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CfP: Sex, Sin and Madness: the Borgia Family in Early Modern and Modern Popular Culture

Monday, November 13, 2017   (0 Comments)

"Sex, Sin, and Madness: the Borgia Family in Early Modern and Modern Popular Culture"

Call For Papers – Kings & Queens Conference 7: Ruling Sexualities: Sexuality, Gender and the Crown

Winchester, UK – 9–12 July 2018


In the last two decades there has been a resurgence of interest in the Borgia family, both in academic and general interest circles. Partly this is due to the appearance of big budget network television series that capitalize on a continued interest in the ruling houses of early modern Europe, and partly due to increased attention paid to the papacy through the conclaves of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis. Undoubtedly, the quincentennial of Martin Luther's 95 Theses has also illuminated his and other reformers' criticism of the papacy. The Borgia family, including papal patriarchs Popes Calixtus III and Alexander VI, as well as their relatives Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia and St. Francis Borgia, has received a disproportionate amount of attention, suggesting that it reflects something important about us as modern consumers of and participants in legacy-building.

This Call For Papers is open to scholars focusing on any aspect of the Borgia family's legacy of rule and notoriety, both in the academic historiography and popular media from the 1400s through the present day. These presentations might include, but are not limited to, studies of:

  • public anonymous criticism, pasquinades, broadsheets, pamphlets, cantastoria
  • histories of the papacy and local histories of Ferrara, Gandia, Valencia, Rome, etc.
  • Borgia relationships with other controversial figures, like Niccolò Machiavelli
  • visual and literary media: television, film, paintings (historical paintings and arguments for attribution), graphic novels, fiction, opera, plays
  • incest, adultery, homosexuality, and venereal disease in depictions of the Borgia
  • anti-Spanish, anti-clerical and anti-Catholic depictions; Black Legends
  • framing Borgia success amid accusations of Borgia sin

Please send a half-page curriculum vitae, a title and a 250-word abstract of the proposed presentation to Jennifer Mara DeSilva (jmdesilva@bsu.edu). Please detail any A/V requirements that you might need. For more information about the Kings & Queens Conference 7, please see the conference website: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/0f5aaa_d494361af9734764b0fe72e1639da9f2.pdf

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 22 December 2017.


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