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History CfPs for RSA 2019 Toronto
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This blog is for CfPs for sessions in history for RSA 2019 Toronto. Members may post CfPs here: sign in to RSA and select "add new post" to do so. Your post should include a title, and the CfP itself should be no longer than 250 words. Adding tags (key words) to your post will help others find your CfP. Make sure the CfP includes the organizer's name, email address or mail-to link for email address, and a deadline for proposals. Non-members may email to post a CfP. Please use the email address of the session organizer posted in the CfP to submit a paper proposal. CfPs are posted in order of receipt, with the newest postings appearing at the top of the blog. Members may subscribe to the blog to be notified when new CfPs are posted: click on the word Subscribe next to the green checkmark above.


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Top tags: social history  early modern  history  literature  gender  material culture  patronage  Religion  renaissance  urban spaces  architecture  art  art history  book history  devotion  history of science  identity  ritual  catholic reform early modern  charity  classicism  confraternity  cultural history  digital humanities  environmental history  global  history of reading  interdisciplinary  philosophy  piety 

Ancient Enmities: Classicism and Religious Others

Posted By Caroline G. Stark, Friday, July 13, 2018

Renaissance Europe sought to define itself in relation to multiple models, prominent among which were ancient Greco-Roman culture and contemporary non-Christian (as well as Christian heterodox) cultures. The Humanist emulation of classical ideals in text and image occurred within a larger context of religious, ethnic, and frequently military interactions: the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, harassment from North African Corsairs, mass migrations of Jews, and internecine tensions resulting from the Protestant Reformation. The “classical” provided a discourse through which scholars and artists could negotiate a religious, national, or pan-European identity transhistorical in scope yet ultimately presentist in defining “the other”. This panel seeks to explore the function of the classical and classicism across these identities in both textual and material sources.

Points of contact between classical culture and religious others turned antiquity into a battleground of competing traditions. Underlying such tensions was a longstanding sense dating from Homer and Herodotus onwards of classical identity as culturally and geographically contested, its meaning located variously in Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East. Both as traces of ancient ethnographies and as largely presentist rhetoric, projections of classical identity in the Renaissance could be deployed in numerous and diverse ways. Trojan ancestry was claimed not only by various European noble lines, such as the Habsburgs and the Estes of Ferrara, but also by the Turks. Orthodox Greeks under Ottoman rule were ostracized as the barbaric descendants of their enlightened ancestors. Antiquarians in post-Reconquest Spain invented Roman origins to Andalusi architectural marvels, while Roman ruins in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire, represented both visually and through ekphrastic description, fueled dreams of European conquest. At the same time, the means by which the classical past were known could be diminished or lost: despite its importance during the Medieval period for accessing intellectual traditions, for example, Arabic struggled to maintain its place in European scholarship as a learned language alongside classical Greek and Latin, and even as other distant foreign traditions, such as Egyptian Hermeticism, fascinated artists and scholars.

The panel addresses two areas that have been the focus of recent research in Renaissance studies: intercultural relations and concepts of temporality. While the importance of the classics for European identity has been extensively studied, their role in defining what lay beyond Europe’s margins has received less attention. Some scholarship, however, has shown the potential richness of the field: Craig Kallendorf’s reading of the Aeneid’s portrayal of colonized entities (The Other Virgil, 2007), for example, and Nancy Bisaha’s study of the competing portrayals of the Ottoman Turks as either Goths, Vandals, Scythians or heirs to the Trojans and Romans (Creating East and West, 2006). Furthermore, the panel seeks to understand the temporal and explanatory concepts undergirding various early modern genealogies, ethnographies, and histories. Although a topic of theory since Warburg, the problem of time and temporal relations in early modernity has received renewed attention with the publication of Nagel and Wood’s Anachronic Renaissance (2010). Applied beyond the original domain of art history, Nagel and Wood’s ideas prompt a wider re-evaluation of the importance of antiquity in framing our understanding of Renaissance Europe. At stake is a view of the central conflicts in Europe’s formative years not as exclusively early modern events, but rather as events crucially shaped by the vital force of classicism.

Potential topics include:

-- How did differing claims to Greco-Roman heritage shape religious rhetoric and antagonisms? How did the interpretation of classical texts evolve with the shifting needs of their early modern readers, either in marginalizing or legitimizing particular groups? How do these texts transcend class lines, especially among the uneducated and illiterate?

