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Montreal 2011

The 57th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America

Montreal, 24–26 March 2011

Hilton Montreal Bonaventure



Conference program

A PDF version of the full program is available here

RSA Plenaries

Thursday, 24 March 2011 – Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture

Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society

Location: Hilton Montreal Bonaventure, Ballroom Westmount/Outremont

Peter Mack, Warburg Institute, University of London; Warwick University
Erasmus in Rhetoric and Rhetoric in Erasmus

Several of Erasmus's most celebrated works, including AdagiaCiceronianusDe copiaDe conscribendis epistolis, and Ecclesiastes, are contributions to the theory and teaching of rhetoric. Some of these books, which were first conceived as aids to Erasmus's private tutoring in the 1490s, were among the most influential rhetorical texts of the sixteenth century. At the same time, rhetorical approaches influence Erasmus's understanding of texts and the genre, structure, and style of many of his later works.

In the first half of the lecture, building on Chomarat's Grammaire et rhétorique chez Erasme and on the research I have conducted for my forthcoming History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380–1620, I shall describe Erasmus's immense contribution to Renaissance rhetoric, identifying the doctrines that most influenced later writers and showing how he improved classical and medieval rhetorical teachings. In the second part of the lecture, depending on the work of generations of Erasmus scholars, I shall trace the impact of rhetorical doctrines on a selection of Erasmus's major works, such as Praise of FollyEnchiridion militis ChristianiParaclesis, and the edition of St. Jerome. I shall explore the ways in which rhetorical habits of thought helped Erasmus formulate his individual understanding of the world. I aim to investigate the way in which Erasmus's thinking developed in dialogue with ideas about teaching.

Friday, 25 March 2011 – Plenary Session: Atlantic History

Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

Location: Hilton Montreal Bonaventure, Ballroom Westmount/Outremont

Organizer and Chair: Clare Carroll, CUNY, Queens College and The Graduate Center

Dominique Deslandres, Université de Montréal
The Others into Frenchmen: Religion, Gender and Assimilation in the Early Modern French World

This paper proposes new hypotheses regarding French expansion in the early modern period, showing that identical strategies of baptism, marriage and integration into French society were at work on both sides of the French Atlantic during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The attempts made by the political and religious authorities to implement these strategies in France and in New France show not only the central role of gender in the process of integration, but also the evolution from an initial political and religious openness to miscegenation (métissage) to a growing fear of misalliance and the promotion of concepts of a “bad race.”

Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, University of Texas at Austin
The Old Testament and the Spanish Colonization of the New World

From the moment Columbus first landed in America to the time Spain lost control of its kingdoms in the New World, the Old Testament shaped the colonial culture of the Spanish Empire. The Book of Samuel taught kings, priests and the "people" the interlocked and contested foundations of monarchical authority and popular sovereignty. While priests sought to recapitulate the lives of Aaron, Elijah, and Jonah, magistrates aspired to be like Moses and Joshua. Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers served out lessons on territorial expansion and colonization and the proper way to design the arks and tabernacles that were Catholic churches. This talk offers a panoramic survey of how the Old Testament shaped every aspect of colonial Spanish America.

Saturday, 26 March 2011 – Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

LocationHilton Montreal Bonaventure, Ballroom Westmount/Outremont

Anne Lake Prescott, Barnard College
From Sheephook to Scepter: David of Israel and Upward Mobility

Renaissance monarchies, like their medieval predecessors, affirmed a political theory that required, for communal order and cultural glory, the values of heredity and hierarchy. Yet such monarchies also affirmed a religion that could both remember the splendor of anointed kings such as David and look to the day when valleys would be exalted and mountains made low, when Lazarus would be saved and Dives languish in Hell. David himself, moreover, had been a shepherd — from a good family, yes, but still a shepherd, and soon to be persecuted by his king. His struggles, his respect for Saul’s own anointed kingship, and the twists in what modern Americans would call his career path led some Renaissance writers to exclaim admiringly over his divinely sanctioned rise, but also to meditate on its ambiguous relevance to their own political conflicts.


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Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS)
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