CALL FOR PAPERS: Truth and Truthiness: Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages & Renaissance

Truth and Truthiness: Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

December 1, 2018
The 26th Biennial Conference of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program of Barnard College

Plenary Speakers: Lorna Hutson (University of Oxford), Dyan Elliott (Northwestern University)

The capacity of language both to communicate truth and to manipulate perceptions of it was as vexed a problem for the Middle Ages and Renaissance as it is today. From Augustine to Erasmus, enthusiasm for the study of rhetoric was accompanied by profound concern about its capacity to mask the difference between authenticity and deceit, revelation and heresy, truth and truthiness. Even the claim of authenticity or transparency could become, some thinkers argued, a deliberate form of manipulation or “spin.”

In our current era when public figures aim to create effects of immediacy and authenticity, this conference looks at the history of debates about rhetoric and, more generally, about the presentation of transparency and truthfulness. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this conference considers the role of the verbal arts in the history of literature, law, politics, theology, and historiography, but also broadens the scope of rhetoric to include such topics as the rhetoric of the visual arts and the language of the new science to produce effects of objective access to “things themselves.”

Please submit an abstract of 250–300 words and a 2-page CV by April 30, 2018 to Rachel Eisendrath

CALL FOR PAPERS: Administrative accountability in the later Middle Ages: Records, procedures, and their societal impact

Bucharest, 16-17 November 2018

The emergence of new types of financial records, the creation of institutional procedures, and the birth of a bureaucratic corps in a society in which accountability had been largely social and moral represent key developments in the history of the later Middle Ages. The colloquium will explore the multifaceted reality of administrative accountability in Western Europe, c. 1200-1450. Because the renewed interest in the subject makes methodological exchanges all the more timely, the colloquium will provide a venue for testing new approaches to the sources. Special attention will be given to underexplored archival documents, such as the castellany accounts (computi) of late-medieval Savoy, and to topics that have hitherto received less attention, such as the social impact of institutional consolidation. Comparisons with better-known texts, such as the English pipe rolls, are also encouraged.

The colloquium is organised in the frame of the European Research Council Starting Grant no. 638436, ‘Record-keeping, fiscal reform, and the rise of institutional accountability in late-medieval Savoy: a source-oriented approach’ (University of Bucharest)

Proposals for 30-minute papers are invited on topics including:
  • the institutional dialogue between the central and local administration
  • the impact of administrative and fiscal reform on local communities
  • accounting practices and the auditing of financial records
  • the cultural underpinnings of medieval accountability
  • prosopography: background and career of administrators, from auditing clerks to castellans
  • methodological advances, from manuscript studies to sociological frameworks
  • the transfer of administrative models across medieval Europe

The colloquium papers, which will collected in an edited volume published with an international academic press, should reflect original, unpublished research. The authors will be given the opportunity to revise their contributions for publication.

Papers can be presented in English or French; if delivered in French, it is the author’s responsibility to have the paper translated into English for publication.

For inquiries, contact Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici or Roberto Biolzi

Proposals of circa 300 words, outlining the source material, methodology, and anticipated findings, should be emailed to Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici by 30 March 2018.

The organisers will provide three nights hotel accommodation and help defray travel expenses.

https://irhunibuc.wordpress.com/medieval-accountability/

Project Description:

This project focuses on an unjustly neglected corpus of sources, the fiscal accounts (computi) of the castellanies, or basic administrative units, of late-medieval Savoy. It deploys a holistic model of analysis that can fully capitalize on the unusually detailed computi in order to illuminate some of the key developments in late-medieval history, from administrative and fiscal reforms and the progress of institutional accountability to the socioeconomic decline and recovery from the late-thirteenth to the late-fourteenth century. More broadly, research into these topics aims to contribute to our understanding of the late-medieval origins of European modernity.

The advances of pragmatic literacy, record-keeping, and auditing practices are analysed with the aid of social scientific theories of practice. By comparing the Savoyard computi with their sources of inspiration, notably the Anglo-Norman pipe rolls, the project aims to highlight the creative adaptation of imported administrative models, thereby contributing to our knowledge of institutional transfers in European history. The project proposes an inclusive frame of analysis in which the computi are read against the evidence from enfeoffment charters, castellany surveys (extente), and the records of direct taxation (subsidia).

