodleian Library Broad Street Oxford OX1 3BG

E-mail: Alexandra Franklin

CALL FOR PAPERS: Decadence, Magic(k), and the Occult

Goldsmiths, University of London, 19-20 July 2018
Keynote speaker: Professor Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey)

Nineteenth-century Decadence coincided with a resurgence of esotericism, alternative religions, and a belief in magic as a rejection of secularism and science. Until now, this intersection has been most richly considered in relation to Catholicism. Most well-known is Huysmans’s tetralogy, which traces Durtal’s movement from the Black Mass to the monastery. However, Decadent literature has a much more complicated relationship with mystical, supernatural, and magical realms, one which extends beyond a simple rejection of Christian faith and has a legacy reaching beyond the long nineteenth century.

This two-day interdisciplinary conference is organized by the Decadence Research Unit at Goldsmiths. Our aim is to investigate the role of occultism and magic(k) in the Decadent literary and artistic tradition through a consideration of the relationship between Decadence and the esoteric revival of the fin de siècle, providing an opportunity to re-examine the Occult roots of Decadence and explore the wide range of artistic responses to the blurred boundaries between Decadence, mysticism, ritual, and the Dark Arts. Is the meeting of practical magic and literary esotericism indicative of a symbiotic relationship between Decadence and the Occult, or does it represent merely another aspect of the Decadent rejection of mainstream ideologies?

We welcome proposals on any aspect of Decadence from any era, in relation to magic(k) and the Occult. Papers (about 20 mins in length) might include discussion of, but are not limited to:
  • Occult/Decadent poets: Charles Baudelaire, Remy de Gourmont, Arthur Rimbaud, Jean Lorrain
  • Occult/Decadent artists: Henry de Groux, Jean Deville, Fernand Khnopff, Felicien Rops
  • Great beasts: Aleister Crowley, Joséphin Péladan, W. B. Yeats
  • Salons and sects: the Salon de la Rose+Croix, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
  • Satanic and occult feminism: Berthe de Courrière, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Althea Gyles
  • Big ‘Isms’: Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, Neo-Paganism, Symbolism
  • Freemasonry, Theosophy, and New Age Spirituality
  • Aesthetic esotericism and Decadent occulture
  • Geomancy and liminal spatiality
  • Poetry and ritual magic(k)
  • Occlusion and the ocular
  • Music and mysticism
  • Rituals and rivalries
  • Incubi and succubi

Abstracts of 500 words plus brief biography should be sent to: by 31st March 2018

Paris Summer School: History of mathematical sciences and digital approaches: the materiality of texts — networks — classifications

Paris from 2 to 6 July 2018, at the Institut de mathématiques de Jussieu – Paris Rive Gauche (UMR 7586 of the CNRS, UPMC, Université Paris-Diderot), on the Jussieu campus, in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Paris.

This international summer school aims at:
  • giving a comprehensive presentation of — and opening discussions on — current opportunities offered by digital technologies: access to original documents, modes of (collaborative) edition, new opportunities to handle and search corpuses;
  • evaluating the impact of digital approaches on the methodology and research practices in the history of science;
  • raising questions on their advantages and limits concerning their actual capacity to deliver new results and open new research perspectives.

In addition to classes and lectures, workshops will be organized to enable participants to test approaches and tools on their own corpus and research data.

The speakers will include specialists in the digital humanities as well as historians of mathematics who use digital tools.

Housing and lunches will be free, offered by the summer school.

Registration is free of charge but mandatory.
To participate in the summer school, please Register Here

Should you need any further information, please contact Summer School 2018.

Website: Summer School 2018

CALL FOR PAPERS: Mendicants on the Margins

Deadline: 1 February 2018
School of History, University College Cork, 27 June 18

The Conference organisers are seeking contributions to a one-day symposium which will take place on 27 June 2018 at University College Cork, on the theme of ‘Mendicants on the Margins’, organised as part of an IRC-funded project ‘Spiritual Infrastructure, Space and Society: The Augustinian Friars in Late Medieval Ireland’. The Irish Augustinian and Carmelite friars, in comparison to their Franciscan and Dominican counterparts, have been rather neglected by scholarship, finding themselves on the ‘margins’ of mendicant studies in Ireland.In mendicant studies across Europe a similar pattern of marginality is evident, placed opposite to the perceived existence of core centres. These include geographical centres of mendicancy (i.e. countries where the orders first appeared); topographical centres with the ‘typical’ model of mendicant foundations located in urban areas with non-urban foundations regarded as peripheral; or the historiographical centrality given to the Franciscan and Dominican male orders rather than other mendicant orders and female branches; and a greater historiographical emphasis on royal and aristocratic patronage versus focus on support from local communities and the friars’ impact on the wider society.

In recent years, a number of publications, research projects and conferences have tackled aspects of mendicant studies on the margins of these various core centres, but there still remains a need for a discussion on whether there is a recognisable mendicant model, on potential differences and similarities between various models, the extent of divergence or adaptation, and on the links and contrasts between geographical areas.

This one-day symposium seeks to address these issues by bringing together researchers working on aspects of mendicant orders traditionally considered as ‘marginal’, be it geographical, topographical, gendered or historical. The aim is to go beyond the artificial construct of centrality and marginality in order to get a fuller understanding of the impact of the mendicants on all levels of medieval society across Europe.

Contributions, no more than 25 minutes long, might address the following issues:
  • Mendicant orders in geographical margins;
  • Lesser-known orders of the Augustinian friars, Carmelites and female communities;
  • Mendicant communities in the margins of the traditional model of urban mendicancy, such as foundations in non-urban environments;
  • Margins of social hierarchies such as patronage and benefactors from all elements of society, the impact of the friars on local communities, especially in foundations outside of urban centres and in geographically or socially marginal communities;
  • Aspects of mendicant studies challenging the traditional historiography of mendicant orders.

