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Literature CfPs for RSA 2019 Toronto
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This blog is for CfPs for sessions in literature 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: Literature  early modern  gender  book history  Poetry  material culture  print culture  Renaissance literature  drama  Iberian Peninsula  identity  women  epic poetry  history of reading  printers  reception history  religion  archival research  art history  catholic reform  classical literature  classical reception  colonial Latin America  cultural history  devotional  digital humanities  history of the book  interdisciplinary  Italian literature  Italy 

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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Devotional Materiality in Early Modern England

Posted By Jantina Ellens, Saturday, June 30, 2018

Seeking papers to complete a panel on material manifestations of Protestant faith in early modern England to be presented at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, March 17-19, 2019.

This panel considers how Protestant worship practices are tied to the material world. How do the physical qualities of worship influence the stereotypically “cerebral” qualities of the Protestant faith? How is the divide between public and private worship complicated by the physicality of devotion? Panelists might approach these questions by considering how Protestant devotional practices involve the body or what role texts play balancing the spiritual and the physical in Protestant devotion? They might also consider:

  • Descriptions of protestant devotional practices

  • The physicality of liturgies and/or devotional texts

  • Calvinist materiality

  • The gendering of devotional practices

Please email paper proposals, including a title and abstract of 100-150 words, as well as a one page CV (300 words) to Jantina Ellens ( by Sunday, July 8, 2018.

Tags:  bodies  body  book history  Calvinism  catholic reform  classical literature  devotion  devotional  early modern  gender  gender studies  identity  literature  material culture  poetry  religion  religious  religious poetry  Renaissance literature  women 

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The Question of Truth in Renaissance Sacred Poetry

Posted By Francesco Brenna, Saturday, June 30, 2018
Updated: Sunday, July 1, 2018

How do the questions debated in Renaissance poetics-truth, verisimilitude, imitation, the universality of poetry vs. the particulars of history, poetry as a useful lie, allegory-change when the subject matter is sacred? What do we make of the gap between this type of theoretical reflection, articulated in Aristotelian and Horatian terms, and a Christian type of poetry? Which problems does the status of the poetic text present when the object of poetry is revealed truth? What is the relationship between poetry and the text of the Bible? To answer these questions, this panel invites papers on sacred and biblical epics, devotional and hagiographical poems, dramas, verse paraphrases of the Bible, and religious poetry in general from across Europe. Papers on the Italian and English Renaissance are particularly welcome, as well as papers reflecting on the difference between poets writing in Reformed countries and poets writing in Catholic and Counter-Reformation countries.

Please send paper proposals to Francesco Brenna ( by July 14th, including:
- paper title (15-word maximum)
- abstract (150-word maximum)
- curriculum vitae (.pdf or .doc)
- PhD completion date (past or expected)
- full name, current affiliation, and email address.

Tags:  Adam  allegory  Andreini  Bible  Cowley  Davenant  devotional  epic  Erasmo da Valvasone  Eve  false  God.  hagiographical  Milton  poetry  religious  sacred  Sannazaro  Satan  Scripture  Tasso  truth  verisimilar  Vida 

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Filling In and Filling Out the Past: New Contributions to Classic Texts in Renaissance Literature

Posted By Gordon M. Braden, Friday, June 29, 2018

Filling In and Filling Out the Past: New Contributions to Classic Texts in Renaissance Literature


Paper proposals are invited on any instance or aspect of the Renaissance habit of writing continuations, completions, amplifications, condensations, corrections, or revisions of canonical literary works (including translations with added passages). In most cases the original works are classical Greek or Latin (William Mure’s recasting of books 1 and 4 of the Aeneid as a complete poem, with new material; William Gager’s composition of new scenes for Seneca’s Phaedra), though the topic also extends to vernacular works that acquire their own canonical status and receive similar treatment from subsequent writers (Ralph Knevet’s three new books for Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene). All local matters of method and motive are relevant, as are the larger statements being made, openly or implicitly, about the nature of canonicity and authorship and the relation of the literary present to the literary past. Examples that have not previously attracted attention are especially welcome.