The project focuses on a sample of castellanies from the heartland of the Savoyard principality, analysed by the Principal Investigator. Two postdoctoral researchers will study the records of a few other castellanies from outside the bailiwick of Savoy as test cases for the Principal Investigator’s analysis.


CALL FOR PAPERS: North American Conference on British Studies - Annual Meeting

Providence, Rhode Island, October 25-28, 2018
Deadline: 30 March 2018

The NACBS and its affiliate, the Northeast Conference on British Studies, seek participation by scholars in all areas of British Studies for the 2018 meeting. We will meet in Providence, Rhode Island, from October 25-28, 2018. We solicit proposals for presentations on Britain, the British Empire, and the British world, including topics relating to component parts of Britain and on British influence (or vice versa) in Ireland, the Commonwealth, and former colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean (etc.) Our interests range from the medieval to the modern. We welcome participation by scholars from across the humanities and social sciences, from all parts of the globe (not just North America), and from all career stages and backgrounds. We reaffirm our commitment to British Studies broadly conceived, and welcome proposals that reflect the diversity of scholars and scholarship in the field.

We invite panel proposals that address selected themes, methodology, and pedagogy, as well as roundtable discussions of topical and thematic interest, including conversations among authors of recent books, reflections on landmark scholarship, and discussions about professional practice. We are particularly interested in submissions that have a broad chronological focus and/or interdisciplinary breadth. Standard panels typically include three presenters speaking for 20 minutes each, a commentator, and a chair, while roundtables typically include four presenters speaking for 15 minutes each and a chair. We are open to other formats, though; please feel free to consult with the program committee chair.

We hope to secure as broad a range of participation as possible and will thus consider individual paper proposals in addition to the standard full panel proposals. Our preference is for panels that include both emerging and established scholars; we welcome the participation of junior scholars and Ph.D. candidates beyond the qualifying stage. To foster intellectual interchange, we ask applicants to compose panels that feature participation from multiple institutions. In an effort to allow a broader range of participants, no participant will be permitted to take part in more than one session in a substantial role. (That is, someone presenting or commenting on one panel cannot also present or comment on another, though individuals presenting or commenting on one panel may serve as chairs for other panels, if need be.) Submissions are welcome from participants in last year’s conference, though if the number of strong submissions exceeds the number of available spaces, selection decisions may take into account recent participation.

As complete panels are more likely to be accepted, we recommend that interested participants issue calls on H-Albion or social media (e.g., @TheNACBS on Twitter or on the NACBS Facebook page) to arrange a panel. If a full panel cannot be arranged by the deadline, however, please do submit the individual proposal and the program committee will try to build submissions into full panels as appropriate.

In addition to the panels, we will be sponsoring a poster session. The posters will be exhibited throughout the conference, and there will be a scheduled time when presenters will be with their posters to allow for further discussion.

The submission website is now open – submissions will close as of March 30 2018.

All submissions are electronic, and need to be completed in one sitting. Before you start your submission, you should have the following information:
  • Names, affiliations and email addresses for all panel participants. PLEASE NOTE: We create the program from the submission, so be sure that names, institutional titles, and paper titles are provided as they should appear on the program. 
  • A note whether data projection is necessary, desired, or unnecessary.
  • A brief summary CV for each participant, indicating education, current affiliations, and major publications. (750 words maximum per CV.)
  • Title and Abstract for each paper or presentation. Roundtables do not need titles for each presentation, but if you have them, that is fine. If there is no title, there should still be an abstract – i.e. “X will speak about this subject through the lens of this period/approach/region etc.”
  • POSTERS: Those proposing posters should enter organizer information and first presenter information only.
  • All communication will be through the panel organizer, who will be responsible for ensuring that members of the panel receive the information they need.

All program presenters must be current members of the NACBS by September 28, one month before the conference, or risk being removed from the program.