Priority will be given to papers that use a comparative approach, between the margins in question and what is considered the centre or a model, and to papers adopting a multi-disciplinary approach. Proposals of no more than 300 words should be sent to Dr Anne-Julie Lafaye, IRC postdoctoral researcher, before 1 February 2018.

The symposium will coincide with the Irish Conference of Medievalists, scheduled to take place at UCC, 28-30 June 2018 (

Download CFP Mendicants on the Margins (final).

CALL FOR PAPERS: Ancient and Modern Knowledges

A two-day colloquium at the University of Sheffield
Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June 2018

Categories which seek to draw distinctions between different areas of scholarly inquiry in the history of knowledge, most obviously, perhaps, the distinction between ‘humanities’ and ‘sciences’ have, in many cases, spawned their own extensive sub-histories – the history of science and, more recently, the history of the humanities. Yet categories which instead seek to draw boundaries between bodies of knowledge based on distinctions of chronological time also need to be interrogated. The spatial turn in the history of knowledge has been particularly important, with much attention paid in recent years to exploring circuits, networks, geographies and mobilities of knowledge. Less consideration, however, has been given to distinctions of chronological distance (in particular, the use of the terms ‘ancient and modern’) and the associated claims of authority, legitimacy, originality and significance, which are implied when these terms are used.

The colloquium aims to explore two related sets of questions:

(1) Firstly, how have ancient knowledges been discussed, adapted, interrogated, included, excluded or ignored by scholars, writers and thinkers but also merchants, diplomats and other creators of knowledge consciously identifying as modern?

In referring to ‘ancient’ knowledges, we are not limiting our consideration to the knowledge of Greece and Rome alone, but are keen to hear from scholars working on the later reception of ideas, texts, images and objects originating in other ancient cultures – in China, India, Persia, Africa.

In defining ‘modern’ knowledges, we are adopting Peter Burke’s identification of 15th and 16th century Renaissance humanism as the first point at which societies began to view themselves as self-consciously modern, and we will extend our area of inquiry up to the long 18th century. In adopting this definition, we are aware that we are choosing to focus on a predominantly Western understanding of modernity. At the same time, we welcome papers exploring the concept of alternative and multiple modernities developed in other parts of the globe.

(2) The second set of questions we are interested in involve the different ways in which chronological markers (‘ancient’, ‘modern’, ‘new’, ‘old’, ‘traditional’, ‘novel’) have been used to draw distinctions and make claims about the legitimacy, authority and significance of different bodies of knowledge from the Renaissance onwards.

Papers could, for example, address the following issues:
  • the role of ancient knowledge in the intersection of (and the distinction between) the natural sciences and humanities
  • the role that individuals and informal institutions such as learned societies have played as agents in the formation of concepts and categories of knowledge.
  • how reading and re-reading classical authors and ancient historians, in particular, helped to shape concepts of history, verisimilitude, plausibility and falsehood.
  • the relationship between ancient and modern historiography
  • the tradition of other ancient authors such as Plutarch, Suetonius, Cicero and Sextus Empiricus which has been particularly influential in the formation of concepts of history.

Please send abstracts of 250 words for papers of 20 minutes and a short bio to: or by Tuesday 1st May 2018

Heather Ellis and Daniele Miano
University of Sheffield

Dr Heather Ellis
Vice-Chancellor's Fellow
School of Education
University of Sheffield

CALL FOR PAPERS: Glossing Cultural Change: Comparative Perspectives on Manuscript Annotation, C. 600-1200 CE

Deadline: 28 February 2018
National University of Ireland, Galway, 21–22 June 2018

Glossing, the practice of annotating manuscripts between the lines and/or in the margins, was a widespread cultural practice wherever books were being read, studied and taught. As an indication of this, the Network for the Study of Glossing ( currently has 75 members with research interests in glossed manuscripts written in Arabic, Breton, Chinese, German, Greek, Egyptian, English, French, Hebrew, Hittite, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Sanskrit, Turkish, and

This two-day conference aims to bring together specialists from a variety of fields to discuss aspects of glossing—in all its forms—from a comparative perspective. A particular focus will be on how glosses engage with and reflect the dynamics of contemporary cultural change, rather than acting merely as passive repositories of inherited tradition. Specific aspects of glossing could include any of the following:
  1. Glossing as a revealer of reading practices: e.g. considering the relationship between Classical/cosmopolitan written languages and spoken vernaculars; or different approaches to reading/performing sacred and secular texts.
  2. Glossing as a method of interpretation: both linguistic (translation) and cultural (e.g. mediating remote cultures and ideas).
  3. Glossing as an instrument of textual authority: mandating how texts should be read and understood; creating and re-shaping canons.
  4. Glossing as a vehicle for education: organisation of knowledge; delivery of a particular curriculum.
  5. Glossing as an intellectual effort: scholarship for its own sake; the creation of new knowledge.

Papers should last 20 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for discussion.  (Direct comparison between traditions is not expected. This will be facilitated during the event.)

This event follows on from another held at the University of Frankfurt on 2–3 December 2016. We aim to publish a selection of papers from both conferences together in a single volume.

Please send a title and abstract (300 words max) to (Pádraic Moran) by 23 February 2018.

Some limited financial assistance will be available.

Dr Pádraic Moran, Classics, NUI Galway | +353 91 492587

CALL FOR PAPERS: Sixth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies

June 18-20, 2018
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, Missouri

The Sixth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies (June 18-20, 2018) is a convenient summer venue for scholars from around the world to present papers, organize sessions, participate in roundtables, and engage in interdisciplinary discussion. The goal of the Symposium is to promote serious scholarly investigation into all topics and in all disciplines of medieval and early modern studies.

