Renaissance News & Notes page
News & Notes

Fall 2011

Volume XXIII.2

In This Issue

1. Washington 2012 at the Grand Hyatt

2. Washington 2012: Welcome to the City

3. Special Events for Washington 2012

4. In Memoriam: Sally Anne Scully (1939-2011)

5. RSA Research Grants

6. Special Events at RSA: Create your Own

7. I Tatti Mongan Prize

8. 2011 Award Winners

CUNY Graduate Center logo

Reminder: Annual Meeting Registration

Conference presenters should register for the Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, by December 1, 2011. Register online now.

Special Events at RSA: Create your Own

RSA is a wonderful occasion to celebrate professional events and get together with colleagues. Perhaps you would like to celebrate (and publicize) a new book. Your associate organization may wish to consider a reception as a way to bring members together; or it may need a place to hold its annual meeting. RSA is happy to build these occasions into our annual conference. Our conference planners can help co-ordinate food and beverage service at our group rates. We can add your event to our program, and help contact members of your group. You may reserve one of our conference rooms for an evening event. Just contact the RSA office by phone, email, or our website to begin planning.

I Tatti Mongan Prize

The Director and Fellows of Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies announce the presentation of the I Tatti Mongan Prize to:
Elizabeth Cropper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
History and Tradition: A Personal Memoir

2011 Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2011 Award winners!

The William Nelson Prize
Erin J. Campbell, University of Victoria
"Prophets, Saints, and Matriarchs: Portraits of Old Women in Early Modern Italy"
Volume 63, no. 3 (Fall 2010)
The Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize
Andrew Pettegree, University of St. Andrews
The Book in the Renaissance,Yale University Press
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Book Prize
Karl Appuhn, New York University
A Forest on the Sea: Environmental Expertise in Renaissance Venice, The Johns Hopkins University Press
The Paul Oskar Kristeller Lifetime Achievement Award
François Rigolot, Princeton University

Book Discounts

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

Submit your News

Post your news and events on the RSA website.
Calendar events
Announcements (items without dates)

Renaissance News & Notes
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.

Washington 2012 at the Grand Hyatt

by Ann E. Moyer, Executive Director

Our annual meeting in 2012 will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Built in 1987, the hotel features a soaring internal atrium and offers a broad range of services to its guests. Its central location allows quick and easy access to related venues for attending sessions or just for a bit of sightseeing. Why the Grand Hyatt? How does RSA decide to meet in one place or another? Some of us remember (with nostalgia or not) the days when RSA and other professional organizations could meet on a college campus during spring break, with our sessions in classrooms.

RSA has grown over the years; that is good news for a learned society. We need a meeting location in a city that is easy for members to fly to and from in mid-semester without too many flight segments, and that can accommodate our numbers, now around 1400. We have a spring meeting and need to schedule around the spring holidays while also not being too close to final exams week. We want to vary the region as well, with eastern, midcontinent, and western locations in rotation. Every fifth year we meet in Europe; the other four years out of five we are in North America.

Our meetings have become a big business, and hotels are willing to work hard for us. When we make an agreement with a hotel, we promise that our members will fill a given number of rooms each night, and that we will commit to a minimum price for our end-of-conference reception and other catering. In return, they offer us not only a discounted rate on those sleeping rooms, but also the use of meeting rooms for our sessions, our speakers, and our book display. In order to ensure the best deal for our members, we work with a conference planning service, Connections Housing based in Atlanta. They assist us right up through the conference itself; a Connections staff member is present at each annual meeting. They work with us, with RSA members, the hotel staff and others to address any last-minute complications. A number of other learned societies also use Connections for their conference planning. Their fee is paid by the hotels, not by us; their work on a conference begins with the first stages of the site selection process, helping the RSA Site Committee to identify host cities and hotels. We then arrange a tour to visit several hotels before choosing the one that works best for RSA. We must do that several years in advance to guarantee the dates we need and to ensure the best rates possible. That means we must make our best guess several years in advance about how many members will attend our annual meeting, so that we will meet our obligations to the hotel. Our contract always includes a clause that our members will receive the lowest rate available at conference time. Staying in the conference hotel is thus not only the most convenient choice for RSA members; it also supports RSA and the meeting itself.

