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RSA 2019 Toronto

Sheraton Centre, 17–19 March 2019


Conference hashtag: #RenSA19

 The submissions website closed 15 August 2018.

Acceptance decisions were sent out on 2 November 2018. Please contact us at rsa@rsa.org if you have not received a decision email.

On this page:

RSA 2019 Toronto registration
Conference hotel
Travel, diversity, and on-site care grants
Conference sponsors
New for Toronto 2019
Submission process
Plenary lectures and special events
Book exhibit and advertising
CfP blogs
Graduate student guidelines
Teaching the conference
Cancellation policy
Presentation language
Professional conduct
Conference collegiality and social media
Audio and video recording policy


RSA 2019 Toronto Registration

Registration is now open for RSA 2019 Toronto. Log into your RSA member account and register by 31 January 2019 to receive the best rates.

  until 31 January 2019 from 1 February 2019 to 19 March 2019, including on site
Regular Member Rate $185 $235
Reduced Member Rate – students, independent scholars, adjunct instructors, part-time instructors, unemployed non-students, and retired scholars $120 $145
Non-member $330 $370

Accepted presenters are required to be current members of the RSA and to register for the conference by 31 December 2018; after this date, unregistered presenters will be permanently removed from program. For details on RSA member benefits and a full list of dues rates please visit our Join RSA page.


Conference hotel

On the first day of the conference, sessions will be held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and the University of Toronto (two subway stops away). On the second and third days, all sessions will be held at the Sheraton Centre. The RSA has reserved a block of sleeping rooms at rates starting at $199 CAD per night (plus taxes and fees) for both singles and doubles. Reservations in the RSA block can be made by booking online at our reservation mini-site. If you prefer to book using the telephone, please call the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel group reservations line at 1-888-627-7175 and identify yourself as a member of the Renaissance Society of America. Please be advised that the hotel will charge a deposit equal to one night's stay (one night's rental fee plus taxes and fees) to guarantee your reservation; the deposit is refundable up to 72 hours in advance of your arrival date.


Travel, diversity, and on-site care grants

RSA members presenting at and attending the Toronto Annual Meeting are invited to apply for travel, diversity, and on-site care grants. Each grant has a separate application with different requirements, but the application deadline for all grants is 26 November 2018. RSA members may apply to any grant type for which they qualify and win up to two conference-related grants annually. Please keep in mind that these grants are competitive, not guaranteed. All applicants will be notified of their status on 15 January 2019.

Learn more about RSA travel, diversity, and on-site care grants and apply


Travel advisory for U.S. citizens: passport or passport card required for travel to Canada

Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens. While U.S. citizens used to be able to travel to Canada using just a state ID or driver's license in the past, requirements have changed. Please apply for or renew your U.S. passport or passport card now in order to avoid administrative delays and expedited processing fees. For more information please see the U.S. State Department's Canada Country Information.


Conference sponsors

The University of Toronto

Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Regis College, University of Toronto


New for Toronto 2019

Seminar Sessions

Twenty seminar sessions will take place throughout the conference, on topics submitted by the organizers and approved by the RSA Seminars Committee in February 2018. Seminars will consist of discussion of three-to-six pre-circulated essays of approximately 4,000 words. The essays will be circulated among the seminar participants well in advance of the meeting in Toronto. Prospective auditors will be required to read the essays prior to the conference as well.

Members may submit an abstract for inclusion in one particular seminar. If a submitted abstract is not selected for inclusion in the seminar, it will roll over into the general submission pool for review by the full Program Committee. Abstracts for the 2019 Toronto seminar sessions can be reviewed on the page linked below.

RSA 2019 Toronto seminar session abstracts


One-hour Workshops

On the first evening of the Toronto conference (Sunday, 17 March) there will be a time set aside, from 6:00–7:00 p.m., for one-hour workshops. RSA members are welcome to propose topics for workshops which they might lead, preferably as a team of scholars. The Program Committee will vet these proposals along with the other panel proposals. A workshop might address a pedagogical problem, or feature a career-oriented discussion, or present a series of mini-talks focusing on a primary source.


Rolling membership renewal

RSA has transitioned to rolling membership renewal as of June 2018. RSA memberships will last twelve months from the date of renewal.

An active RSA membership will be required to submit an individual paper abstract or organized session proposal. There will be no free "conference submitter" memberships offered in this year's submission cycle.

Those who renew their memberships in summer 2018 in order to submit to the 2019 conference will still hold active memberships in March 2019 when the Annual Meeting takes place.


Participant Disclaimer, Release and Indemnification of RSA

By registering to attend the conference, you agree to the Participant Disclaimer, Release and Indemnification and to abide by the RSA Professional Conduct Policy.


Submission process

Submissions website opens: early July 2018
Submission deadline: 15 August 2018
Acceptance notifications sent out: by 1 November 2018
Deadline to register for the conference: 31 December 2018

Find more detailed information on the Submission Guidelines page.


Plenary lectures and special events

2019 Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Monday, 18 March, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

"The Winged Eye at Work: Leon Battista Alberti Surveys Old Saint Peter's"

Leon Battista Alberti’s emblem was the winged eye. And no wonder. He studied optics, wrote about perspective and taught his contemporaries how to look at streets and buildings. Could he also see through time? In the old basilica of Saint Peter, Alberti did his astonishing best. This lecture will follow him at work, step by step, drawing on a wide range of sources. It will identify as much as possible of what he saw. It will reconstruct his practices as an architect and antiquarian and as a historian of the early church. And it will set them into the wider contexts of Roman projects both for the study of the ancient and for construction in the present. Alberti—so it will argue—envisioned the past as a jewel of many facets, which had to be seen and studied in many complementary ways.