The plenary speakers for this year will be Geoffrey Parker of The Ohio State University, and Carole Hillenbrand of the University of St Andrews.

The Symposium is held annually on the beautiful midtown campus of Saint Louis University. On-campus housing options include affordable, air-conditioned apartments as well as a luxurious boutique hotel. Inexpensive meal plans are available, and there is also a wealth of restaurants, bars, and cultural venues within easy walking distance of campus.

While attending the Symposium participants are free to use the Vatican Film Library, the Rare Book and Manuscripts Collection, and the general collection at Saint Louis University's Pius XII Memorial Library.

The Sixth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies invites proposals for papers, complete sessions, and roundtables. Any topics regarding the scholarly investigation of the medieval and early modern world are welcome. Papers are normally twenty minutes each and sessions are scheduled for ninety minutes. Scholarly organizations are especially encouraged to sponsor proposals for complete sessions.

The deadline for all submissions is December 31. Decisions will be made in January and the final program will be published in February.

For more information or to submit your proposal online go to:

CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘Aesthetics and Poetics in the History of Political Thought’

Image: Ambrogio Lorenzette, Allegory of Good Government (detail), c. 1338-9

Aesthetics and Poetics in the History of Political Thought
11th Annual Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History
University of Cambridge, June 13, 2018
Keynote Address: Professor Martin Jay (Berkeley)

In recent years, appreciation for the relationships between politics and aesthetics has grown. Often associated with the writings of Jacques Rancière, partisans of the so-called ‘aesthetic turn in political thought’ have increasingly stressed the figurative and linguistic dimensions of political theory. Though these interrelationships have been a central concern of thinkers from Plato to the contemporary writings of Slavoj Žiž­­ek, much of this more recent literature recognises only a limited chronology. For intellectual historians, however, the now-classic methodological interventions of the ‘Cambridge School’ (Quentin Skinner, J.G.A Pocock and John Dunn) emphasised precisely these considerations for thinkers of a variety of historical periods. By highlighting the pivotal connections between the intentions of thinkers and the words and languages through which they were expressed, their writings confirmed Rancière’s own insistence that ‘There never has been any “aestheticization” of politics in the modern age because politics is aesthetic in principle.’

The uneasy distinctions between poetics, aesthetics and politics raise many important issues for historians of political thought. Can we sharply distinguish political and aesthetic concerns throughout history? Are political theories always determined by the languages and conventions in which they are uttered? What relationship does material culture have to the history of political thought? Aiming to explore these and related questions, the organisers of the 11th Annual Cambridge Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History, scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2018, invite submissions for presentations on the theme ‘Aesthetics and Poetics in the History of Political Thought.’

Given the extensive range of the theme in question, proposals from a variety of sub-disciplines and across geographic and historical divisions are welcome. Topics can include, but are not limited to:
  • the politics of language
  • theories and nature of representation
  • histories of metaphor
  • gender, aesthetics and the political
  • the politics of art and architecture
  • conceptions of imagination and judgment
  • rhetorical strategies in the history of political thought
  • political thought and literature
  • material culture and political thought
  • the politics of cultural practice and exchange
  • national aesthetics
  • collecting and collections
  • authorial self-representation
  • histories of the book
  • illustrations, figures and the aesthetics of textuality

The conference will feature a keynote address by Professor Martin E. Jay, who is the Ehrman Professor of European History at the University of California, Berkeley. Participants will be invited to present their work in themed panels, which will be followed by question and answer sessions. Cambridge has a longstanding reputation for the study of political thought and intellectual history, and conference participants can expect to receive collegial feedback from members of the History Faculty.

Interested graduate students are asked to send an abstract (max. 500 words) for a 20-minute presentation and a short CV (max. 2 pages) to

The deadline for proposals is March 1, 2018.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Medieval Mystical Theology in Dialogue with Contemporary Thought

An international conference on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the death of Beatrice of Nazareth (1200-1268)

KU Leuven, Belgium, 30 May-2 June 2018
The annual conference of the Mystical Theology Network.

Submit your abstract

Registration will open shortly

The Institute for the Study of Spirituality and the Theology in a Postmodern Context Research Group invite abstracts for a conference that seeks to bring historical and contemporary theology into dialogue. In addition to commemorating Beatrice of Nazareth, the conference seeks to explore themes related to Beatrice’s text and context, but also to address theological issues that continue to resonate in contemporary debates. Both the historical- and contemporary-theological questions will be clustered around three main themes, but we strongly encourage interdisciplinary approaches that engage both historical and contemporary conversations.

Historical theological themes:

“Female theology” and “female mysticism”
  • Women’s medieval education and their contribution to the history of ideas and intellectual development.
  • Medieval reflections on embodiment.
  • Problematizing the idea of “women’s mysticism and theology.”

Vernacular theology and vernacular authors
  • Relationships between vernacular, monastic, and scholastic theology
  • The social and spiritual context of poverty movements in the medieval Low Countries.
  • Under-studied vernacular mystical authors and texts.

Medieval texts and sacramental theology
  • Liturgical feasts (e.g. Corpus Christi) and their connection to mystical texts (cf. Hadewijch’s Visions).
  • Devotion to the humanity of Christ in the later Middle Ages.
  • The body and/or community as a locus of spirituality and mysticism.

Contemporary theological themes:

Theology of Eros/Agape
  • The phenomenological appropriation of eros and its potential to be of use in fundamental theology.
  • Eros and questions of embodiment from a contemporary theological perspective.
  • Love and desire in contemporary thought.