-- How did different national traditions of Humanism approach the contrasting degrees of religious alterity? How did classical writings and thought provide agency for marginalized groups?

-- How can a deeper knowledge of classical texts reshape historical understandings of crusades, jihads, reformations, expulsions, and heresies? In teaching these encounters, what pedagogical methodologies can guide students toward recognition of the pervasive relevance of these texts?

Abstracts of no more than 150 words and a short CV should be sent as separate email attachments to (please see RSA guidelines for abstracts and CVs). Abstracts will be judged anonymously, so please do not identify yourself in any way on the abstract page.  Please include the following in the body of your email:

• your name, affiliation, email address

• your paper title (15-word maximum)

• relevant keywords

Proposals must be received by August 10, 2018.

Organized by David M. Reher (University of Chicago) and Keith Budner (UC-Berkeley) with the sponsorship of the Society for Early Modern Classical Reception (SEMCR)

Tags:  classical reception  classicism  ethnographies  genealogies  histories  identity  intercultural relations  religious communities  temporality  the other 


Health in Medicine and Visual Arts, 1300-1550

Posted By Jordan J. Famularo, Friday, July 13, 2018

CFP: Health in Medicine and Visual Arts, 1300-1550

Artists and architects contributed to cultures of health in medieval and early modern societies, yet their ties to medical practice are often overlooked in modern scholarship. This session invites historians across disciplines to compare their approaches to visual cultures of medicine between 1300 and 1550. Which perspectives and methods might be productively shared among historians of medicine, science, art, architecture, and other specialties focused on care for the body, mind, and soul? A key objective is to advance research on interactions between learned medicine (i.e., taught in universities) and visual arts.

Papers are invited to address the body of knowledge by which artifacts and monuments were believed to be therapeutic and/or protective. How and why were such effects ascribed to images, objects, and spaces?

Topics might include

- images in medical astrology: instructions for their making and use

- restorative spaces in domestic and institutional buildings

- therapeutic works on paper: books, almanacs, calendars, prints

- apothecaries and foreign ingredients in the service of medicine and pigment-making

- objects and environments used in regimens for preserving health and hygiene

Intercultural, interregional, and transoceanic topics are welcome.

Paper proposals are due by August 5, 2018 to Jordan Famularo, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University ( Proposals should include two documents: an abstract with paper title (250 words maximum) and CV. Please indicate the presenter’s title and affiliation. 

Submissions are considered commitments to attend the conference and to be responsible for registration and membership fees.

Tags:  architecture  art  astrology  early modern  History of Medicine  History of Science  interdisciplinary  medicine  medieval 

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CfP: Beyond the Microcosm: The Impact of Confraternities on the Civic Sphere.

Posted By Samantha J. Hughes-Johnson, Friday, July 13, 2018


(Deadline: 1 August 2018)


The Society for Confraternity Studies will sponsor a number of sessions at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (17 - 19 March 2019) in Toronto, Canada. Accordingly, it invites proposals for papers on the following theme:


Beyond the Microcosm: The Impact of Confraternities on the Civic Sphere.


Since the formation of the Society for Confraternity Studies, which celebrates it 30th anniversary in 2019, the subject of Confraternity Studies has moved on from what Konrad Eisenbichler once described as an “invisible history” to become an authoritative sub-field of late medieval and early modern scholarship. Accordingly, in order to encourage a discourse that places confraternities at the center of essential historical developments rather than at their periphery, we invite proposals for papers that explore the amplitude and impact of lay sodalities in Europe, the Americas, the East and Asia in relation to the activities of wider late medieval and early modern society. Papers might focus on, but are not limited to the following topics:

·     The reach and range of lesser traversed sodalities. For example, slave confraternities.

·     The relationships between lay companies and non members. For instance, confraternal liaisons with artisans, food merchants or second-hand clothes sellers.

·     Confratelli and consorelle entrusted with public service, healthcare and the custody of people or objects.

·     The influence of confraternal ritual and recreation on urban spaces.

·     Individual and familial investment in lay companies in order to garner social influence or to gain political power.