Major hotels are also able to offer us excellent audio-visual service and support, usually provided by a separate company that works with many hotels in the city. Unlike the rooms themselves, that service comes at a price. We pay for the support in each meeting room (in hotelspeak they are referred to as "breakout rooms") for each day of use. Even though we restrict our services to projectors (and audio when needed), this support is expensive; our bill for Montreal was well over thirty thousand dollars.

The American Council of Learned Societies also supports conference planning for its member organizations. Their fall meeting devotes considerable attention to conference and meeting needs. They maintain a discussion board as well, so that the experiences and concerns of one group can be shared and addressed by all.

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions about new features you would like to see at our annual meetings, as well those you like about our meetings already. And we very much look forward to seeing you in Washington at the Grand Hyatt in March.

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Washington 2012: Welcome to the City

by Karen L. Nelson, PhD, Department of English, University of Maryland


The Washington, DC, metropolitan area affords many opportunities for research and relaxation.

Well-known destinations include the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. The museums and research collections of the Smithsonian Institution include the Freer Sackler Galleries of Asian Art, the National Museum of African Art, the Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of American History. "Monumental DC"— the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House and the Ellipse, and the Washington and Jefferson monuments—inspires. And nearly all are within walking distance of our conference hotel.

Theater thrives, with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Shakespeare Theater, the Folger Shakespeare Theater, Arena Stage, and other venues for music and dramatic performance throughout the area. Restaurants in a variety of price ranges are especially concentrated in the areas around the U Street corridor, Adams Morgan, Penn Quarter, Georgetown, and Capitol Hill. The city is quite walkable, and with the metro and bus system, easy to navigate.

Specialized research collections include the Oliveira Lima Library at the Catholic University of America, a repository of the Portuguese-speaking peoples from the 16th to the early 20th century, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, which focuses especially upon Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies.

The region is also home to such universities as the Catholic University of America, George Mason University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola College of Baltimore, and University of Maryland system campuses.

Baltimore, Maryland, an hour away by car or train, offers the delightful collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, as well as the sight-seeing destinations, restaurants, and shops of Fells Point, Fort McHenry, and the Inner Harbor.

The research opportunities are especially tempting to Renaissance scholars. RSA members may well want to book extra time for a library visit. Visiting scholars should be aware of libraries' requirements before they attempt to use the collections, since they call for some advance planning. The Library of Congress is open to the public, but public users need to obtain a Reader Identification card issued by the Library. The cards are free and can be obtained by presenting a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport at the Reader Registration Station. Access to the Reading Rooms at the Folger Library is limited to those with a PhD or equivalent degree and doctoral candidates. You may apply for a reader's card by writing a letter of application and sending two letters of reference to: The Librarian, c/o the Registrar, Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. For additional information about access to collections and others, please check the libraries' websites prior to your visit.

For more information on local attractions please see the Annual Meeting website.

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Special Events for Washington 2012

Thursday, 22 March

Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture

Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society

John Monfasani, State University of New York, Albany

Erasmus and the Philosophers

Erasmus was famously allergic to the philosophic theology of the medieval scholastics and what he considered their confusion of Christianity with Aristotelian philosophy. But he himself edited the opera omnia of Aristotle in Greek, just as he produced an edition of the philosophically rich opera omnia of St. Augustine. Paul Oskar Kristeller and Michael Screech have noted the Platonic influences in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly. Martin Luther accused Erasmus of following in the traces of the ancient Skeptics. Indeed, Erasmus avowed a certain tenderness towards the Academic skeptics. Nor is it difficult to find references in his writings to philosophers and the ancient schools of philosophy. So the question is: what exactly was Erasmus’s attitude toward philosophy and the philosophical tradition from antiquity to his own day? And what philosophical positions did he appropriate, dispute, or show an interest in? Could one consider Erasmus a philosopher malgré lui?

