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News & Notes

Fall 2012

Volume XXIV.2

In This Issue:

CUNY Graduate Center logo

Four New Residential Grants

by Monique O'Connell

The Renaissance Society is pleased to announce four new grant opportunities. We've expanded our residential grants program to include fellowships at four of the most prestigious libraries and centers for Renaissance studies in North America: The Huntington Library in San Marino, CA; the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; and the CRRS Centre at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. These new opportunities will complement our already established international fellowships at the Centro Vittorio Branca in Venice, Italy; and at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. All of these institutions offer not only world class collections of books, manuscripts, and research materials, but also vibrant intellectual communities of other researchers.

The partnerships with the Folger, Huntington, Newberry, and CRRS are part of the RSA's ongoing efforts to work with national and international organizations to promote Renaissance studies and to offer our members research opportunities at outstanding libraries and research centers. The RSA grant program has helped hundreds of scholars complete dissertations, articles, translations and edited volumes, and books, and this sort of research support is proving more and more important in today's climate of limited institutional budgets. Younger scholars are particularly vulnerable to these pressures, and we hope that the expansion of the RSA's residential grant program will help secure a vibrant future for Renaissance studies. Guidelines and requirements for application are found on the grants page.

2012 Prize and Grant Winners

POK Lifetime Achievement Award

James Hankins, Harvard University

Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize

Elizabeth Eva Leach, University of Oxford
Guillaume de Machaut: Secretary, Poet, Musician
Cornell University Press

William Nelson Prize

Stefania Tutino, University of California, Santa Barbara
”Nothing but the Truth: Hermeneutics and Morality in the Doctrines of Equivocation and Mental Reservation in Early Modern Europe”
Volume 64, no. 1 (Spring 2011) of Renaissance Quarterly

Samuel H. Kress Fellowships in Renaissance Art History

Sarah McPhee, Emory University
Bernini's Beloved: A Portrait of Costanza Piccolomini
Adelina Modesti, La Trobe University
Elizabetta Siriani and Women's Cultural Production
Janna Israel, Virginia Commonwealth University
”As Though Another Byzantium”: Representation in Early Modern Venice
Erin Benay, State University Of New York Oswego
Italy by Way of India: Routes of Devotional Knowledge in the Early Modern Period
Evelyn Cohen, Jewish Theological Seminary
Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts as a Reflection of Italian Renaissance Life and Culture

Rensselaer W. Lee Memorial Grant in Art History

Mari Yoko Hara, University of Virginia
The Painter-Architect Baldassare Peruzzi and his Application of Vitruvian scaenographia

Renaissance Society of America Research Grants

Melissa Moreton, University of Iowa
Nuns' Book Production in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italy
Matthew Smith, University of Southern California
Grounds of Belief: The Self and the Sacred in Renaissance Performance
Krystel Chehab, University of British Colombia
Picturing Sacred Things: Realism, Animation and Desengano in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Still-Life Painting
Justine Walden, Yale University
Before Savonarola: Religious Experience and Humanism in Laurentian Florence
April Oettinger, Goucher College
Landscape and the Poetics of Vision in the Art of Lorenzo Lotto
Ashley Elston, Rollins College
When Duccio's Maesta is not Enough: Changes in Siena's Cathedral in the Fifteenth Century
Elizabeth Horodowich, New Mexico State University
Armchair Travelers and the Venetian Discovery of America
John Monfasani, State University Of New York Albany
A Critical Edition of George of Trezibond's Translation of Eusebius's Praeparatio Evangelica
Anne Leader, Savannah College Of Art And Design
A Topography of Tombs in Renaissance Florence

Paul Oskar Kristeller Memorial Grant

Nandini Das, University Of Liverpool
An Edition of Levant Travels, South Asia, and Anglo-Ottoman Diplomacy in Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations

The Bodleian Library Research Grant

Susan Nalezyty, Independent Scholar
Poetic Ensemble: Pietro Bembo as Art Collector

The Patricia H. Labalme Grant

Jesse Howell, Harvard University
The Ragusa Road: Mobility and Encounter in the Ottoman Balkans 1430-1700

Roundtable: ”New Trends in the History of Science”