·     Associations between the devotional lives of non-clerics and the ordained: how these affinities played out in rituals, drama and music.

·     The impact of art, architecture and ephemera commissioned by confraternities on public spaces and/or the popular conscience.

Papers should concentrate on confraternal activities between 1300 and 1700. We are however, also particularly interested in proposals that discuss retrospectively, the value of studies that have emerged since the conference in 1989 and consider how Confraternity Studies will advance into the twenty-first century.

Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, email, the paper title (no longer than 15 words), the abstract of the paper (no longer than 150 words), a brief academic C.V. (not longer than 300 words), and a series of key-words that suit the presentation. Please be sure all nine (7) categories of information are clearly provided. 

Please submit your proposal to Dr Samantha J.C. Hughes-Johnson at by 1 August 2018.



Tags:  artisans  charity  confraternity  devotion  drama  healthcare  lay company  merchants  music  piety  politics  retrospective discussion  ritual  sodality  urban spaces 

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Towards a Vocabulary of Dissent. Early modern religious dissents, conflicts, and pluralities in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. EMoDiR

Posted By Stefano Villani, Thursday, July 12, 2018
Towards a Vocabulary of Dissent. Early modern religious dissents, conflicts,  and pluralities in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe.
RSA Toronto, 17-19 March 2019

EMoDiR (the Research Group on Early Modern Religious Dissents and Radicalism) is an international research group dedicated to the study of religious differences, conflicts, and pluralism in early modern Europe. The group’s aim is to examine the ways in which religious dissent was constructed in the early modern period as well the social and cultural practices of radical movements and religious minorities.
For the next RSA Annual Conference (Toronto, 2019), we seek papers addressing the key-terms and categories that have been or are used to define early modern religious dissenting practices and beliefs.
The aim of these panels is to deconstruct, reconstruct, and historically contextualize such commonly used categories as Dissent, Dissidence, Radicalism, Libertinism, 
Atheism, Blasphemy, Nicodemism, Otherness, Hybridity.
We also welcome papers about terms that were used in early modern times to describe heterodox religious experience (as for example Enthusiasm, Fanaticism, Sectarianism, Heresy).
Each paper should investigate the emergence of a specific concept, its semantic contents, its ‘labeling’ uses and its changing meanings over times and places, taking into consideration an entangled historical approach (histoire croisée).

Please email Stefano Villani ( and        
Helena Wangefelt Ström ( by August 10, 2018 with full name, current affiliation, and email address; a paper title (15-word maximum), an abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, PhD completion date

Tags:  Dissent  Heresy  Religion  Religious Radicalism 

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Flooding, water, public works: environment & cultures of intervention 1400-1700

Posted By David C. Rosenthal, Saturday, July 7, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Recent environmental history has stressed how the relationship between communities and landscapes could be mutually structuring – when it came to mitigating threats of disaster but also in regard to the control and exploitation of natural resources. This panel focuses on water, on initiatives that looked to confront the threat of inundation from the sea or flood-prone rivers, to control water for industrial and agricultural purposes, or to develop urban water supplies and sanitation. Such initiatives could include both state-run public works programs, and local and community schemes; they could be piecemeal or more programatically reactive to conditions on the ground. The panel seeks to be interdisciplinary and welcomes papers that explore aspects of what might be called cultures of intervention in early modern Europe, which tease out how environmental initiatives intersected with social, economic or political concerns, challenges and change.

Themes might include but are not limited to:

The idea and development of environmental ‘public works’

Flooding and flood prevention - community practices, government intervention

Labour, forced or voluntary; public works schemes and ‘unemployment’

Culture of innovation, hydraulic techniques and practitioners

Representations: flooding, water control and public works in visual and literary culture

Please send an abstract (150 words max), a list of 3 keywords, and a brief academic CV (300 words max) to by July 27

Tags:  environmental history  government  poverty  social history 

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Philological Communities in Context(s) in the Early Modern World (1400-1850)

Posted By Jennifer Mackenzie, Wednesday, July 4, 2018

In recent years, scholarly collections such as World Philology (2015, Ed. Pollock, Elman, and Chang) and Philology and Its Histories (2010, Ed. Gurd) have brought philology to the foreground of humanistic study “not just [as] a mode of scholarship” but as “one of its objects” (Gurd, Introduction to Philology and Its Histories, 5). Questioning teleological histories that trace how philology achieved a modern and scientific status in the nineteenth-century European university, these studies call for a broad canvas to account for the multiplicity and complexity of textual practices over time and space. They include, within the study of philology, not only the study of the transmission and editing of texts, but also of hermeneutical activities more generally, from textual readings to historical and cultural interpretations.