Mystical consciousness and critical-theological thought
  • Mysticism and political theology.
  • Mystical consciousness and social movements and transformations; reflections on mystical theology and the “kingdom of God” (as related to Agape and Eros); social critique.
  • Engagements with critical theory, hermeneutics and hermeneutical theology.

Mysticism and sacramentality
  • Balancing the irreducible particularity of the sacraments with the universality of 'experience' or ‘consciousness’ (mystical or otherwise).
  • Interconnection and interanimation between sacramental and mystical discourse.
  • The Eucharist and mystical theology.

Call for papers deadline: 31 January 2018.

Keynote speakers:

Bernard McGinn (University of Chicago)
Amy Hollywood (Harvard University)
Carolyn Muessig (University of Bristol)
Alessandra Bartolomei Romagnoli (Pontifical Gregorian University)
Robyn Horner (Australian Catholic University)
Mark De Kesel (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

With an organizers' introduction by Lieven Boeve & Rob Faesen

Practical information:

Travelling to Leuven Accommodation

For more information, please email: John Arblaster or Derrick Witherington

CALL FOR PAPERS: Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies - Congress 2018

University of Regina / Regina, Saskatchewan, May 26, 27, and 28, 2018

The 2018 conference of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies / Société canadienne d’études de la Renaissance (CSRS/SCÉR) will be hosted by the University of Regina as a part of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The theme for the CFHSS Congress 2018 is “Gathering diversities.”

The CSRS/SCÉR invites members to submit proposals that address the 2018 Congress theme in relation to the Renaissance and/or early modern period (approximately 1400-1700). For example, proposals responding to the theme of “Gathering diversities” could include topics exploring the Renaissance from a global or non-European perspective. In addition, we welcome proposals on any topic relevant to this period in a full range of disciplines, such as art history, bibliography, book history, cultural studies, digital humanities, history, literature, medicine, music, or philosophy. Cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Proposals can be submitted in either English or French, and should fall into one of the following categories:

a) an individual proposal (maximum 300 words) for a 20-minute paper;

b) a panel of three proposed 20-minute papers that address a defined theme (to be submitted in one file listing the names and institutional affiliations of the organizer(s) and participants, the proposed title of the session, a brief description (of 100 to 300 words) of the theme, and 300-word abstracts of each of the three proposed papers);

c) a workshop or roundtable discussion (to be submitted in one file including the names and institutional affiliations of the organizer and proposed speakers, the proposed title of the session, a 300-word paragraph outlining the focus and goals of the session, as well as the anticipated contributions of all of the participants).

The deadline for submitting all of the above proposal, panel, and workshop/roundtable options is 15th January 2018. Please submit your proposal (a) or proposed session (b or c) together with a brief (100-word) bio for each participant indicating presenter or speaker’s name, institutional affiliation, position (graduate student, faculty member, independent scholar, etc.) and full contact information to both Program Co-Chairs, Dr. Anne James and Dr. Jeanne Shami, no later than 2nd February 2018.

Please note: acceptance of successful submissions will be sent out by the end of February 2018. To participate in the conference, you must be a member in good standing of the CSRS-SCÉR for the year 2018. To inquire about membership or find out more about the Society, see our website at

CONGRÈS 2018 : 26, 27 et 28 MAI 2018

Le prochain congrès de la Société canadienne d’études de la Renaissance (SCÉR) aura lieu du 26 au 28 mai 2018, à l’Université de Régina (Régina, Saskatchewan), dans le cadre du Congrès annuel de la Fédération canadienne des sciences humaines (FCSHS). Le congrès de la Fédération a pour thème « Diversités convergentes ».

La SCÉR invite ses membres à soumettre des propositions de communication qui abordent ce thème en rapport avec la Première Modernité (1400-1700) ou tout autre sujet relatif à la Renaissance dans les disciplines qui les intéressent : littérature, histoire, philosophie, musique, histoire de l’art, histoire du livre, bibliographie, études religieuses, médecine, études culturelles, humanités numériques, etc. Par exemple, des propositions se rapportant au thème des « Diversités convergentes » pourraient traiter de sujets explorant la Renaissance dans une perspective non européenne ou d’un point de vue plus global. Les propositions de communication interdisciplinaires ou pluridisciplinaires sont aussi les bienvenues. Les communications peuvent être soumises et présentées aussi bien en anglais qu’en français et ressortir à l’une ou l’autre des trois catégories suivantes :

a) une proposition de communication individuelle de vingt minutes sur un sujet librement choisi (maximum 300 mots); b) une séance de trois communications de vingt minutes chacune sur un thème commun (à soumettre en un seul dossier incluant le nom de l’organisateur ainsi que les noms des participants et leurs affiliations institutionnelles, de même que le titre de la séance proposée, une brève description du sujet (de 100 à 300 mots), les trois propositions de communication (maximum 300 mots chacune) et l’ordre de présentation souhaité des conférenciers;

c) un atelier ou une table ronde (à soumettre en un seul dossier incluant le nom de l’organisateur ainsi que les noms des participants et leurs affiliations institutionnelles, de même que le titre de l’atelier ou de la table ronde, et un paragraphe (maximum 300 mots) décrivant le sujet et les objectifs de même que la contribution attendue de la part de chaque participant).

Veuillez noter que, cette année, la date limite pour l’envoi des propositions de communication, de séance, d’atelier ou de table ronde, est le 15 janvier 2018. Les communications étudiantes sont vivement encouragées. Merci d’envoyer vos propositions de communication (A), de séance, d’atelier ou de table ronde (B ou C) accompagnées d’une brève notice (100 mots) indiquant le nom du conférencier, son affiliation institutionnelle, son statut (étudiant au cycle supérieur, professeur, chercheur indépendant, etc.) et ses coordonnées complètes (adresse postale et adresse courriel), aux deux coresponsables du programme : Anne James et Jeanne Shami au plus tard le 2 février 2018.