This is a guaranteed session.


Send questions and abstracts (200 words or less), with a brief c.v., to Gordon Braden (Area Representative for the Classical Tradition),, by 1 August 2018.

Download File (DOC)

Tags:  classical literature  drama  Edmund Spenser  epic poetry  imitation  reception history  Renaissance literature  Seneca  translation  Virgil 

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Rewriting and Adapting Classical Women in the Italian Renaissance

Posted By Victoria G. Fanti, Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

From compendia of “illustrious women” modelled on Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris, to Machiavelli’s Lucrezia in the Mandragola, to Giambattista Gelli’s (male-driven) philosophical dialogue La Circe, women from the classical tradition are resurrected in many forms and to many ends over the course of the Italian Renaissance. This panel seeks to investigate how authors and intellectuals rewrote, revised, and (in some cases) reclaimed classical women in Renaissance Italian discourse and literature. 

Topics, authors, and questions that papers might address include, but are not limited to:

-       How do discussions or representations of classical women in philosophical or didactic genres like dialogues, treatises, and compendia of “illustrious women” engage with the ancient past? How are classical women recast or reframed to argue contemporary issues, such as the debate surrounding the querelle des femmes?

-       How do Italian Renaissance women writers like Gaspara Stampa, Lucrezia Marinella, or Moderata Fonte recall, rewrite, or reclaim narratives of classical women in their textual production and/or in their authorial personae?

-       How were classical women reimagined or emulated in Italian Renaissance drama? This might include women’s roles as heroines or antiheroines in comedies like Machiavelli’s Mandragola and tragedies like Trissino’s Sophonisba, or the legacy of the cult of Diana in the pastoral.

-       How do exempla of classical women compare to discussions of contemporary women? What function do classical women fill in light of new female regents and their emerging presence on the European stage? (e.g. Tasso’s Discorso della virtù femminile e donnesca or Serdonati’s Donne illustri)


Please send questions and/or abstracts (150 words) with a brief biography, A/V requests, and keywords to Victoria Fanti at by July 25, 2018. 

Tags:  early modern  gender  gender studies  Italian literature  literature  reception studies  Renaissance literature  women 

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DEADLINE EXTENDED--Wonder Women: Amazons in the Early Modern European Imagination

Posted By Victoria G. Fanti, Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2018

**Deadline extended to August 3**

Session chair: Gerry Milligan, CUNY

The blockbuster success of the 2017 film Wonder Woman reignited a global interest in the figure of the Amazon, eliciting celebrations of female strength and independence alongside debates about her exoticism and sexualization. A sequel, already highly anticipated by many, is slated for release in late 2019.

Such a widespread interest in the Amazonian warrior-woman—both her allure and her paradox—is not, however, a new phenomenon; the Amazons likewise captured the popular and elite imagination of the Early Modern period, featuring in literary productions across Europe. Building on scholarship by Frédérique Verrier, Kathryn Schwarz, Sarah Colvin and Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Eleonora Stoppino, and Gerry Milligan (among many others), this panel seeks to put Early Modern representations of Amazons into dialogue with one another, across linguistic traditions and national borders, in order to explore the nuances of how these women were imagined, discussed, and disseminated across Europe.

We welcome papers that explore questions of sexuality, female violence, gender-bending, orientalism, politics, and the like. Texts and themes of interest might include, but are not limited to:        

-       Histories (and “histories”) of the Amazons

-       Literary and poetic imaginations of Amazonian women and/or their descendants, such as in the epic-chivalric tradition or in theater and/or opera

-       Treatises, dialogues, or correspondences that make reference to Amazons in order to engage with the querelle des femmes

-       The Early Modern use of Amazonian lore or symbolism for encomiastic purposes


Please send questions and/or abstracts (150 words) with a brief biography, A/V requests, and keywords to Victoria Fanti at

Tags:  early modern  English literature  French literature  gender  gender studies  German literature  Iberian Peninsula  inter  interdisciplinary  Italian literature  literature  Renaissance literature  women 