Our RSA panels seek to contribute to these efforts by examining philological practices in the early modern period (1400-1850) on a micro-historical scale, in their various social, institutional and/or political contexts. The aim is to bring to bear on the analysis of these practices recent developments in the history of academies, patronage, princely courts, universities, salons, libraries, and schools. On the premise that philological work often takes place in communal settings and practically always in relation to structures of power, we seek papers that illuminate these settings, and the exchanges they generate in specific early modern contexts. We are particularly interested in contributions that examine the effects of these circumstances on the development of specific philological practices or hermeneutic perspectives.

Individual papers might shed new light on communities which have been overlooked, having not generally been associated with the most (proto-)modern representatives of the development of philology as a scholarly discipline.  Or they might open newly contextualized perspectives on communities that have already played leading roles in philology’s historiography. In either case, we hope to enrich our methodologies for studying philological communities in context(s), with the goal of gaining a greater appreciation of philology’s political stakes in the early modern world, and of the varieties of its institutional incarnations.

—   How were philological practices developed, taught, transmitted, and performed within specific communities? How did they contribute to building communities? Can philological communities be studied through their textual and hermeneutical practices — and, if so, how?

—   How were particular theories or practices of philology — that is explicit or implicit articulations of philology’s methods and aims – bound up with social (i.e. class, familial, professional) affiliations?

—   How did the institutions or political structures in which philology was carried out shape philological approaches, in theory and in practice? How was philology in turn used by those who performed it, theorized it, or patronized it? In particular, in what ways could philological activities legitimize and/or subvert power?

—   How did philological work participate in local dynamics (in courts, cities, city states, etc.) and/or how was it used in international politics, for diplomatic purposes or when international conflicts arose?

   How did institutional and/or political patronage constrain and/or nourish the practice of philology? Why were philologists valuable to institutions, powerful families, and princes — and how did they leverage their skills to serve the powerful, while also establishing their practices as valuable, legitimate and even autonomous forms of know-how?

Please submit a short (max. 150 words) abstract and CV by July 31, 2018 to Jennifer Mackenzie ( and Déborah Blocker (

Tags:  academies  courts  history of reading  patronage  philology  social history  universities 

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More Than Merely Passive: Addressing the Early Modern Audience

Posted By John R. Decker, Monday, July 2, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 9, 2018

“… so that the learned may savor the profundity of the allegory while the humble may profit from the lightness of the story” (de modo praedicandi)


Early modern audiences were not homogenous. Differences in status, education, language, wealth, and experience (to name only a few) could influence how a group of people, or a particular person, received and made sense of sermons, public proclamations, images, objects, and spaces. The ways in which images, objects, proclamations, etc. were framed and executed could have a serious impact on their relevance and effectiveness. This session seeks papers that investigate the ways in which authors, artists, preachers, theologians, and civic or court officials took account of and encoded pluriform audiences in their works. Topics might consider, but are not limited to, questions such as: What sorts of strategies were employed to take into account multiple ‘levels’ of audience? How well did such strategies work? What were the consequences—possible or actual—when they failed? Please submit an abstract and CV by no later than 30 July, 2018 to:

Tags:  art history  artists  collaboration  cultural history  gender  identity  images  imagination  invention  literature  material culture  patronage  religious communities  representation  social history  urban spaces  urbanism  visual arts  visual communication  visual culture 

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East Meets West: The ‘Studia Humanitatis’ and the Migration of Greek Culture

Posted By Roberta Ricci, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Organizer: Roberta Ricci, Bryn Mawr College


Chair: Eugenio Giusti, Vassar College


Session Title: East Meets West: The ‘Studia Humanitatis’ and the Migration of Greek Culture


Session Description:


Thanks to both exiles traveling to the West and humanists traveling to the East, for the first time during the fifteenth century the accumulated knowledge of Greek civilization becomes the subject of the studia humanitatis in EuropeRome, Florence, Venice, are among the Italian cities that contribute to the spreading of ancient language/literature in Italy, initiating prolific intellectual exchanges with Byzantium within Mediterranean multiculturalismWith theGreek printing press established in Venice by Aldus Manutius, the readership became much wider in that city or even in the Veneto with other printers being quick to imitate the novelty.  This panel aims to bring to light all aspects of this revolutionary acquired knowledge, which has been the subject of groundbreaking studies in recent years.