Veuillez noter que l’annonce des propositions qui auront été retenues sera envoyée aux participants à la fin du mois de février 2018. Afin de participer au congrès, vous devez être un membre en règle de la SCÉR pour l’année 2018. Afin d’obtenir des renseignements relatifs à l’adhésion à la SCÉR ou pour en savoir davantage au sujet de notre Société, visitez le site internet à l’adresse électronique suivante :

Please feel free to direct any questions to Dr. Margaret Reeves


Dr. Margaret Reeves
President, Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies /
Société canadienne d'études de la Renaissance
Department of Critical Studies (English Program)
169 CCS, 1148 Research Road
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
Kelowna, B.C. V1V 1V7

CALL FOR PAPERS: Scientiae: Disciplines of Knowing in the Early Modern World

16-19 May 2018

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Minneapolis, USA
Keynotes: Surekha Davies (Western Connecticut State University) and Vladimir Urbanek (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

The Programme Committee for the 7th Annual Scientiae Conference invites submissions for individual papers or special panels on the disciplines of knowing in the early modern world (roughly 1400-1800), to be held at the University of Minnesota, 16-19 May 2018.

The major premise of the Scientiae Conference series is that knowledge during the early modern period was pre-disciplinary, involving complex mixtures of theories, practices and objects, which had yet to be separated into their modern ‘scientific’ configurations. Although centred on attempts to understand and control the natural world, Scientiae addresses natural philosophy, natural history, and the scientiae mixtae within a wide range of related fields, including but not restricted to Biblical exegesis, medicine, artisan practice and theory, logic, humanism, alchemy, magic, witchcraft, demonology, divinatory practices, astronomy, astrology, music, antiquarianism, experimentation and commerce. The conference and the sessions are interdisciplinary and intended to foster debate, one of Scientiae’s defining values.

While the Programme Committee welcomes proposals for 20-25 minute papers from any disciplinary perspective, we would like to encourage submissions that seek to examine modes of early modern knowledge formation and application that cross traditional national, geographic, linguistic or intellectual borders.

For 2018, we would also like to invite proposals for a series of special 2-hour interdisciplinary panels. These should be organised by theme and include three speakers and a commentator who treat the issue from different disciplinary perspectives.

The Program Committee welcomes sessions that present the scholarship of members at various stages of their careers. However, graduate student speakers must be advanced students who have completed coursework, examinations, and much of their dissertation research, and expect to defend their dissertations in the next two years.

Individual papers should include a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV. Panel proposals should consists of a single 250-word description of the theme under discussion, and three 100-word outlines of how each paper will contribute to this theme, and from what discipline/angle.

Email proposals to: scientiaeminnesota [at]

Deadline: 25 November 2017.

We will notify all contributors by 5 January.

Remembering James Petiver (1665-1718)

26th April 2018
The Linnean Society of London

Registration Now Open

Remembering James Petiver (1665-1718)

This day meeting marks the tercentenary of the death of James Petiver FRS, an important but often overlooked professional apothecary and compulsive natural historian in 18th-century London. Petiver made significant contributions to multiple fields of natural history, above all botany and entomology. An assiduous correspondent and collector, he successfully cultivated sources of natural historical intelligence and material from the Americas to the East Indies.

Speakers will assess Petiver’s life and legacy by deploying a range of historical and scientific disciplinary perspectives. On the 300th anniversary of his death, the meeting will set out to remember James Petiver:
  • as a practising natural historian of substantial abilities and merit
  • as a collector and cataloguer of natural historical specimens with enduring significance
  • as a writer of both manuscript correspondence and published natural historical texts
  • as an apothecary whose professional and private scientific interests mutually informed each other
  • as a social networker both within London and across the globe
  • as an historical figure whose legacy has been contested and which is ripe for reconsideration

Speakers: Dr Arnold Hunt, Dr Charles E Jarvis FLS, Sebestian Kroupa, Dr Alice Marples, Katrina Maydom, Professor Kathleen S Murphy, Dr Victoria Pickering, Professor Richard Vane-Wright FLS. Respondent: Dr Emma Spary.

Organisers: Richard Coulton, Charlie Jarvis

Dr Richard Coulton
Senior Lecturer in English
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London

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'Remembering James Petiver (1665-1718)': Thursday 26 April 2018
Stealing Books in Eighteenth-Century London (Palgrave, 2016)
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CALL FOR PAPERS: Superstition and Magic in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

Princeton Medieval Studies Graduate Student Conference, April 20, 2018

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Michael Bailey

In an age when authorities attempt to assault our modern modes of critical thinking, the term “superstition” and its premodern associations take on rearranged values. Current political discourse denounces fake news and climate change as humbug with a zeal not unlike that of medieval and early modern establishments censuring false prophets and fallacious astrologers. Given these similarities, the classic narrative of a medieval society emerging into a modern one, “the disenchantment of the world” (Max Weber), urgently needs reappraisal. This conference proposes the examination of a wide range of evidence in various genres over time in order to foster this dialogue. In returning to the original meaning of “superstition” as an excessive fearfulness or belief, or a misapprehended and abused knowledge of a supernatural subject, how can we refine our understanding of superstition and magic in the premodern world? How can we make the overlaps between science, superstition, and magic productive?