Moderated by Monica Calabritto
Associate Professor, Romance Languages & Comparative Literature, CUNY, Hunter College and The Graduate Center


Nancy Siraisi
Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, CUNY, Hunter College and The Graduate Center
Brian Copenhaver
Professor of Philosophy & History, University of California, Los Angeles
Pamela Smith
Professor of History, Columbia University
Sheila Rabin
Professor of History, St. Peter's College
Allison Kavey
Associate Professor of History, CUNY, John Jay College and The Graduate Center
Dániel Margócsy
Assistant Professor of History, CUNY, Hunter College

Friday, October 19, 2:00-4:00pm
Segal Theatre, CUNY, Graduate Center

Sponsored by the Renaissance Society of America and the Renaissance Studies Certificate Program at CUNY, The Graduate Center

2013 San Diego Annual Meeting

Registration is open.

More information about San Diego 2013 can be found on the meeting page.


Volunteers Needed

Volunteer to chair a session at the 2013 San Diego Annual Meeting: please see the sessions that need a chair page for more details.

In Memoriam page

The RSA website now includes an In Memoriam page. The page is in blog format allowing visitors to the page to comment.

To submit an obituary please contact RSA at Please send up to 500 words. You may include up to two digital images (max 5 MB each).

Book Discounts

Members are offered a discount on books from the University of Chicago Press, publisher of Renaissance Quarterly. Visit the Member Subscriptions page (sign in required) for more information and discount codes.

Submit your News

Post your news, announcements, calls for papers and others events on the RSA website.
Calendar Events

Renaissance News & Notes
The Renaissance Society of America
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, rm 5400
New York, NY 10016–4309
Phone: 212–817–2130
Fax: 212–817–1544
RNN is published biannually (Winter and Autumn). Members receive it as part of their membership. Members will also find on the site an archive of past issues of RNN. RNN is produced by Maura Kenny and Erika Suffern.

Your Opinions: The Annual Meeting

by Ann E. Moyer, Executive Director

As we continue our planning for the upcoming meeting in San Diego, your responses to our surveys about past meetings have been helpful, interesting, and at times, entertaining. Some 205 members responded to the general survey; 165 session chairs did likewise. Our website company even provides us with little graphs of eligible responses. You can see the results here.

We certainly are of one opinion on the need for wi-fi at conferences. Everyone wants it, no one wants to pay for it. The situation in Washington was an unhappy surprise; the lack of cellphone reception in some of the lower level spaces sent us all scrambling for wi-fi, which turned out to be pricey. Wi-fi is usually not a contract item because the technology changes so quickly, so we will try to do our best to sort through this issue case by case in future years.

Speaking of costs: we heard a number of comments about registration fees. Our registration fee was raised to its current rate in 2010; the previous increase was in 2004. Current registration fees for the American Historical Association, College Art Association, American Musicological Society, and American Political Science Association all average slightly higher fees. All of them also have differential rates for early versus late registration, a practice we may adopt as well. In any case, we are holding our rate steady for four years in a row, and plan to do our very best in this regard. Our opening reception at San Diego, which promises to be a lovely occasion, will include a cash bar, a preference you all expressed strongly over a rate increase.

The fans of the abstract-filled program book may breathe easier for now; the majority wants to keep the abstracts in the printed program. Those who feel otherwise are equally strong in their opinions, however, and as technologies change we will revisit this issue.

Some of you would like a smaller conference: "It's getting a little too big” is something several of you said. "I would prefer a conference program that is more selective -- less panels, but higher quality,” said another. These are useful points, though not so simple to address. Yes, the conference has become larger over the years; there were 1,800 of us in Washington (1,600 on the program in one way or another), something over 1,400 in Montreal, at least 2,500 in Venice, all far higher numbers than conference attendance a decade ago. On the other hand, RSA is larger as well; we have about 3,800 members. That means that just under half of us attend the annual meeting, a very healthy figure given that RSA hosts no job interviews. Our program committees do their best to match the need for quality control against the need to be inclusive and to encourage younger scholars; it was the subject of many collegial but energetic debates when we met in San Diego. Collegiality and networking are vital parts of our annual meeting, and most of us receive no travel subsidy to attend conferences unless we are also participants. Most importantly, RSA is the primary international venue for scholars in our fields to present their work and to exchange ideas with colleagues and specialists. Discipline-based societies such as CAA or AHA offer few opportunities for us to discuss our research or to hear about current trends. This is a vital service to our members and to the profession.