  • paper title (15-word maximum)
  • abstract (150-word maximum)
  • 3-page curriculum vitae (pdf or doc upload)
  • general discipline area (History, Art History, Literature, or other)
  • keywords

Roberta Ricci,

Eugenio Giusti,

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Renaissance Vegetarianism

Posted By Andrea Crow, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The study of early modern food has blossomed in recent years. As scholars have parsed the politics of changing dining practices, the role of recipes in intellectual history, and the growing perception of food ethics as inextricable from social identity, dietary beliefs and habits have begun to be seen as central to early modern studies. One of the most striking dietary trends that spread across Europe in this period, however, remains underexamined: the rise of vegetarianism.

This panel invites papers from across disciplines that examine Renaissance vegetarianism in order to think through the intertwining religious, economic, political, and ethical motives that spurred this transnational movement forward. Possible topics might include views on vegetarianism in the early modern dietary sciences, radical vegetarian leaders and the communities that they organized, vegetarian cuisine and recipe books, the revival of Classical vegetarian thought, or the representation of vegetarianism in literature and the arts.

Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, email address, paper title (15 words maximum), abstract (150 words maximum), and CV (300 words maximum). Please submit proposals by July 15th to Andrea Crow (

Tags:  art history  ethics  food studies  Literature  political history  recipe books  vegetarianism 

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New Approaches to Sanctity in Early Modern Catholicism

Posted By Katrina B. Olds, Monday, June 25, 2018

Recently, scholars of early modern sanctity have begun to disentangle the various dimensions of what Simon Ditchfield has called the “discursive fertility” of saints in early modern culture, society, and religion. If earlier scholarship tended to regard saints somewhat instrumentally – as objects of confessional polemic, or as symbols that stood for something else more ‘real,’ such as political, civic, or religious identity – newer studies have marked an important shift toward a more contextual understanding. Thus, rather than looking through saints toward something else, scholars have been asking how various facets of early modern culture could be understood by looking with saints.


In the belief that the study of sanctity provides unparalleled insight on the early modern Catholic world more broadly, the organizers invite papers on sanctity from across the disciplines. We seek papers that will contribute to the historical understanding of sanctity – broadly conceived – from scholars in the range of disciplines represented by the RSA. We are interested in bringing research from subfields, particularly Iberian or Italian Catholicism, into dialogue with other scholars who may be pursuing parallel paths. The efflorescence of recent and ongoing studies of saints and sanctity in the extra-European Catholic territories also encourages us to consider the relationship between centers and peripheries in the creation, veneration, and instantiation of the cult of saints. Papers need not be comparative in scope as long as presenters are willing to participate in the spirit of conversation across geographical and disciplinary limits.


Potential topics could include:
- apologetics and polemic about saints;
- art, music, and theater;
- beyond failed saints: holiness and its discontents in everyday life;
- canonization: attempted, failed, reformed, and everything in between;
- censorship, heresy, and saint-making;
- conversion and its role in the creation of saints;
- hagiography as polemic, and as scholarly practice;
- sanctity ‘against the grain’: parody, blasphemy, and irreverence
- relics, images, and materiality;
- saints and the history of emotions;
- saints’ cults as synesthetic experiences;
- space and mobility;
- the history of medicine and of the body.


Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, email address, paper title (up to 15 words), paper abstract (up to 150 words), and brief academic c.v. (up to 300 words). Please submit proposal to Katrina Olds ( and Emily Michelson [] by 22 July 2018. Presenters will need to be members of the RSA by the time of the conference. The RSA offers a limited number of travel grants to assist historically underrepresented minorities, graduate students, scholars of any rank traveling to the conference from outside North America, and non-tenure track postdoctoral scholars. Please consult the RSA website for more information.

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