Popular Culture

An Early Modern Studies in Scotland Seminar hosted by the Centre for Early Modern Studies, Aberdeen

A cross-disciplinary event examining the meanings of popular culture in the early modern period featuring scholars from Literature, History, Visual Culture, and Renaissance Animal Studies.

Friday 14th March 2014,
Meeting Room 1, Sir Duncan Rice Library (7th floor), University of Aberdeen. 12.30-5 pm.

12.30 - 1: Tea & Coffee

1-2.30 Session 1
Prof. Andrew Hadfield (Sussex): 'A Red Herring: Fishing, God and Polemic in Elizabethan England'
This talk will explore the significance of a strange herring caught off the coast of Norway in 1587, the pamphlets that the fish inspired and the ways in which the discovery contributed to late Elizabethan popular culture. I will also talk about the English fishing industry and its significance in the period, and the representation of herring in Nashe's Lenten Stuffe (1599).

Prof. Beat Kümin (Warwick): ‘The Return of the Elites? Observations on Recent Trends in Historical Research’
The early modern period is often associated with a growing divergence between the "little" and "great tradition". Some recent historical work, however, points to continued if not increasing interaction between "popular" and "elite" culture. This paper will reassess the issue with reference to case studies from the religious, political and convivial spheres.

2.30-3 pm. Refreshments

3-4.30 Session 2
Prof. Erica Fudge (Strathclyde) ‘Farmyard Choreographies in Early Modern England: Or, Dances with Invisible Cows in Popular Culture’
This paper will focus on the difficulties in tracking one of the most important and prosaic interactions in early modern England: that of people with their livestock. Dance manuals, ballads, and legal documents will help to address the nature of, and absence from the record of these relationships, and will raise questions about what we can say about early modern households and their ubiquitous, invisible, animals.

Dr Angela McShane (Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum) 'Wooden Idols: Viewing the Monarchy from the Street?'
This paper offers a riposte to long-held scholarly misconceptions of illustrated ballad woodcuts as ‘useless’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘merely generic’ or even ‘preposterous’. Instead, it applies what Baxendall has called a ‘period eye’ to the ‘bastard art’ of the woodcut (as James Knapp has phrased it), and locates the illustrated ballad in a contemporary cultural context. Adopting this more historically situated stance, it explores how the interactive images and texts of political ballads envisioned and imagined the governors and governed of seventeenth century England, and how ballad woodcuts, especially (though not exclusively) those of the Stuart monarchy, could serve both textually transformative and politically performative functions.

Orientation and Practical Information:

There are a limited number of postgraduate travel bursaries available. To apply for one, please contact the organiser.

Travel information, including campus maps, are available at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/maps/travel.php
For more information please contact the organiser Andrew Gordon

Dr Andrew Gordon
Co-Director, Centre for Early Modern Studies
English Department,
School of Language & Literature
Taylor Building
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UB