In San Diego there will be a few clusters of similar fields in adjacent rooms, which may allow you to move more easily between those sessions and feel a bit less caught in a crowd. To the extent possible, like topics are scheduled in succession in a given location; one Shakespeare session is followed by another, in the same room, throughout the entire conference. So too, chains of sessions organized around a single theme follow one another in the same room. Nonetheless, if there are more than 12 sessions on related topics, at least two of them will overlap; thus any given time slot includes two and perhaps more sessions on Renaissance drama. We have an embarrassment of riches every year.

Ask two academics, get three opinions... How do you feel about adding a fifth session to the day? "I want to emphasize how much I did enjoy having five sessions, even if it made the day longer. I think that was a change for the better.” "Please try to avoid 5 sessions (like Thursday in DC). I gave a paper at a fifth session; I was tired, the audience was tired and no one wanted to ask questions after the speakers had finished (but there was a good group at the bar afterwards where the conversation continued).” Respondents were pretty much evenly divided here. If we are in a situation again where we are cramped for space, it is good to know we can live with five sessions, though, as one of you suggested, perhaps not every day. Otherwise we will continue with four sessions. And yes, many of our best discussions always take place afterwards in a bar. (San Diego preview: we found during our visit that one of our session rooms actually is a former bar, though alas, it will lack a bartender. Those of you who find yourselves there may expect some excellent discussion time.)

Many of you expressed intense dislike of the parlor suites ... except those who were very fond of them. As you know, they were an emergency measure to keep us all together in one place. We did not, as one or two of you suggested darkly, assign them (or the room that was very cold, or the room that had weird lights) because we disrespect your field or your association. The conference is not scheduled while we are on site, and we do our best with the room charts they provide. If only these charts included little warnings such as, "this room has strange light controls,” "this room doubles as a sauna/walk-in freezer,” or "we are lying to you about the screen size and resolution here,” but as they do not, we are spared such temptations.

And of course we are grateful to the many members who left the many positive comments about the conference. "I cannot think of something I would like to change.” "I am very happy.” "I thought that the session with the RQ editor was a great idea.” "Attending the RSA meeting is one of the high points of my year... The wide variety and high quality of the papers, and the interdisciplinary nature of the event make it the most stimulating conference out there.” Those words of cheer help make it worthwhile to fuss over balky software, room charts, and potential insufficiencies of coffee. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

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Donate to the POK Mellon Match

by Edward Muir, President

Dear Colleagues:

When the resolute few gathered in 1954 to found the Renaissance Society of America, they could have hardly imagined the dynamic international organization of close to 4,000 members that it would become nearly sixty years later. The RSA fund named in honor of one of those founders, Paul Oskar Kristeller, provides a research grant of $3,000 each year, made possible by an initial award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional grants from the Ambrosiana and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundations.

Graph image of progress towards POK donations goal

One of the stipulations of the Mellon award to create a permanent source of funding is that the RSA must raise a matching amount by the end of 2012. The end of the matching period is fast upon us. Thanks to your generous support we are now 90 percent of the way to our goal. We now come to you for a final push to help us meet our goal in support of these scholarships of particular importance to younger researchers. When the goal is met, RSA will be able to offer three Paul Oskar Kristeller grants per year.

We need your help now, especially if you are a tenured faculty member. Please consider a tax-deductable gift of $100 or more to the Paul Oskar Kristeller Fund. Consider it a contribution for the future of scholarship.

Follow this link to make a secure online donation. You may make a one-time donation, a monthly recurring donation, or a fixed sum divided into several monthly payments.

Please act now.