Friday, 23 March

Plenary Session: The Global Renaissance

Sponsor:The Renaissance Society of America

Organizer: Alison K. Frazier, University of Texas, Austin

Chair: Hannah Wojciehowski, University of Texas, Austin

Respondent: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Notre Dame University

Ann Blair, Harvard University

Information Flows in a Global Renaissance: Through Orality, Manuscript, and Print

The European Renaissance witnessed information explosion due both to increased travel to different parts of the world and to the rediscovery of ancient texts. In addition to these external factors, however, new conceptions of proper information management caused the explosion - notably the idea of taking and saving notes on texts and direct experiences. Information flows based on this note-taking were neither uniform nor one-directional. In particular, information was treated differently depending on the form in which it traveled: in manuscript (whether meant to be secret or for more-or-less broad diffusion), in print (in different genres to reach different audiences), and/or through direct human transmission. What difference did it make when texts traveled with people rather than by themselves as unaccompanied objects, especially when those people were themselves "documents" of other worlds?

Natalie Rothman, University of Toronto

Mediating a Global Mediterranean: Translation, Commensuration, and Articulation

This paper draws out some of the methodological and conceptual implications of the recent resurgence of the Mediterranean as a historical object for our understanding of the so-called global Renaissance. It considers shifts in the historiography of early modern Mediterranean empires, focusing on the growing scholarship on ethnolinguistic, religious, and juridical boundary-crossing. The paper highlights the importance of processes of mediation, commensuration, and translation in their myriad transimperial settings, and explores how the global Renaissance was articulated from the vantage point of self-proclaimed cultural intermediaries and the variety of genres and state institutions they engaged. These intermediaries, and their role in enabling the circulation of texts, ideas, and objects, has all too often been assumed, or rendered transparent. This paper suggests that attending to sites of mediation can bring to light the very conditions for envisioning a global Mediterranean, both then and now.

Ken Albala, University of the Pacific

The Renaissance of Food in Global Perspective

While historians have long traced the many global exchanges in ingredients, peoples, and pathogens that took place in the wake of the age of encounters, few have looked closely at actual culinary traditions. What traditions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European kitchens were adapted to local conditions, ingredients, and available technologies and why do they survive long after disappearing from European cuisine? There are surprising culinary rudiments dating back to the Renaissance, stretching from the kasutera of Japan to the capirotada of Mexico. This talk will discuss European cookbooks and cooking traditions and the fascinating ways they influenced cooking around the world, long before the era of transnational conglomerate food corporations.

Saturday, 24 March

Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Sponsor: Renaissance Society of America

Paula Findlen, Stanford University

The Eighteenth-Century Invention of the Renaissance: Lessons from the Uffizi

It is a canonical fact of Renaissance studies that Jules Michelet, Jacob Burckhardt, and a number of other influential nineteenth-century scholars wrote the Renaissance into existence, which they most certainly did, since no historian before the mid-nineteenth century offered a comprehensive and synthetic account of this era as a well-defined period of history. But what inspired and preceded their vision of the Renaissance? This talk explores the eighteenth-century landscape of antiquarianism, historicism, collecting, and art history from which the idea of the Renaissance emerged. It moves away from scholarly encounters in Paris and Basel to the society and culture of Italy in the age of the Grand Tour as the site where this conversation began. Its focal point is the activities surrounding the multiple reinventions of the Uffizi Gallery in the age of the Grand Tour. How did Vasari’s building come to house Vasari’s Renaissance?

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In Memoriam: Sally Anne Scully (1939-2011)

by David McNeil

Sally Scully, professor emerita of San Francisco State University, died very peacefully at her San Francisco home on April 15, 2011, with her husband, children, and sister attending. The cause was multiple organ failure from metastatic breast cancer, which had first been diagnosed in 1993.

