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Berlin 2015

The Sixty-First Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America

Berlin, 26–28 March 2015

Skip ahead to:
Conference Schedule
Conference Venue
Membership and Participation
Berlin Hotel Reservations and Information
Room Share Blog
Plenaries, Awards, and Special Events Schedule
Business Meetings
Associate Organization Receptions and Meetings
Travel Grants
Acceptance and Commitment
Participant FAQs
Guidelines for Panel and Roundtable Participants at the RSA Annual Meeting
Preliminary conference information

RSA 2015 Berlin Newsletters

Newsletter 1: audio-visual support for presenters, wifi, and conference etiquette

Newsletter 2: mobile program app and print program PDF available, what to expect at Humboldt University, and Opening and Closing Reception information

Newsletter 3: Registration and RSA-sponsored meetings, special events, and plenary sessions

Registration Hours and Location

Wednesday, 25 March: 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, 26 March: 7:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday, 27 March: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 28 March: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Registration will be located in the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Hauptgebäude (main building) first floor Audimax Cloak Room. For the sake of security, registrants will not be permitted to pick up badges and Opening Reception tickets for other conference attendees.

Please plan to enter the Hauptgebäude at the north entrance if you wish to register while sessions are in progress; it will not be possible to pass through the Audimax to reach Registration while sessions are happening.

Conference Schedule

The mobile program app for the annual meeting in Berlin is now available. Our RSA 2015 Berlin app includes all session and paper information including abstracts along with maps, event listings, and dining suggestions. Once downloaded to your compatible smartphone or tablet, our app does not require an internet connection in order to work.

The scheduled program is now available online. Please note that the Program Calendar function currently works best with touchscreen browsing on tablets and smart phones. To use the Program Calendar on a desktop or laptop, click your mouse inside the calendar and then drag the screen up/down and left/right.

A pdf of the print program is available. The print program does not include cancellations received after the print deadline. Please consult the online program for the most current program.

Program corrections and other changes were accepted by the RSA office through 1 December 2014. To change your affiliation, please sign in to your RSA member profile and go to Manage Profile > Edit Bio to change any details. The new affiliation will update in the online program within 24 hours. Please note that changes made to your affiliation after mid-December may not be reflected in the printed program. Please be sure to update your email address if necessary, in order to continue to receive important conference announcements.

Conference Venue

The conference panels, distribution of registration materials, all plenary lectures, and the book exhibit will take place at Humboldt University. Sessions will be held in a number of buildings on campus. The Hauptgebäude on Unter den Linden will be the site for registration, the Mann Phillips lecture, the Bennett lecture (according to the current plan), and the book exhibit. We do not have any sessions, lectures, or meetings scheduled at any of the conference hotels.

This map does the best job of showing the location of the conference venues and the current list of conference hotels.

Membership and Participation

All accepted conference participants must become members for the calendar year 2015, in addition to registering for the conference. Membership for 2015 is available now. Most current members are enrolled in auto-renewal; auto-renewals are processed on 31 December each year.

Conference Submitters and expired members who are accepted to the conference must renew their membership for the year of the conference.


March 19 update: If you register after today you will not have a preprinted namebadge at registration. Please bring a printed receipt to the registration desk in Berlin and allow extra time to have a badge printed.

Registration is open. All conference participants should have registered by 15 November 2014. If your membership has expired or you have a temporary Conference Submitter membership, please renew for 2015 membership first, then register for the conference. Renewing your membership first will allow you to register for the conference at the member rate.

Conference Registration will be located in the main building's Audimax coat room (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, first floor, Audimax coat room).


from 20 March
(including onsite)
 Student member

Berlin Hotel Reservations and Information

If you have questions about your existing hotel reservation or are unable to find a room on the reservation site please contact Rusty Farmer of Connections Housing at or 404.842.0000.

Update as of March 17: The reservations site is closed. You may click here to complete an online request and a Connections Housing travel specialist will contact you.  You may also call them directly at 702-476-6976 if you prefer to speak to an agent. The rooms offered are not at the RSA rates, nor are they guaranteed to be at one of the current RSA partner hotels.  This is strictly a service to assist with rooms in Berlin and are not necessarily part of the initial RSA hotel portfolio.