Many thanks for your help,
Edward Muir

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RSA in San Diego

by George L. Gorse (Art History, Pomona College) and John Marino (History, UCSD)
Members of the RSA Program Committee for San Diego

San Diego is one of the most beautiful harbor cities and climates in the world. The adjacent Sheraton Marina and Bay conference hotels are within easy walking distance from the airport, with free hotel shuttles also available at the terminals. Cultural opportunities include an exciting opening reception at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park on Wednesday, April 3. This will introduce conference-goers to two rich art collections within the Spanish Colonial Revival Panama-California Exposition Park of 1915. Bus shuttles from the Sheraton Marina to the opening reception will be provided. Evening shuttle service will also be available during the conference to Little Italy and the Gas Lamp Quarter, which have an array of good restaurants, old commercial to postmodern buildings, and urban entertainment spaces. Lists of attractive eateries and sights will be made available.

Image of the San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art

By taxi, harbor ferry, downtown trolley, and rented car from the airport, you can easily visit many of the natural and historic sites. Sixty-five years before the first English settlement on the North American continent, and seventy-eight years before the Mayflower crossed the Atlantic, Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sighted Point Loma, the peninsula to the southwest of the airport and hotel. He entered San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542, which he called San Miguel, to be renamed 60 years later by another explorer, Sebastián Vizcaino. Cabrillo sailed north six days later. He was met by the Kumeyaay people, whose ancestors go back some 9,000 years to the earliest indications of human habitation in the region, and they still have thirteen reservations in San Diego County. The San Diego Maritime Museum is building a full-sized, fully functional, and historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, the San Salvador, with RSA member Carla Phillips as historical consultant, and also maintains a number of other historic vessels. San Diego Harbor Excursion offers tours of San Diego Bay. The US National Park Service maintains the Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of Point Loma, a site worth visiting for its panoramic views, history, and ecology with over 300 native plants, 346 bird species spotted from the peninsula, and a prime location for whale watching during their mid-December through March migrations. This, plus the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, makes for an abundance of natural "wonders” in scenic San Diego.

Old Town San Diego (with its many colonial buildings, tourist shops, and Mexican restaurants) is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in Alta California, founded in 1769, forming one end of the epic Camino Real (Royal Military Road) of pueblos, presidios, and Franciscan missions, from San Diego to Sonoma, north of San Francisco, reminiscent of the medieval crusading-pilgrimage roads of Europe to Santiago de Campostela. With independence from Spain, a Mexican community was formed here in the 1820s; and the Mexican-American War saw the United States flag raised in its plaza in 1846, with California statehood following in 1850. California has designated Old Town San Diego a State Historic Park.

San Diego is named after St. Didacus (San Diego) de Alcalá, a fifteenth-century Franciscan, best known as the saint who miraculously cured Spanish King Philip II’s son, Don Carlos, after his fall in 1562; he remained a favorite saint of Philip II’s, with canonization in 1588. The San Diego de Alcalá Mission (in Mission Valley) is one of the most beautiful and prototypical of the Spanish Missions that define California, then and now, with its signature white stucco bell towers, scenic facades, open plazas, enclosed convents and service areas, and open preaching naves with painted wood retablos. On the California missions and Franciscan Father Junípero Serra, "Father Presidente” of the Alta California Missions, required readings include University of Redlands historian, James A. Sandos’s, "Junípero Serra’s Canonization and the Historical Record,” The American Historical Review 93 (December 1988): 1253-69; Converting California: Indians and Franciscans in the Missions (Western Americana Series), New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004; and The Missions of California, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1988. San Diego is a twin city with Tijuana. The Mexican border is only seventeen miles south of downtown San Diego. It can be easily reached by public transportation, via the San Diego Trolley and a pedestrian border crossing. Remember to bring your passport.

For modernist pilgrims, a rented car with friends will get you fifteen miles north to the awe-inspiring Jonas Salk Biological Research Institute in La Jolla (10010 North Torrey Pines Road, San Diego, 92037, gated with access to the outdoor plaza from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday) to experience firsthand Louis Kahn’s "sublime” transformation of Renaissance perspective (e.g., Michelangelo’s Campidoglio) via Caspar Friedrich’s Romantic into Le Corbusier’s Modern Cubist metaphysical space. While in La Jolla, visit the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, built by innovative Spanish Revival-Modernist architect Irving Gill and wrapped by Robert Venturi’s postmodern columnar addition. Closer to the conference hotel, the majestic Victorian Queen Anne Railroad Hotel del Coronado of 1887 on Coronado Island is one of the great surviving wood structures in the US, a modern sacred-to-secular reinterpretation of Medieval and Renaissance domed "martyria basilicas” (e.g., Pisa Baptistery and Cathedral to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, á la Richard Krautheimer in his classic essay on "architectural iconography”). The Hotel del Coronado is easily recognized as the location of two classic Hollywood films, Some Like it Hot and The Stunt Man.