We invite interdisciplinary submissions on diverse topics related to medieval and early modern superstition and magic. Some themes of the conference include, but are not limited to:
  • Control and influence exerted by the Church and universities
  • The historical development of demonology 
  • The Witch Crisis: gender and authority 
  • Elite vs. folk magic; paganism and popular religion
  • Heresy and superstition
  • Depiction of magical elements in literature and visual culture
  • The impact of various religious reform movements, including the Reformation and Counterreformation, on belief, magic, and ritual
  • Music and metaphysics 
  • Oaths, incantations, and spells: the power of words
  • Natural philosophy: astrology, alchemy, medical practices, etc.
  • Material history and archaeology 
  • Co-mingling of Eastern and Western traditions; book magic; Kabbalah
  • Esoteric belief systems and the rise of secret societies
  • The law: ordeals, witch-hunts, and policing of superstitious practices

In order to support participation by speakers from outside the northeastern United States, we are offering limited subsidies to help offset the cost of travel to Princeton. Financial assistance may not be available for every participant, with funding priority going to those who have the farthest to travel. Speakers will have the option of staying with a resident graduate student to defray their expenses.
Interested graduate students should submit abstracts of no more than 500 words to Sonja Andersen and Jonathan Martin at by February 15, 2018.

All applicants will be notified about their submissions by February 24, 2018. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes.

MaRSA CALL FOR PAPERS: "In the Margins"

Medieval and Renaissance Student Association California State University, Long Beach 

Deadline for submissions:  February 6, 2018
Contact email:

The Medieval and Renaissance Student Association (MaRSA) of California State University, Long Beach is seeking individual papers as well as panel submissions for their graduate student conference. The conference will be held at the Karl Anatol Center on the campus of CSULB on April 19-20th, 2018.

This year’s theme, “In the Margins,” engages the spaces, both literal and theoretical, that have been allocated to the periphery of the medieval and Renaissance period. Thus, papers and topics that MaRSA would like to engage with embrace the many facets of medieval and Renaissance marginality. As an interdisciplinary conference, we welcome submissions from a wide array of disciplines focusing on the art, literature, and history of the period. Paper and panel topics might address issues (but are not limited to) the following:
  • The relationship between marginalia and text
  • Liminal spaces and/or identities in medieval and/or Renaissance narratives
  • Peripheral and/or non-literary medieval and Renaissance texts
  • The appropriation of medieval and Renaissance culture in contemporary political movements and/or popular culture
  • Educational and pedagogical approaches to the marginalization of medieval and Renaissance texts
  • The boundaries between body and soul as depicted in hagiographical literature and art
  • Depictions of alterity in Shakespeare and/or other Early Modern Drama
  • Sexuality and nontypical gender expression in medieval and Renaissance texts and/or culture

Presentations should run for approximately 15 minutes. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words along with a current CV by email to by February 6, 2018.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Borderlines XXII: Sickness, Strife and Suffering

Queen’s University Belfast, 13-15th April 2018

Borderlines is an annual postgraduate conference in Medieval & Early Modern studies. Held on a rotating basis in Belfast, Dublin and Cork, we aim to bring together Medievalists and Early Modernists (at MA, PhD & postdoctoral level) in all disciplines from across Ireland, Britain and around the world. This page is designed to provide updates on the yearly conferences and to maintain the contacts and friendships they foster throughout the year.

We are pleased to invite abstract of ca. 250 words related to pain in the middle ages. Topics may include but are not limited to :
  • collective pain
  • depictions of pain
  • explanations of pain
  • judicial literature
  • medical literature
  • memory and pain
  • narratives of suffering
  • pain and creativity
  • pain and pleasure
  • psychological pain
  • social pain
  • religious literature
  • suffering in the afterlife

Please send abstracts of ca. 250 words, along with a short academic biography, to

The deadline for abstracts is 5th February 2018.

CALL FOR PAPERS: 'Locating the Ancient World in Early Modern Subversive Thought'

Newcastle University, 12th-14th April 2018

Dichotomies have long been used to define the intellectual developments of early modern Europe - reason and faith; authority and subversion; science and humanism; radicalism and tradition; heterodoxy and orthodoxy — with classical thought usually located on the side of tradition, a behemoth of learning which inhibited man’s reason and his ability to learn through observation. Such unilinear accounts of the progression to modernity have been subjected to increasingly numerous challenges in the last two decades, as scholars have sought to demonstrate that the ideas which drove Europe towards the Enlightenment were far more complex and multi-layered than suggested by the traditional narratives.

The aim of this conference is to expand on this revived appreciation of the classical influence in early modernity by looking specifically at the role played by the ancient world in that sphere from which it has most usually been excluded: subversive literature. The idea that the texts, philosophies, and exempla of the ancient world might have served as significant tools for those who sought to undermine and challenge political, religious and cultural authority stands in direct opposition to the traditional role assigned to the classics in this period. Emphasising an interdisciplinary approach, this conference will draw scholars together to build a coherent picture of how the classical tradition functioned as a tool for subversion, illuminating a previously neglected aspect of the ancient world in the early modern thought.

The keynote speakers will be Peter Harrison (University of Queensland) and Marianne Pade (Danish Academy at Rome).

We are inviting abstracts for papers of thirty minutes on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Ancient philosophical involvement in epistemological challenges to traditional understandings of knowledge and belief
  • Ancient theories of natural philosophy in the debates concerning God and the universe in both religion and science
  • The contribution of ancient texts to the arguments for natural religion, and against magic, miracles, and the supernatural
  • Classical rhetoric and literary forms as models for argumentation in subversive treatises, polemics, pamphlets, poetry, and other literary genres
  • Ancient religion in the construction of arguments in favour of toleration, and the establishment of a civil religion
  • The function of ancient examples in radical political ideologies, including republicanism, democracy, and theories of resistance and revolution
  • Classical scholarship as a tool for subversion, and print culture as a sphere facilitating this function of the classics

If you would like to offer a paper for the conference, please submit an abstract of 300 words to Katherine East by 9th February 2018.