Keynote Lecture, Society for Renaissance Studies, UK

Tuesday, 19 March, 12:45–1:45 p.m.

Katherine Ibbett, University of Oxford

"Staying Afloat: At the Surface of the Water in New France"

In this talk I’ll think through accounts of river navigation from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century New France. These accounts repeatedly return to the difficulties of staying afloat in new waters, and to the techniques needed to do so. This body of knowledge shapes what I am calling a literature of buoyancy; I’ll ask how these concerns about staying afloat shape European appraisals of Indigenous knowledge and behavior.


Book exhibit and advertising

The RSA 2019 Toronto book exhibit will be held at the Sheraton Centre all three days of the conference. Since we have discontinued our print program, we no longer offer program advertising, but we have a number of promotional opportunities such as mobile app banner advertising, tote bag inserts, and tote bag logo sponsorship. For full details on our book exhibit and advertising offerings please see our invitation letter then submit an order form to reserve your table or ad space.


Graduate student guidelines

The RSA welcomes graduate student speakers who are within one or two years of defending their dissertations. However, all sessions must include at least one speaker who has received the PhD or other terminal degree. Sessions composed entirely of predoctoral speakers and sessions that include precandidates or MA students will not be considered. Predoctoral speakers should present dissertation research, not term papers. Their CVs must include the dissertation title and expected date of completion to make their eligibility clear to the Program Committee. Find more eligibility information on the Submission Guidelines page.


Teaching the conference

Attending the conference can be a useful educational tool for undergraduates and beginning graduate students who are interested in learning about Renaissance studies or the academic profession generally. Professor Christopher Carlsmith wrote about his experience bringing undergraduates to the 2016 Annual Meeting in Boston. 

Please contact rsa@rsa.org to request more information on bringing students to the Annual Meeting as a pedagogical tool.


Cancellation policy

Acceptance to the conference is a commitment to attend. To withdraw after the registration deadline, except in cases of emergency, is discourteous to your colleagues and to all those whose papers were not accepted for lack of space. Reading in absentia (whether by video-conferencing or presentation by surrogates) is not permitted. The RSA wants to encourage discussion and dialogue among panelists and attendees, and this is not possible if the author of a paper is not present. Speakers who fail to register and fail to show up at the conference to give their papers will be barred from speaking at the next year’s conference.

If you must cancel your attendance at the RSA Annual Meeting due to an emergency and wish to request a refund, the following rules apply:

There are no refunds on RSA membership dues.

A partial refund of the conference registration fee may be available, under limited circumstances.

If you submit a refund request on or before 31 December 2018, you will be refunded 50 percent of your registration fee, minus a $25 administrative fee.

No refunds will be issued for requests sent on or after 1 January 2019.

Exceptions for serious medical and family emergencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the RSA Executive Director, President, and Vice President, upon receipt of an explanation. In such cases, if a refund is granted, a $25 administrative fee will be assessed.


Presentation language

The RSA encourages presenters to submit their abstracts and give their talks in English when possible, in order to ensure the broadest potential audience for the work being presented. Papers may be given in other languages as appropriate. We expect that papers will be delivered in the language in which the abstract is submitted.


Professional conduct

As an international, multidisciplinary organization, the RSA seeks to provide an inclusive and productive environment for its diverse conference participants. Refer to the RSA Professional Conduct Policy for more information and the procedure for filing a complaint.


Conference collegiality and social media

The primary purpose of the RSA's annual conference is to promote interdisciplinary exchange and the study of the period between 1300 and 1700. Recent advances in technology have opened up many new and exciting possibilities that can facilitate this exchange of ideas, and the use of social media like Twitter and Facebook at conferences has sparked a series of dynamic discussions over the best way to incorporate social media into the conference experience. We encourage members to use the new tools of social media to engage with the conference, while at the same time maintaining the basic standards of professional courtesy and collegiality that encourage open and unfettered intellectual exchange.

We thus offer two basic principles for interactions at the conference. First, following the common understanding of intellectual property, attributions and quotations on social media should be as clear as possible, accurately representing presenters' arguments and ideas. Secondly, presenters, audience members, and commentators (whether in-person or online) should maintain a professional tone, avoiding personal comments or other matters one would not typically raise in a published forum.

A list of guidelines for all conference participants is available here.


Audio and video recording policy

Audio recording, video recording, and live broadcasting of sessions are not permitted without the prior express consent of speakers and audience members, in order to protect the privacy and intellectual property rights of conference participants. Violators will be asked to leave the conference, and may be barred from attending future RSA conferences.

In rare circumstances, members of the media may record short pieces designed to convey the conference atmosphere. Such arrangements must be made through the Renaissance Society of America and require the consent of all speakers at a session. When recording is approved, a representative of the Renaissance Society of America will accompany the reporter and crew. The session organizer will announce to the audience that audio or video recording will take place during a part of the session. Only background recording is allowed, not the recording of an entire session.

Requests for exceptions must be made in writing to the Renaissance Society of America and relevant speakers at least thirty (30) days before the conference.

Members of the media may occasionally record short segments at non-session events, such as receptions. Such arrangements must be made through the Renaissance Society of America.

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