Some financial assistance will become available for graduate students (up to $500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed members within ten years of their terminal degree ($300). Details of these travel grants and how to apply will be posted to www.nacbs.org and emailed to members after the program for the 2018 meeting is prepared.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Re-reading Hebrew Scripture: Old Testament Cycles in Medieval Wall Painting

University of Milan - Università degli Studi di Milano, October 16 - 18, 2018

CFP Deadline: Feb 15, 2018

Rereading Hebrew Scripture: Old Testament Cycles in Medieval Wall Painting

The Chair of History of Medieval Art, Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment - University of Milan, organises an International Conference concerning the Old Testament narrative in medieval wall painting. Four thematic sessions are scheduled, calling for 20 minutes papers to be presented in Italian/English/French.

1st Session: Early Christian Pictorial Tradition and Early Middle AgesThe aim is to bring into focus the relationship between the monumental pictorial tradition set up in the early Christian Rome and its reworking in the early Middle Ages. To what extent did the paradigm of Santa Maria Maggiore, Old St. Peter’s and San Paolo fuori le Mura expressed its leading role in Old Testament sequences like those in Santa Maria Antiqua and Santa Maria in via Lata in Rome, in the Crypt of the Original Sin in Matera, or in St. John in Müstair? On the other hand, what was the impact of different models (also Byzantine), of patronage and liturgical space in setting the iconographic programme?

2nd Session: The Thematic and Narrative Development in the Romanesque PeriodThe widespread revival of early Christian iconography in the Romanesque period is reflected by the Old Testament narrative, which regains room in church decorations, especially dealing with the first part of the Genesis: mainly in the Roman area (Santa Maria in Ceri, San Tommaso in Anagni, San Paolo inter vineas in Spoleto, Castro dei Volsci, Ferentillo, San Giovanni a Porta Latina), but also in the South (Sant’Angelo in Formis, Santa Maria d’Anglona), in the northern Italy (Galliano, Agliate, Carugo, Muralto, Acquanegra), north of the Alps (Saint-Savin and Château-Gontier in France; Idensen, Brauweiler and Berghausen in Germany; Gurk and Matrei in Austria), and in the Iberian Peninsula (Bagüés, Sigena). The session will offer the opportunity to compare subjects, themes and solutions on a European scale, highlighting continuity, recurrences, peculiarities, deviations and anomalies.

3rd Session: Old Testament Cycles and Multi-layered MeaningUniversal chronicles remind us that an Old Testament cycle was primarily a historical and chronological depiction of the humankind on the path to salvation: the ‘visual device’ in the nave of Acquanegra is a clear example. Still, the events before the Incarnation shall be understood in a figurative sense, what is depicted in Agliate lining up the Creation of Adam and Eve precisely above the Annunciation and the Nativity. This does not preclude a manipulation driven by political claims, as seems to be expressed in the cycle of Joseph in San Marco in Venice. Therefore, a full account of the visual relationships within the liturgical space is required.

4th Session: The Role of Patriarchs, Judges, Prophets and KingsSince at least the mid 5th century, with the mosaic panels in the nave of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the Hebrew Scripture has also been illustrated through the stories of its protagonists: Patriarchs (Moses and Joshua in San Calocero in Civate), Judges (Samson in Galliano and Civate, Gideon in Civate and Sant’Angelo in Formis), Prophets (Ezekiel and Daniel in Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome), Kings (David in Müstair and Malles), involving a wide range of meanings, relationships and implications, which are still waiting to be figured out.

SubmissionsProposals should cover a wide range of aspects concerning each session, giving priority to the iconographic approach, to the relationships with the liturgical space and to the historical-institutional frame. Topics dealing with the monumental contexts mentioned above are especially welcome.
Proposals will be evaluated by the conference scientifc committee.
Submissions for a 20 minutes paper (in Italian/English/French) should include: paper title, abstract of around 300 words, a short CV including current affliation and full contact details. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file.

Proposals and enquiries should be sent to: Old Testament 2018

ScheduleDeadline for submissions: 15 February 2018.
Notification to the applicants: by 31 March 2018.
Final programme: by September 2018.
It is expected to publish in a double-blind Peer review Series.
Speakers will be asked to provide a final paper by 30 June 2019.

