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RSA 2019 Toronto Plenary lectures and special events

2019 Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture

Monday, 18 March, 6:00–7:00 p.m. (View in program)

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. (View in program)

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.


Annual member meeting

Tuesday, 19 March, 5:45–6:15 p.m.
Birchwood Ballroom, Sheraton Centre (View in program)


RSA awards ceremony

Tuesday, 19 March, 6:15–6:45 p.m.
Birchwood Ballroom, Sheraton Centre (View in program)


Closing reception

Tuesday, 19 March, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Grand Ballroom East & Centre, Sheraton Centre

Wine, artisan cheese, and soft drinks will be served.

Who may attend: All conference attendees are invited to attend the Closing Reception. You do not need to register separately to attend the Closing Reception and there is no additional cost to attend.

Your registration badge serves as the entry ticket. Those under the age of 21 are not permitted to attend the reception due to hotel restrictions.

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