Make this pilgrimage to RSA in San Diego, an opportunity of a lifetime, and take extra time (if you can) to savor the city, its many natural sites and history; and bring your bathing suit (pilgrimage apparel at the hotel pools and beautiful southern California beaches) to enjoy a rich conference of RSA sessions and related excursions in this place of wonder in the sun. See you there!

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Focus on Research: Paul Oskar Kristeller Grants

by Patricia W. Manning, University of Kansas

Why Book Vendors Asked the Inquisition to Intervene: Understanding a 1655 Petition by the Brotherhood of Booksellers in Madrid

Social status often mitigated the impact of the Spanish Inquisition on the lives of the elite, particularly concerning reading material. Inquisitorial officials charged with inspecting books in Madrid admitted that they generally did not enter noble families’ private libraries to look for texts proscribed by the Inquisition. Because book vendors often lacked this protective class status, the Inquisition often subjected them to stringent regulation. After reading a petition made to the Inquisition in 1655 in which a group of booksellers affiliated with the Hermandad de San Jerónimo, the Brotherhood of Saint Jerome, a religious brotherhood of booksellers in Madrid, requested that the Inquisition more stringently work to control the circulation of banned texts, I began to suspect that the relationship between the Inquisition and this professional group was more complex than supervision. Thanks to a Paul Oskar Kristeller grant from the RSA, I spent two months in Madrid investigating the circumstances surrounding the Hermandad de San Jerónimo’s petition to the Inquisition. As a result, I have come to believe that this petition represents one part of a larger strategy on the part of the Hermandad de San Jerónimo to solidify its economic and cultural position.

In Madrid, I conducted research in at the Archivo Histórico Nacional (AHN) and Biblioteca Nacional. Surviving documentation from the Inquisition confirms that several signatories of the petition often violated the Inquisition’s requirements concerning documentation of the holdings of their bookstores. Yet, according to the hermandad’s request, these same individuals sought to curtail suspect commerce in books by denouncing itinerant vendors who trafficked in prohibited works. By calling attention to these travelling book merchants, the hermandad sought to ensure that all booksellers, whether or not they had fixed stores, were subject to the same level of scrutiny by the Inquisition. Clearly, this move would restrict the operations of the brotherhood’s commercial rivals.

As became clear in studying legal documents at the AHN, the hermandad zealously litigated to sell books as they saw fit, including fighting to print books funded by members outside of Spain (eventually losing due to legal restrictions on printing outside of Spain), and vigorously defending its privileges — exclusive rights to produce certain works for a given time period, usually ten years in this era. At the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, I examined seventeenth-century imprints financed collectively by the Hermandad de San Jerónimo. In addition to several frequently reprinted religious works, the hermandad funded the printing of a number of texts for educated professionals, such as medical and legal reference books. Given the massive size of these volumes, the expense of the paper required to produce them likely would have made them too costly for a single bookseller to finance alone. With the funds earned from book sales, the hermandad supported a chapel at the church of San Ginés and provided financial support for ailing members and their widows and orphans.

The hermandad provides a fascinating example of an institution whose members simultaneously tried to skirt the restrictions imposed on their profession by legal and inquisitorial authorities and yet attempted to make use of these same institutions to enhance the position of its members. While studies of court culture often focus on the nobility, the actions of the Hermandad de San Jerónimo demonstrate that an emergent merchant group in seventeenth-century Madrid developed by using institutions affiliated with the court to advance.

In an era of dwindling research budgets and diminishing state support for higher education (to say nothing of the strength of the euro versus the dollar), this grant was vital to my ability to make progress on a new research topic.