Sally was a member of the SF State history faculty from 1974 to 2005. She did her graduate work at Harvard, where she was among the first female history Ph.D. recipients (1975), writing on lawyers at Paris and Bologna in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. She was particularly proud of her undergraduate years at Smith College (B.A. 1961), where she won the Annual Prize for the outstanding work in History Honors. She was an inspiring role model for a generation of women students and scholars. Before joining the SF State faculty, she also taught at Harvard College, the City College of New York, and the College of the Holy Cross, and held a Robbins Fellowship at the Institute for Medieval Canon Law at the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law (1972-74).

After a formative visit to Italy, Sally’s main intellectual interests shifted to Renaissance Florence and Venice, whose histories she taught for many years. She received several grants for archival work in Venice, working mainly on the life and times of a seventeenth-century woman who endured three Inquisition trials on charges of witchcraft. She also wrote on Venetian travel literature and Renaissance historiography. Her most recent article (2010) was on "Carnality and the Venetian Inquisition."

In 1981 in Venice she married her husband, David McNeil (now professor emeritus of history at San José State University); their son Trevor McNeil is currently working in the Middle East with the National Democratic Institute. In later years, she and David enjoyed exotic travel, along with frequent stays in their "little stone house" in eastern Tuscany.

At San Francisco State, Sally played leadership roles in Phi Beta Kappa and the United Professors of California. As the first faculty director of the campus Presidential Scholars Program, a post she held from 1996-2002, she created a model "college within a college" program. For the California State University System, she twice directed the overseas campus in Florence (1994-95 and 2002-03). She of course accompanied David when he directed the CSU campus in France (Aix-en-Provence, 1983-84).

Sally had a number of passions, which her international circle of friends found delightful and infectious. She entertained with warmth and elegance, cooked with professional skill and was the very embodiment of "bella figura." She was widely and impressively knowledgeable about art, literature, and jazz. A passionate supporter of movements for social justice, she was often moved to participate in demonstrations. She delighted in her friends (many of them former students) and, even in illness, retained her tremendous sense of humor and interest in the larger world.

In addition to her husband and son, she leaves a daughter, Nadja Jackson, of Los Altos; a sister, Susan Scully Troy of Wellesley MA; a granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews.

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RSA Research Grants

Research Grants for 2012 for Members of the Renaissance Society of America
Applications will open in the fall of 2011

Deadline: 31 December 2011

The Renaissance Society of America will award eighteen grants in the year 2012.

The grants are:
RSA Research Grants (9 grants)
Rensselaer W. Lee Memorial Grant in Art History (1 grant)
Paul Oskar Kristeller Memorial Grant (1 grant)
Bodleian Library Research Grant (1 grant)
Patricia H. Labalme Grant (1 grant)
Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grant in Renaissance Art History (5 Grants)

The Renaissance Society of America will award up to nine RSA Research Grants in amounts up to $3,000. Three grants will be awarded in each of the three rank categories of Nondoctoral Scholar, Younger Scholar, and Senior Scholar (see the website for category descriptions). RSA Research Grants are available to applicants in all disciplines and topics dealing with the Renaissance.

RSA also awards two named grants of $3,000 each. One is the Rensselaer W. Lee Grant in Art History, open to all three rank categories in the discipline of art history. The other is the Paul Oskar Kristeller Grant, open to all disciplines in all three rank categories.

The Bodleian Library Research Grant supports a one-month residence in Oxford by a member of the RSA for the purposes of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Library, with an additional stipend of $3,000.

The Patricia H. Labalme Grant, in collaboration with the Giorgio Cini Foundation, supports a one-month residence in at the Centro Vittore Branca on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore for the purpose of research in Venice, with a total award of $3,000.

There are five Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grants in Renaissance Art History of $3,000 each, open to art historians at the level of Younger or Senior Scholar; that is, applicants for the Kress Foundation Grants must hold the doctorate at the time of application. These grants will support the costs of publication or research leading to publication in the history of art.

Please note that all applicants must be members of The Renaissance Society of America for the required number of years (see website for the minimum requirement in each category). RSA grants are not intended to cover costs associated with the publication of books or articles; only the Kress Grants may be used for that purpose. Research Grants will be awarded in three categories according to the career stage and employment circumstances of applicants.

For further information please see the website.

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