Hotel Policies

For the convenience of members, RSA has contracted with a number of Berlin hotels for guest rooms during the 2015 Berlin conference. Hotels are located close to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where all sessions will be scheduled; please refer to this map for hotel locations relative to the university. Most of the hotels have strict cancellation policies. We urge you to familiarize yourself with the cancellation policies when finalizing your reservation. RSA is not responsible for individual members’ hotel reservations in the event that you cannot participate in the conference or otherwise need to change your reservation. Below we have included summaries of the hotel policies. More complete cancellation information is available within the reservation site.

  • Hilton Berlin
  • NH Berlin Friedrichstrasse
  • Park Inn
  • Radisson Blu
  • Ramada
  • Rocco Forte Hotels (Hotel de Rome)
  • Sofitel
  • Westin

Room Share Blog

A room sharing blog is available for those looking for share a hotel room in Berlin. For privacy reasons, you must be signed in to this site to use the blog.


Welcome Kids
RSA provides the name and website of the above childcare supplier as a service to members who may be interested, but the RSA assumes no responsibility or liability for their performance, licensing, insurance, and so on. If plans must be made closer to the meeting dates, attendees can also call their selected hotel’s concierge desk for a list of childcare providers maintained by the hotel.

Plenaries, Awards, and Special Events Schedule

Click to view the events scheduled for each day.

  • 7:00–9:00 p.m. — Opening Reception

    Location: Bode Museum, Am Kupfergruben (Museum Island), Berlin

    Date: Wednesday, 25 March 2015

    Museum open: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    Sparkling wine served in the museum lobby: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

    Who may attend: All conference attendees registered online by 20 March will be able to attend the Opening Reception. You do not need to register to attend the Opening Reception separately and there is no additional cost to attend.

    How to enter the reception: You must show both a registration badge and ticket to enter the Bode Museum. One or the other will not suffice. Please pick up your badge and ticket at Conference Registration between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 25 March. Registration will be located at: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, first floor, Audimax Cloak Room. For the sake of security, registrants will not be permitted to pick up bagdes and tickets for other conference attendees.

    No guest tickets offered for the opening reception: Guest tickets will not be offered for this event due to museum restrictions related to space and security concerns.

    Coat check: Please be prepared to check your coat and any large bags you are carrying.

  • 6:30–8:00 p.m. — Plenary Session: Rethinking Renaissance Humanism in Germany and Italy

    Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dorotheenstr. 24/1, 1.101

    Chair: Johannes Helmrath, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Jan-Dirk Müller, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich (emeritus)

    Latin and Vernacular Renaissance Literature in Germany

    As opposed to the situation in other countries that had once been part of the Roman Empire and also in England, in Renaissance Germany there was no strong impulse (except in the realm of religion) toward vernacular literature. A nationalist literary scholarship has obscured this fact, placing emphasis instead on vernacular authors, such as Albrecht von Eyb and Niklas von Wyle, who made ancient or contemporary Italian authors available to a German-speaking audience. The resulting picture is distorted, as it was in large part through Latin literature that German lands participated in the European discourse of the Renaissance. I would like to revisit this issue, in part by reconsidering the relationship between vernacular and learned language in authors such as Brant, Erasmus, Luther, and Fischart.

    James Hankins, Harvard University

    Neglected Sources and Themes in Humanist Political Thought

    Since the Second World War “republican liberty” has been emphasized as the central focus of humanist political thought. This focus reflects the cognitive biases of the modern period rather than exhaustive study of the source base. A more comprehensive review of the evidence suggests that humanist political thinking had as its predominant focus the theme of virtue; in consequence it produced a set of shared political assumptions one may label “virtue politics” on the analogy of “virtue ethics.” This paper will discuss virtue politics and call attention to a range of neglected topics in humanist political literature, including the morality of interstate relations; cosmopolitanism; theories of legitimacy; moral standards for governing subject territories; the rise and fall of empires; attitudes to the Roman Republic; anti-Augustinian defenses of pagan Roman virtue; citizen liberties under monarchy; and the critique of legalism and the advocacy of discretionary powers for virtuous rulers.