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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CfP: He said - She said: Women’s Words in Defence of Women

Posted By Sarah E. Schell, Sunday, June 24, 2018
Updated: Sunday, June 24, 2018

“Do you really believe ... that everything historians tell us about men – or about women – is actually true? You ought to consider the fact that these histories have been written by men, who never tell the truth except by accident.”  - The Worth of Women (1600)


Writing about women in the late medieval and early modern period focused on ideals of female behaviour. In the 16th and 17th centuries the discussion became a public debate over not just how women should act, but also whether or not they were even capable of the prescribed behaviours: what was the nature of woman? The “controversy” reached its height in the sixteenth century, with attacks and defences flying off the printing presses. 


Not content to leave their defence to men, writers such as Moderata Fonte (quoted above) produced works that provided a counterpoint to traditional narratives that cast women as incapable and morally weak.  From Christine de Pizan’s La cité des dames (1405) to Archangela Tarabotti’s Tirannia Paterna (1654),  women have sought to directly confront misogynist views on the purported nature of women and their appropriate roles and behaviours in society.  


This panel invites submissions on women who consciously and directly challenged the male-dominated discourse by interjecting their own voices into it. How did these women attempt to change or alter the debate? What argumentative tools/mediums did they choose? What were their expectations of the intervention? Who was the audience? How were such interventions received? What were the ramification of such direct / public actions for these women? 


Suggested topics may include but are not limited to: “in defence of” and other activist texts; literary or visual representations of ‘illustrious women’ cycles; conduct manuals or advice texts written by women for women; women educators; political tracts/political activism by women; and philosophical or religious writing on the role and nature of women.


Particularly welcome are papers on un- or understudied women, and non-Eurocentric approaches. Papers from all disciplines will be considered. 


Please submit 200-word proposals to Sarah Schell ( and Tabitha Kenlon (  Please include your name, email address, institutional affiliation, title of paper, and a brief CV. Feel free to email with any questions. 


Deadline: July 25th, 2018

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  gender studies; women; interdisciplinary; literatu 


Cfp: Re-assessing the Early Modern Court: Connection, Negotiation and Transgression

Posted By Maria Maurer, Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Norbert Elias’ The Court Society, which placed the early modern court at the center of a long civilizing process wherein the king exercised social control over and imposed emotional restraint upon his courtiers. While his methods and conclusions remain contested, Elias called attention to the role of the court in both early modern and modern society. Since the publication of The Court Society scholarship on the court has proliferated, yet we still tend to treat the court as a closed and controlled system with elaborate means of monitoring behavior and excluding outsiders.

This panel seeks to break open the early modern court by focusing on the court as a point of contact rather than a realm of separation. We welcome papers that examine relationships between courts and courtiers, as well as those that analyze the intermingling of social strata or connections between the court and civic or religious authorities. The panel also seeks to illuminate the ways in which fields such as critical gender, race, and sexuality studies and transnational studies have changed the ways in which we approach the court. What roles did servants and slaves play at court? How did courts function in non-European contexts, and what effects did international trade, diplomacy and colonization have upon court structures?

Given the re-birth of a small, but extremely wealthy and politically influential class in the 21st century, the 2019 meeting of RSA offers us a chance to re-assess our approaches to the early modern court and its continued relevance in our contemporary society.

Paper topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Relationships between or among court centers (European and/or non-European)

- Colonial courts and relationships between indigenous rulers and colonizers

- Social climbing or disfavor at court

- Negotiations of courtly strictures; this might include transgressing or stretching rules governing ritual, etiquette, gender, and the use or abuse of court positions, as well as violence, theft or other unsanctioned behaviors

- Laudatory and/or satirical representations of the court and its members

- The roles of servants and/or slaves as social or cultural agents

- Contacts between courts and civic or religious organizations

Please send an abstract of 300 words, paper title and a brief curriculum vitae to Maria Maurer ( by 20 July 2018. Selected panelists will be asked to shorten their abstracts and paper titles to conform with RSA guidelines by 10 August 2018.

Tags:  early modern; gender studies; interdisciplinary; l 

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