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Associate Organizations

RSA Welcomes New Associate Organizations


The International Margaret Cavendish Society

by James Fitzmaurice, University of Sheffield


The International Margaret Cavendish Society (MCS) was founded in July of 1997 at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The Society has conducted biennial meetings ever since with a general rule of alternating between North America and Europe (including England). Some venues have been Oregon State University, the University of Sheffield, McMaster University, the University of Paris (8), Wheaton College (MA), and the University of Ghent. The Society has about 60 paid members, 297 on the listserv, and 66 on the Facebook page. Much like the RSA, the membership is interdisciplinary. While those who study English literature form the largest group in MCS, our membership also includes historians of science, as well as scholars from modern languages, art history, and the history of political science.

MCS has published conference and conference-related volumes including: "Special Issue on Margaret Cavendish,” English Studies, vol. 92, no. 7, November, 2011; Cavendish and Shakespeare: Interconnections, eds., Katherine Romack and James Fitzmaurice, Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2006; Authorial Conquests: Essays on Genre in the Writings of Margaret Cavendish, eds., Nancy Weitz and Line Cottegnies, Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 2003; and A Princely Brave Woman: Collected Essays on Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, ed., Stephen Clucas, Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2003.

The goal of the Society is to promote better understanding of Margaret Cavendish in her time. We have fostered inquiry into Cavendish as an early modern woman dramatist and poet, as writer on science and philosophy, and as a member of a family of writers. Our meetings often include papers on her two step-daughters, Jane and Elizabeth, and sometimes deal with her relationship with her husband as collaborators in writing. We have been especially interested in encouraging graduate students, independent scholars, and beginning assistant professors to attend our meetings and to get to know senior scholars in the field, who attend on a regular basis. The writing of junior scholars is often included in our conference volumes. We award Sylvia Bowerbank Prizes (total of $200) for best papers by junior scholars at each conference. The Society has offered one or two panels at RSA every year beginning with 2006.

As with RSA, our outlook is international. Margaret Cavendish lived in Antwerp for most of the 1650s and our last conference took as its theme, "Cavendish and Anglo-European Cultural Exchange.”

Please visit the Society's website page for more information.


The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick, UK

by Maude Vanhaelen, University of Warwick


The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance is a large and broadly based research community with a high international reputation. The Centre is one of the few UK organizations to be a member of FISIER (the Fédération internationale des Sociétés et Instituts pour l’Etude de la Renaissance) and of the Consortium of Renaissance Centers associated with the Newberry Library’s Center for the Renaissance (Chicago). Other collaborations involve universities in Britain and Europe. The Centre has long been involved in the promotion of the Renaissance Society of America’s activities by encouraging its members to attend the RSA Annual Meetings. Since 2011 it has acquired the status of Associate Organization.

The interdisciplinary study of the Renaissance has been a strong feature of the University of Warwick since the appointment of the charismatic John Hale (1923–1999) as the founding professor of History in 1964; strongly supported by his fellow founder, Professor George Hunter (1920–2008) of English and Comparative Literary Studies. Sir John Hale inspired the Graduate School of Renaissance Studies, the forerunner of the present Centre for the Study of the Renaissance.

Today, the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance has over thirty members drawn from the academic staff of the departments of Classics, English & Comparative Literature, Theatre Studies, French Studies, Italian, History, and History of Art. The Centre aims to promote learning and research in the history and culture of the Renaissance. It offers a graduate program, hosts visiting fellows and postdoctoral researchers, and generally provides opportunities to colleagues within the university and in partnership with academic institutions in Britain and abroad to mount research projects and organize seminars and conferences to advance and stimulate our understanding of the Renaissance’s cultural heritage.

Thanks to the breadth and depth of Warwick’s expertise in the Renaissance the Centre has been home to a broad range of research projects. Current large-scale research initiatives include the James Shirley Project and Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy, both funded by the AHRC, as well as the Leverhulme International Network on Renaissance Conflict and Rivalries: Cultural Polemics in Europe, c. 1400–c. 1650. The Centre is well known for its organization of international conferences and symposia. In collaboration with the Newberry Library (Chicago) the Centre has also hosted workshops and summer schools for American and British advanced doctoral and early postdoctoral researchers, thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The provision of interdisciplinary graduate programs is a prominent feature of the Centre’s activities. The Centre offers a taught MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance, one of the few truly interdisciplinary programs in the UK. It also accepts postgraduate students for MA, MPhil, and PhD programs on both a full-time and part-time basis. It also organizes a number of events in Warwick’s center in Venice, which has been housed since 2007 in the fifteenth-century Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava. The Centre also organizes a weekly research seminar (STVDIO), which promotes the interdisciplinary study of the Renaissance in the UK and internationally.