  • 6:30–7:00 p.m. — RSA Annual Membership Meeting

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Audimax

    Annual Membership Meeting webpage

    All RSA members are invited

    7:00–8:00 p.m. — Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture

    Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society

    Organizer: Eric Macphail, Indiana University

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Audimax

    Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

    Renaissance Humanism and Christian Antiquity: Philology, Fantasy, and Collaboration

    This lecture will ask how Renaissance scholars devised their visions of early Christianity. It will begin with a brief review of some of the learned and penetrating literature that has illuminated this subject over the last half century. Then it will trace three themes: how humanists tried to reconstruct Christian antiquity as it really was, using sophisticated critical and antiquarian practices; how humanists, artists, and others invented attractive versions of Christian antiquity, using sophisticated artistic and literary methods; and how humanists and printers learned to work together, and by doing so filled the marketplace with a vast range of material.

    8:00–9:00 p.m. — Graduate Student Meet-Up

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Cum Laude Restaurant

    This will be a very informal chance for graduate students to meet and mingle with their colleagues and mentors. Drinks will be available for purchase at the bar.

  • 5:30–6:00 p.m. — Awards Ceremony

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Audimax

    William Nelson Prize
    Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize
    Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Book Prize
    Paul Oskar Kristeller Lifetime Achievement Award

    6:00–7:00 p.m. — Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

    Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Audimax

    Horst Bredekamp, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

    Berlin, the Second Florence: Fragments of a Broken Mirror

    From the Baroque era onward, the myth of Florence established by poets, philosophers, and historians from Leonardo Bruni to Giorgio Vasari irresistibly outshone Troy and Rome as the main historic sites of orientation. In Germany, Dresden established its splendor in part as a second Florence. But Berlin cannot be understood without considering its self-reflection in Renaissance Florence. The lecture will reconstruct Berlin’s aim to reactivate Florence as a model and to shift the unparalleled energy of Renaissance Florentine culture from the Arno to the Spree. The lecture’s iter will pass through Berlin's pre- and post-revolutionary culture before and after 1848, the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the totalitarian aftermath, and the post-war period. It will deal with the special role that Berlin’s buildings, collections, and historic disciplines played for the refiguration of the myth of Florence in the nineteenth and twentieth century: in its greatness and its precarious aspects.

    8:00–10:00 p.m. — Closing Reception

    Location: Gemäldegalerie, Kulturforum, Matthäikirchplatz, Berlin

    Date: Saturday, 28 March 2015

    Museum open: 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

    Food and drink served: approximately 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

    Who may attend: All conference attendees will be able to attend the Closing Reception. You do not need to register separately to attend the Closing Reception and there is no additional cost to attend.

    Transportation to and from the Closing Reception: bus transportation to the Kulturforum from the Humboldt University Hauptgebäude will be provided immediately following the Bennett Lecture in the Audimax and Kinosaal. Bus transportation from the Kulturforum to Potsdamer Platz, Gendarmenmarkt, and Alexanderplatz will be provided for those leaving the Closing Reception.

    How to enter the reception: You must show a registration badge to enter the Kulturforum. For the sake of security, registrants will not be permitted to pick up badges for other conference attendees.

    Guest tickets: Guest tickets for spouses and partners of registered conference attendees will be offered for the Closing Reception. Guest tickets cost $95 and should be purchased by 25 March 2015 on our website; for the sake of security no guest tickets will be sold at the door of the Closing Reception. Children under the age of 18 will not be permitted to attend the Closing Reception due to museum restrictions.

    Coat check: Please be prepared to check your coat and any bags larger than a small purse that you are carrying if you wish to enter the Gemäldegalerie. Luggage cannot be checked.

Business Meetings

The Executive Board is meeting on Thursday, 26 March at 12:00 in the Winckelmann-Sammlung room in the main building at Humboldt University (Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6). See the meeting page for agenda and documents.