Practical InformationThere is no registration fee for participation or attendance.
Coffee breaks, lunches, and dinners will be provided to all speakers. Travel and accommodation expenses cannot be covered, but every effort will be made to secure special hotel rates.

Conference DirectorFabio Scirea, PhD, Lecturer in History of Medieval Art
Conference Scientifc Committee
Mauro della Valle, Stella Ferrari, Paolo Piva, Fabio Scirea, Andrea Torno Ginnasi, History of Medieval Art, University of Milan

CALL FOR PAPERS: XXXVII Scientific Instrument Symposium

3 - 7 September 2018
Leiden and Haarlem, The Netherlands


The XXXVII Symposium of the Scientific Instrument Commission will take place from the 3rd to the 7th of September 2018 in Leiden and Haarlem, the Netherlands. The general topic of the conference is Instruments and the ‘Empire of Man over Things’. In The New Organon (1620), Francis Bacon famously wrote that “the empire of man over things depends wholly on the arts and sciences. For we cannot command nature except by obeying her” [Works 8 (1863), 162-63]. How have instruments of the “arts and sciences” been deployed in efforts to “command nature” for social, economic, political or personal purposes? How have instruments entered public works projects (waterways, transport, energy, pollution control), economic projects (mining, agriculture, factories), or political projects (military, public health, exploration, cadastral surveying)? Are different instruments required when the goal is not only knowing but also controlling?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that fit in any of the following three subtopics.

1. Water works and technics is inspired by the fact that the SIC conference is taking place in the Netherlands and thus water works are very appropriate. Proposals in this session could range from locks, building of dykes, to all kind of measuring instruments used for water works or technics. Also social aspects may be the subject of a paper, as for large projects a lot of coordination, politics, economics is needed.

2. Electricity nods to the fact that Teylers Museum is famous for its huge electricity machine and Rijksmuseum Boerhaave has also large collection of electrical instruments. Proposals in this session could range from static electricity toys, human electricity to powerplants. Also economic aspects may be the subject of a paper, such as the electrification of the homes, cars and electrical energy.

3. Citizens instrumental science proceeds from the idea that in the eighteenth century Dutch societies of interested upper middle class citizens flourished. Teylers is only one of them. In other countries people also gathered to see demonstrations by Desaguliers and others. What kind of organisations were they and what instruments were used and what for? Who joined these gatherings and what came of it? What was their relationship with the universities? Proposals in this session will address to these questions and other aspects of scientific societies.

Furthermore, the SIC invites members to organize other sessions that explore the general theme. Of course we also welcome proposals for sessions, papers or posters on any topic dealing with the material culture of science.

For the first time the SIC will include pitch sessions at the Dutch symposium. Speakers have to put forward their point of view of a subject in a short time. After 5 pitches we turn to an in-depth debate. SIC 2018 welcomes proposals for pitches related to the following two topics.

1. End of the SIC? In the past, historians of science took material heritage for granted and did not often make it a topic of analysis. Studies on the history of science and the activities related to scientific instruments (research, preservation, promotion) have been separated from each other for a long time. One of the main goals of the SIC in its early decades was to put this material heritage on the map. Nowadays more and more examples of interactions between the two fields appear: some historians of science base their researches and/or their lectures on scientific instruments, they co-curate exhibitions with curators, etc. So has the SIC done its job well? Should we step aside now? Proposals in this session should contain pitches with short and precise arguments and should contribute to an in-depth discussion on the future of the SIC.

2. Instruments that failed, became obsolete or forgotten. Cases of instruments that were regarded as failures have occurred throughout the centuries. But there are also cases of instruments that were relevant in their own time, but turned out to be no part of the history. And there are cases of research (instruments) which led to dead ends. Why do some instruments fail or fall into oblivion? What can we learn from such instruments? Can their study enrich the history of science? Should they be displayed and how? Proposals in this session should contain pitches with short and precise arguments and should contribute to an in-depth discussion on the role of these instruments in museums and the history of science.

The final deadline for the abstracts is March 1, 2018. The Symposium will be hosted jointly by Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden and the Teyler's Museum in Haarlem with visits to nearby cities and collections. The preliminary program can be found at the conference website.