Associate Organization News

Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Late Midle Ages: Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the American Cusanus Society

October 12–14, 2012
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA

The program includes plenary lectures by Thomas Burman (University of Tennessee Knoxville) and Asma Afsaruddin (Indiana University). We shall explore the complex relations between Christians and Muslims at the dawn of the modern age. Our focus will be on two works by Nicholas of Cusa: "De pace fidei,” a dialogue seeking peace among world religions written after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and the "Cribratio Alkorani” (1460-61), which attempts to confirm Gospel truths within a critical reading of the Qur’an. As we consider Nicholas, his sources and contexts, we shall encounter the tangled realities of Christian and Muslim efforts at polemic, translation and dialogue. To do justice to the range of perspectives involved, we shall also consider the Qur’an’s portrayal of Jesus and other Muslim responses to Christianity. In the end, we hope that our discussions will contribute to today’s urgent need for improved understanding between Muslims and Christians.

For more information, contact Donald Duclow at

Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Michigan

For more than twenty years the interdisciplinary program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies in the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has given graduate and undergraduate students a unique opportunity to study with distinguished faculty in history, history of art, architecture, archaeology, literature, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, and music.

To support the institutional home of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies faculty and graduate students, longtime University of Michigan faculty member Thomas Green and his wife Ruth, an artist, have established a $50,000 endowment. Green, a professor emeritus of law and history, has participated in MEMS for many years. The endowment will support the interdisciplinary collective enterprise featuring conferences, public lectures, discussion groups, dissertation writing workshops, and summer research grants to graduate students, which are critical to the scholarship and teaching of its members.

The MEMS program offers a minor for undergraduates and a certificate program for graduate students. Recent graduates have pursued careers in medicine, law, library and information science, business and teaching at universities and colleges. For more information, see the MEMS website.

Contact: Terre Fisher, (734) 763-2066,

ACMRS 19th Annual Conference

The Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) announces a call for papers for the 19th Annual Conference ACMRS Conference to be held February 14-16, 2013 at the Renaissance Hotel, Phoenix, AZ, USA. ACMRS welcomes any topic related to the study and teaching of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, especially those that focus on this year's theme of beasts, humans and transhumans both in literal and metaphorical manifestations. Proposals must be submitted electronically through 20 November 2012.

The keynote speaker at the conference is Professor Juliana Schiesari, Chair, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Davis. A pre-conference manuscript workshop will be available Thursday afternoon, 14 February 2013. For more information and details, please visit the ACMRS website or contact Michele Peters at or 602-965-9323.

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Plenaries, Awards, and Special Events for San Diego 2013

Wednesday, 3 April
Opening Reception
Location: San Diego Musuem of Art and Timken Museum
Thursday, 4 April
5:30–7:00 pm
Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture
Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Brian Cummings, University of Sussex
Erasmus and the Invention of Literature

It was once axiomatic that Erasmian humanism had an inaugural place in literary studies. "If you follow my advice,” Erasmus says at the opening of De pueris institutiendis, "you will see to it that your infant makes a first acquaintance with a liberal education immediately.” This is an education in bonae litterae and in litterae humaniores. In recent years the idea of a liberal education has taken a battering. The study of Erasmus's literary writings has happily devolved into other areas: into philology, grammar, and rhetoric. But does Erasmus have a concept of "literature” as such? And is it still worthy of debate? I will reexamine the idea of literature in Erasmus, both as a theory of imitation and as a medium of subjectivity, in order to suggest that his concepts are different from the way that we used to understand them and still have the capacity to surprise.

Friday, 5 April
5:30–7:00 pm
Plenary Session: Migration and Cultural Change in the Early Modern World
Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Organizer and Chair: Nicholas Terpstra, University of Toronto

Ida Altman, University of Florida
Migration and Mobility in the Early Modern Spanish World

As a doctoral student I set out to examine the connections between local society in Spain and emigration to Spanish America. I found that early modern Spaniards were well equipped in terms of their historical experience, family and kinship structures, and patterns of mobility linked to the search for economic opportunity to move into the newly acquired territories of the expanding empire. As they did so they retained many of their traditions and roots in particular localities. Migration and mobility proved to be central to the formation of new societies in Spanish America. The movements of all groups — Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans — were closely interconnected. Mobility and migration — often coerced or occurring under duress in the case of Indians and Africans — to a great extent defined the ordering of and contests over geographic space, and were fundamental to the configuration of early modern Spanish American societies and interethnic relations.

