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Embodying Value: Representing Money in the Early Modern Period

Posted By Natasha Seaman, Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Embodying Value: Representing Money in the Early Modern Period

Joanna Woodall and Natasha Seaman, co-organizers


As media of exchange, coins were essential to trade and economic development in the early modern period. Their double-sided form and the precious materials from which they were made had deep resonance in European culture and beyond. The efficacy of coins depended on faith in their inherent value but they were subject to debasement and counterfeiting.  This session seeks papers that explore the signifying potential of money in works of art, and how abstract concepts of value intersect with and are figured in material and monetary forms. While the art market may have some relevance to this subject, papers selected will have as their primary focus the particular character of coins as physical and semiotic entities, money as it appears within images and texts, and how concepts of money and currency can inform our understanding of works of art in this period.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to


Depictions of coins in exchange, gifts, or theft

Represented coins in hoards and kunstkammers

Coins as metaphors in literature

Coins and the production of knowledge

Counterfeiting and debasement in works of art

Coins in relation to portrait medals, seals, or pilgrimage badges

Coins and the Eucharist and/or Incarnation

The materiality, design and production of coins in relation to their value and use


Please send proposals to Natasha Seaman ( and Joanna Woodall ( by Friday, May 27, 2016.

As per RSA guidelines, proposals should include the following: paper title (15-word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum). See


Tags:  Art History  coins  History  intellectual history  interdisciplinary  Literature 

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