The Council (Executive Board Members, Associate Organization Representatives, Discipline Representatives) is meeting on Friday, 27 March at 12:00 in Cum Laude restaurant, located in the main building at Humboldt University (Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6). See the meeting page for agenda and documents. Council members should RSVP by 17 March

The Annual Membership Meeting (all members are invited) will be held on Friday, 27 March at 6:30 p.m. in the Audimax (located in the main building at Humboldt University (Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6). See the meeting page for agenda and documents.

Associate Organization Receptions and Meetings

Click to view the events scheduled for each day.

  • 2:45–3:45 p.m. — Erudition and the Republic of Letters - new journal launch (Brill)

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, first floor, East Wing Hallway (just down from the book exhibit, located in the Senatssaal)

    Erudition and the Republic of Letters is a peer-reviewed journal devoted primarily to the history of scholarship, intellectual history, and to the respublica literaria broadly conceived. It encapsulates multifarious aspects of higher learning as well as the manner in which such knowledge transcends confessional and geopolitical boundaries. Come join Prof. Mordechai Feingold, Editor-in-Chief and editorial board members at ERL’s celebrative launch party. Hosted by Brill (Michiel Thijssen, acquisitions editor).

    2:45–3:00 p.m. — American Boccaccio Association Meeting

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, second floor, room 3075

    7:00–8:30 p.m. — Italian Art Society/Historians of Netherlandish Art 2015 Reception

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, ground level, Studentenwerk Cafe

    The Italian Art Society, with the generous support of the Historians of Netherlandish Art, will hold a reception with cash bar. Light refreshments will be provided. For questions, please contact IAS Events Coordinator Gilbert Jones or IAS President Sheryl Reiss. In Berlin, please contact Sheryl Reiss.

    Please note that this reception is open only to members of the IAS and HNA.

    The reception is limited to 150 guests. If space is available, memberships will be taken at the door. RSVP if you plan to attend no later than 10 March 2015.

    7:30–9:30 p.m. — Society of Fellows of the American Academy in Rome Reception

    Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, second floor, Archaischer Saal

  • 5:00–7:00 p.m. — Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence (NIKI) reception

    The Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence (NIKI) is hosting a drinks reception (cash bar) on Saturday 28th March from 5-7pm at 'La Banca', the lobby bar in Hotel de Rome, Behrenstrasse 37, Berlin.

    All friends of the NIKI, old and new, are welcome to attend.

Travel Grants

RSA awards a limited number of travel grants to assist speakers who will be traveling to Berlin from outside Europe. These grants are competitive, not guaranteed; the average award is $500. Funding comes from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Renaissance Society of America. Travel grant applications were due at the time of proposal submission, and awards were announced in November.

Read More

Who may apply?

Authors of papers in art history are eligible for Kress grants; they are awarded based on demonstrated need to art historians who lack sufficient travel funds. RSA travel grants are awarded in all disciplines. They support graduate students as well as degree holders without either a tenured or tenure-track position. Application is limited to scholars presenting their research; session organizers, chairs, respondents, or roundtable participants will not be considered for funding.

When are grants awarded?

RSA committees reviewed all applications, and submitted a list of Kress candidates to the Kress Foundation for further review. Upon receiving good news from the Kress Foundation, RSA announced travel grant decisions in November.


Acceptance and Commitment

Accepted participants or their sponsoring institution/organization must plan to fund their own travel and lodging expenses in addition to the membership and conference fees. The registration fee is used to pay for conference facilities and events, audio-visual expenses, receptions, printed and electronic program materials, and the year-round staffing needed to produce the conference. Because these expenses are incurred all year long, the registration fee is not refundable.

Acceptance to the conference is a commitment to attend. If you are accepted to the conference but find that you are in fact unable to participate, you are obliged to inform both the organizer of your session and RSA as soon as possible, and no later than the registration deadline. To withdraw from the conference after the registration deadline, except in cases of emergency, is discourteous to your colleagues and is considered unacceptable by RSA. If you cannot attend the conference, your paper may not be read by someone else and you will not be listed in the program.

Preliminary conference information

Participant FAQs

List of book exhibitors

Berlin tours

Special Bode Museum Exhibition: The Missing Museum: The Berlin Sculpture and Paintings Collections 70 Years After World War II

Annual Meeting Submission Guidelines (submissions for Berlin are closed)

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