David B. Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania
Jews on the Move: Mobility, Migration, and the Shaping of Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe

Mass migrations initiated by governments as well as voluntary migrations of individuals were significant factors in shaping Jewish culture and society from the end of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. I will assess briefly their impact on the creation of new Jewish communal structures; on the social mixing of Jews with non-Jews, both Christian and Muslim; and on the intense and regularized encounters between Jews of disparate backgrounds and traditions who were obliged to live with each other in new social settings. I will also offer some suggestions on the relationship between mobility and cultural production. How was Jewish culture — both that of intellectuals and the less educated — transformed by the constant movement characteristic of this period? Finally, I will offer some tentative reflections on how the Jewish experience of mobility and migration was different or the same compared with similar groups in the Christian and Muslim worlds.

Steve Hindle, The Huntington Library
Movers and Stayers: Migration and Social Relations in Town and Countryside, ca. 1500–1700

The early modern period is conventionally understood to be one of the first great ages of European urbanization, in which the demographic growth of towns and cities fundamentally reshaped the social and economic contours of both rural and urban landscapes. Although migration was a key motor of this process, it will be argued that the spatial mobility of early modern populations must be understood in terms not only of the movement from the rural to the urban, but also between rural spaces, in which different patterns of settlement and association made possible new forms of economic activity and of social interaction. By reconceptualizing geographical mobility more broadly in terms of the relationship between "migrant-remitting” and "migrant-receiving” environments, population turnover can be understood not only as a contribution to the increasing significance of the "urban variable,” but also as a factor in the penetration of industry into the European countryside.

Saturday, 6 April
5:30–6:30 pm
RSA Members Business Meeting
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
All RSA members are invited
Saturday, 6 April
6:30–7:00 pm
Awards Ceremony
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Paul Oskar Kristeller Lifetime Achievement Award
Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Best Book Prize in Renaissance Venetian Studies
William Nelson Prize

Saturday, 6 April
7:00–8:00 pm
Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture
Sponsor: Renaissance Society of America
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

John M. Najemy, Cornell University

Saturday, 6 April
8:00–10:00 pm
Closing Reception
Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

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2013 Research Grants for Members of the Renaissance Society of America

Submissions for the next grant cycle will be open in October 2012

Deadline: 15 December 2012

The RSA currently offers three types of grants: six Residential Grants in partnership with other institutions, five Samuel H. Kress Grants in Art History, and eleven Renaissance Society of America Grants (including the Rensselaer W. Lee Memorial Grant in Art History and the Paul Oskar Kristeller Memorial Grant). Research projects in all subjects and language areas within Renaissance studies are eligible for support. Each of the grants has particular eligibility and application requirements: please see the grants page for details.

In the past, the RSA has offered two residential grants, one at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and one at the Giorgio Cini Center in Venice, Italy. This year, we are pleased to offer four more residential grant opportunities, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL; the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA; and the CRRS Centre at Victoria University in the University of Toronto.

Applicants may apply for only one RSA Residential Grant per year, plus any other grant type for which they meet the eligibility requirements; the application requires a 1000-word description of the project. (In the online submission system applicants will be asked to check off the grants they wish to be considered for.) Those who have received an RSA grant in the past will not be considered for further grants for the same project. Applicants will win at most one grant per year; RSA does not give multiple awards to the same individual in a single year.

All applicants must renew RSA membership for 2013 (renew starting 1 November for 2013 membership). Submitters at the predoctoral rank must be members of RSA for at least one year at the time of application plus renew membership for the grant year, i.e., they must be 2012 and 2013 members. All other applicants must be members of RSA for at least three years at the time of application plus renew membership for the grant year, i.e., at the time of application they must have continuous membership for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Please visit the grants page for details about specific grants and submission requirements. All applications are due 15 December 2012.

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