See Locating Subversion for further information.

Katherine A. East
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
School of History, Classics, and Archaeology
Newcastle University

Locating the Ancient World in Early Modern Subversive Thought

12th – 14th April 2018
The Boiler House, Newcastle University

The aim of this conference is to expand on this revived appreciation of the classical influence in early modernity by looking specifically at the role played by the ancient world in that sphere from which it has most usually been excluded: subversive literature. The idea that the texts, philosophies, and exempla of the ancient world might have served as significant tools for those who sought to undermine and challenge political, religious and cultural authority stands in direct opposition to the traditional role assigned to the classics in this period. Emphasising an interdisciplinary approach, this conference will draw scholars together to build a coherent picture of how the classical tradition functioned as a tool for subversion, illuminating a previously neglected aspect of the ancient world in the early modern thought.

Featuring keynote speakers Peter Harrison (University of Queensland) and Marianne Pade (Danish Academy at Rome).

There is no delegate fee for this conference, but if you plan to attend please email Katherine East to register for the event by Monday 9th April.


Thursday 12th April

13.30-14.00 Coffee and Registration

14.00-14.30 Welcome Address

14.30-16.30 Panel One: Institutions of Religion

Alasdair Raffe (Edinburgh): ‘Numa in Plaid: Scottish Interpretations of Roman Religion, c. 1602-1759’
John Holton (Newcastle): ‘Thomas Hobbes, Diodorus Siculus, and Early Human Society’
Ashley Walsh (Cambridge): ‘Ciceronianism and the Multitude in the Civil Religion of the Third Earl of Shaftesbury’

17.00-18.00 Keynote Address

Marianne Pade (Danish Academy at Rome): ‘Thucydides vs Aristotle: Leonardo Bruni on Popular Government’

18.00-19.00 Drinks Reception

Friday 13th April

9.30-11.30 Panel Two: Rewriting the Natural World

Valentina Zaffino (Pontifical Lateran University): ‘Subverting Aristotelianism through Aristotle: Giordano Bruno’s Interpretation of the Physics’

Karine Durin (Nantes): ‘Dangerous Pliny: Natural Philosophy and the Limits of Christian Orthodoxy in the Renaissance’

Michelle Pfeffer (Oxford): ‘William Coward (1657-1724), the Material Soul, and ‘Undeniable History’: a Physician’s Critical Study of Pagan, Hebrew, and Christian Pasts’

11.30-12.00 Break

12.00-13.30 Panel Three: Pagan Belief

Jonathan Nathan (Cambridge): ‘Orthodox Atheism and the Manuscript Theophrastus Redivivus’

Tim Stuart-Buttle (York): ‘Pagan Philosophy and Early Modern Natural Law Theory: John Maxwell’s Edition of Cumberland’s De Legibus Naturae (1727)’

13.30-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.30 Panel Four: The Power of Words

Callum Murrell (Durham): ‘The Invention of Subversion: Fiction and Narrative in the Elizabethan Star Chamber’

Julianne Mentzer (St Andrews): ‘“Give me my fee!”: Transgressive Use of Rhetoric in The Dutch Courtesan’

Rowland Smith (Newcastle): ‘The Persecuting Pagan and the Philosophic Protestant: Julian the Apostate in English Reception from Marvell to Gibbon, by way of Hampton Court and Voltaire the Bigot’

17.00-18.00 Keynote Address

Peter Harrison (University of Queensland): ‘The Authority of the Ancients: the Case of Heterodox Religion in Seventeenth Century England’

18.00 Drinks Reception and Conference Dinner

Saturday 14th April

9.30-11.30 Panel Five: Popular Politics

Astrid Khoo (KCL): ‘Subverting Cicero: Roman Republican Polemic in Milton’s Defensio Pro Populo Anglicano’

Dikaia Gavala (Aberdeen): ‘“Rise before the Majesty of the People”: Popular Republicanism in Restoration Drama’

Minchul Kim (St Andrews): ‘War and Patriotism: Roman History and Military Government in the French Revolutionary Debates’

11.30-12.00 Break

12.00-13.30 Panel Five: Epicurean Echoes

Jessica Pirie (Birmingham): ‘Aphra Behn’s The Young King and the Lucretian Revival’

Jared Holley (EUI): ‘Epicureanism and Popular Sovereignty in Rousseau’

13.30 Lunch and Farewells

Dr Katherine A. East
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Newcastle University
Katherine East

CALL FOR PAPERS: Science, Imagination and Wonder: Robert Grosseteste and His Legacy

The Ordered Universe Research Project in association with the International Grosseteste Society

Conference: 3-6 April, 2018, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
Website: Ordered Universe

Papers are invited (for oral or poster presentation) for this conference organised by the Ordered Universe Research Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, and the International Grosseteste Society. An interdisciplinary project bringing together medieval specialists and modern scientists, the Ordered Universe project is dedicated to new editions and translation of the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste. The conference will be the Fourth International Grosseteste Conference.

