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Representations of the Continents in the Early Modern World

Posted By Louise Arizzoli, Saturday, April 29, 2017

European artists and writers visualized the known world through personifications holding attributes related to each continent. After its discovery, America was added to the figures of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Allegories developed, reviving the Greek habit to depict abstract concepts in the human form. During the sixteenth century, continent personifications started to appear in pageants, atlases and prints, and became a very popular iconographical motif throughout Europe in all artistic media. These figures clearly show the way Europeans perceived the rest of the world - often characterized as a stereotypical Other – and were generally designed to express Europe’s belief of its own superiority, as well as its quest for a newer global identity.

We are welcoming papers for a session at the Renaissance Society of America, New Orleans, 22- 24 March 2018, dealing broadly with visual, literary and cartographical representations of the continents in the early modern world, from different regions of Europe. We would also welcome presentations on ancient and medieval sources for the continents’ iconography--the themes of Europa and the Bull, Africa with elephant tusk headdress, Asia with incense burner, and the Adoration of the Magi; transformations in America from cannibalistic to civilized; personification of cities and rivers, as well as travel accounts, early modern maps, and literary descriptions of the known and unknown continents. We would also welcome papers dealing with non-western perspectives – artistic or cartographical – on Europe. This call for papers would like to expand on the sessions of RSA held in Chicago 2017.

 Please send proposals to Louise Arizzoli (larizzol@olemiss.edu) and Maryanne Horowitz (horowitz@oxy.edu). Include in your proposal: name and affiliation, paper title (max. 15 words), abstract (max. 150 words), and a brief CV (max. 300 words; in ordinary CV format).

Email proposals as soon as possible, but no later than May 25, 2017.

Applicants will hear whether paper proposal fits in this group submission by 4 June, for the RSA submission deadline of 7 June 2017.

Tags:  Allegory  Art History  Continents  Geography  Travel Literature 

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