The conference will celebrate the life and works of Grosseteste, especially in their response to natural phenomena. A principal aim of the conference is a confluence of disciplinary perspectives on this remarkable thinker. Submissions are welcome from all disciplines and from all career stages. Some suggested areas for subjects are listed below, but please be in touch with the organising committee to run ideas past us:
  • the legacy of Grosseteste’s thought in the later Middle Ages and beyond
  • Grosseteste’s predecessors and contemporaries
  • textual and editorial issues connected to medieval science
  • inter-textual issues across Grosseteste’s writings: pastoral, theological, scientific and literary
  • rendering medieval thought in images, diagrams and visualisation
  • the extended legacy of the themes Grosseteste raises:
    • the order inherent in creation
    • questions of morality and science
    • definitions of experience, experiment
    • attitudes towards authorities
    • education and pedagogic practice
  • relevant thematic issues in history of science and literature
  • modern scientific inspiration from medieval thinkers
  • the role of wonder and imagination in science, in the medieval and modern periods

Oral presentations should be of 20 minute length, and the organising committee will also consider applications for sessions of 3-4 papers with potential speakers identified. Posters should be in A0 portrait format (33.1 wide x 46.8 length in inches), to be displayed throughout the conference and at dedicated Poster Sessions where presenters will be available to discuss their work). In all cases please submit a 300 word abstract with a brief academic biography to: Ordered Universe

The closing date for paper or session submission titles will be 1st February 2018, but the earlier the better! Abstracts will be appraised and a decision made on a rolling basis upon submission.

Full details of the conference costs and booking arrangements will be published on the Ordered Universe website in due course. It is anticipated that arrangements will be made for publications from presentations but decisions will be made after the conference.

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Second Annual Early Modern Women Writers' Colloquium (2018)

At the 6th Annual Othello's Island Conference 2018
Centre for Visual Arts and Research, Nicosia, Cyprus
25 to 27 March 2018

Keynote lecture by: Professor David Norbrook

Full information at

Lead Convenors: Dr. Stella Achilleos (University of Cyprus) and Professor James Fitzmaurice (Northern Arizona University)

About the Conference: We are very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker at the Second Annual Early Modern Women Writers' Colloquium in 2018 will be Professor David Norbrook, Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, who will deliver a lecture titled 'Providence and Displacement: Writing Lucy Hutchinson's Life'.

Dedicated to women writers from the period 1500 to 1700 (approximate dates), the Early Modern Women Writers' Colloquium forms a strand within the annual interdisciplinary "Othello's Island" conference on Byzantine, Medieval, and Renaissance studies. The strand was held informally at the fourth Othello's Island conference in 2015, and became a formal feature in 2016 at the fifth Othello's Island in 2016. This developing tradition continues at the sixth Othello's Island Conference in 2018, where we will again welcome papers on women writers in all languages of the early modern period, with a particular emphasis on the writers Mary Wroth, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, and their contemporaries. The strand includes papers on women writers themselves, but also associated topics, such as the representation of women and women writers in work by male writers of the period, women publishers, and also the popular round table discussion, held outside under the olive trees, as a true academia, in the courtyard garden at CVAR.

If you would like to submit a paper to the Early Modern Women Writers strand of Othello's Island, please follow the instructions below. If you have any questions, please do contact us. Participants in the Early Modern Women Writers strand can, of course, attend all the other papers and events of the Othello's Island Conference, and we encourage participants to do so. The Early Modern Women Writers strand is held in association with the International Margaret Cavendish Society.

Full Papers (20 minutes plus questions)
If you are interested in giving a talk at the conference please submit a proposal for a paper. Standard papers are 20 minutes long, followed by 5 or 10 minutes for questions. Proposals for papers should comprise a cover sheet showing:

Your title (eg. Mr, Ms, Dr, Prof. etc.) and full name
Your institutional affiliation (if any)
Your postal address, email address and telephone number
The title of your proposed paper

With this you should send a proposal/abstract for your paper of no more than 300 words and a copy of your CV/resume to with the subject line EMWW 2018.

All papers must be delivered in English and in person by the author of the paper. We cannot accommodate speakers wishing to present using Skype (or similar), or proxy presentations.

Deadline for submissions: 22 December 2017.

Please visit our website at before submitting your proposal.

Colloquium on Richard II and Casting Diversity, at the Rose Theatre

Kingston Shakespeare Seminar with Global Shakespeare and Anərkē Shakespeare
March 24/25th 2018

Saturday March 24th  09.30 – 18.00

‘Political Theology and Shakespeare’s Richard II’

Richard Ashby (Royal Holloway University London): ‘Pierced to the Soul: The Sovereign Gaze in Richard II’

Thomas Cartelli (Muhlenberg University): ‘The Breath of Kings: Richard II in the Marlowe Aftermath’

Antonio Cerella (Kingston University): ‘The Sovereign Sacrifice: A Genealogy of Political Representation’

Guillaume Foulquie (University of Worcester): ‘Conceptions and Ideologies of Blood in Richard II’

Ronan Hatfull (Shakespeare Institute): ‘Hollow Crowns and Thrones: The Postmodern Celebrity Richard’

Eric Heinze (Queen Mary University London): ‘The Performance of Law’s Legitimacy in Richard II’

Edward Paleit (City University London): ‘Marlowe Never Dies: Deposing Sovereignty in Richard II’

Elena Pellone (Shakespeare Institute) and David Schalkwyk (Queen Mary University London):

‘Breath of Kings: Political and Theatrical Power in Richard II’

Ildiko Solti (Kingston University): ‘Power Play: The Audience as Pawn in Richard II’

David Souden (British Museum) and Richard Foster (Independent Scholar): ‘Pamela Tudor-Craig and Richard II: A Memoir’

Sunday March 25th 10.30–1.00

‘‘‘Let me Play the Lion Too’’: Casting Diversity in Shakespeare’

Actors from Anərkē Shakespeare: ‘Gender and race-blind casting, and working without a director’

Anthony Howard: ‘The British Black and Asian Shakespeare Project’

Martin Wiggins: ‘Shakespeare’s Original Practice Without a Director’

‘Richard II’ performed by Anərkē Shakespeare in the Rose Studio on March 24 @ 2pm & 7pm; March 25 @ 2pm

Register for all or part of this free seminar and performance
at the Rose Theatre Kingston
24-26 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL
Box Office (10.00 – 18.00) 020 8174 0090 /