SRS Conference Grant Funding - Applications Deadline 31st January 2011

The Society for Renaissance Studies intends to make a number of grants of up to £1,500 each to support conferences or colloquia within the field of Renaissance Studies planned for calendar year 1 January 2012-31 December 2012 and held in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. These awards will not be made to individuals to attend conferences, but to the organizers of conferences to provide assistance with organizational support and/or the travel and subsistence costs of certain participants, including postgraduate students. The closing date for the receipt of applications to support conferences in 2012 is 31st January 2011 and further details, including application forms can be found at

Imagining the 17 Century in Manchester

‘Such Total and Prodigious Alteration’ / ‘The Wounds May
Be Again Bound Up’: Readings and Representations of the Seventeenth Century

Chetham’s Library, Manchester, 28th-29th January, 2011

During the restoration and eighteenth century, the civil war period was consistently represented as a traumatic break in the history of England and the British Isles, separating the institutionally and culturally modern Augustans from either the primitiveness or idealised simplicity of the earlier epoch. Today, much academic practice silently repeats the period’s self-representation as a century divided between pre and post civil war cultures, whether in research, job descriptions or in undergraduate survey courses. Among the effects of this division of labour is a tendency for the earlier ‘Renaissance’ decades to be privileged over the restoration, which is frequently treated as a poor relation to the eighteenth century.

This conference provides a forum for researchers in all disciplines whose work spans all or any part of the long seventeenth century. As our titular quotations from Clarendon’s *History of the Rebellion* and Swift’s sermon ‘On the Martyrdom of King Charles I’ suggest, we also encourage papers on subsequent imaginings of the period that have contributed to or contested the ways in which it is read today.

Concerns include but are not limited to:
+ The comparative study of seventeenth-century writing, sciences, visual arts and music before, during and after the civil war period; their material and intellectual dissemination; their relationship to ideas of what constitutes the early modern and the restoration.
+ Constructions of the seventeenth century from the restoration to the present; representations in literature, art, history and film; the cultural influence of the seventeenth century on subsequent periods.
+ The role critical theory can play in our reading of the period and/or narratives of the long seventeenth century from within literary criticism and critical theory; e.g. Leavis and Eliot on the Metaphysical poets, Walter Benjamin on the baroque, Foucault on madness, Habermas on the public sphere.
+ The study of non-canonical and marginalized texts and materials, and nationally comparative readings of the period.
+ The representation and reception of pre-seventeenth-century culture during the seventeenth century; the place of the past in the period’s self-representations.

Confirmed speakers include: Rosanna Cox (Kent), Jeremy Gregory (Manchester), Helen Pierce (York), George Southcombe (Oxford), Jeremy Tambling (Manchester), Edward Vallance (Roehampton), Jerome de Groot (Manchester)

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words to James Smith (Manchester) and Joel Swann (Keele) by 15th October 2010: We particularly encourage the participation of postgraduate students, whose attendance will be generously supported by the Society for Renaissance Studies.

Go to for more information.

Faerie Queene Now, From January 2011

Ewan Fernie and Simon Palfrey in conjunction with poet and professor Jo Shapcott have won a grant from the AHRC / ESRC Religion and Society programme for a major new creative project which will investigate the spiritual possibilities of the present by rescuing from neglect one of the great epics of English literature, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. A poem of militant Protestantism contemporary with the original establishment of the national church, The Faerie Queene is remote from mainstream secular society, and from its relatively quiescent and marginalised official church. Paradoxically, in present-day England Spenser's poem has most in common with the insurgent religious intensity of other, 'minority' faiths.  And yet, poetry itself has, since Spenser, lost much of its power to speak to and intervene in issues of fundamental social and religious concern.

‘The Faerie Queene Now’ responds by remaking religious poetry for today's world.  Kicking off from April this year, it speaks to where we have come from and where we are going by exploring Spenser's foundational poem in various present-day religious, educational and cultural contexts.  But it also aims to recreate and refunction Spenser's epic as a positive contribution to contemporary life.  It hopes to bring some of the energy of Spenser's art and moment into official English religion, which it also hopes to open further to energetic and diverse elements not allowed for or even foreseen by the original national church.  At the same time, it aims to bring official religion into creative dialogue with other groups in English society that are entirely beyond incorporation into any established church.  In short, the project seeks via poetry and the imagination the greatest possible representation of religious and secular interests in relation to our shared inheritance and to those issues of religion and society which, one way or another, matter to us all.

The project splits into two main component projects.  One is the The Faerie Queene Liturgy Project, which seeks to create new liturgical texts and solidarity-building rituals for contemporary society inspired by the quest for holiness in Book 1 of Spenser's epic.  Here Fernie will work in conjunction with Shapcott and another major contemporary poet, Michael Symmons Roberts, as well as with the theologian Andrew Shanks, who has made a case for 'shaken poetry' as a source of religious renovation.  This team will prepare two extraordinary, inclusive events for the two very different environments of Manchester Cathedral and St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, working in each case with an impressive group of consultants including scholars, artists and theologians.  The culminating event in Windsor will feature Andrew Motion and form part of the Windsor Spring Festival, 2011.  The event in Manchester, on May the 8th, 2011, will be preceded by a procession, through the city streets, with Catalan-style 'gegants', giant puppet figures, representing Spenserian figures. Fernie and Andrew Taylor, the Project Administrator, have recently won further funding to commission new ‘*Faerie Queene* Canticles’ to be performed on these occasions from composer Tim Garland and jazz trio Acoustic Triangle and the Holloway College Choir.

The Liturgy Project will be complemented by the Fable and Drama Project, in which Palfrey will work with the director Elisabeth Dutton to evolve new stories and a play through intense collaboration with heterogeneous educational communities: two ethnically diverse comprehensive secondary schools, both from socially deprived wards; and the radically different students of Oxford University.  This part of the project will come to fruition with a closed performance at Shakespeare’s Globe and, possibly, a new film.  The two projects will come together in two events of reflection, dialogue and synthesis:  a public arts event themed round Spenser and run by the Poet in the City charity at major London venue King's Place on the 7th of March 2011 and a two-day cross-sector conference on poetry and spirituality  at Cumberland Lodge 26th-28th of January 2011. 

For more and up-to-date details of the project and these events, please see the project website

Disguise in the Hispanic Golden Age, University of Oxford

Oxford Graduate Symposium in Spanish Golden Age Studies

Disguise in the Hispanic Golden Age

Saturday 22 January 2011

University of Oxford

Disguises are everywhere in the Spanish Golden Age. Most obviously, its literary and dramatic works are replete with characters who change their appearance in order to transgress boundaries of gender, race and social class in order to evade authority, confound social hierarchies and achieve their desires. When taken in its broadest definition, ‘to alter an appearance so as to mislead or deceive’, however, it becomes applicable to a far wider range of phenomena than characters who change their dress to become someone else. In this sense, both trompe l’oeil architecture, where a flat surface purports to stretch into three dimensional space, and a lo divino literature, where the Christian narrative is ‘dressed’ as pagan myth, may be considered under this rubric. However, this latter example confounds the second half of the above definition; its purpose is not to deceive but to instruct.

Similarly, at the height of the Counter Reformation, the Catholic theology of the Eucharist depended on the notion that Christ’s presence was veiled by the accidents of bread and wine, not to mislead, but rather to edify. Additionally, several definitions of ‘disguise’ emphasise its purpose as effective concealment of one’s true nature. However, in several of the examples above, successful interpretation of a disguise is dependent on the recognition of the subject’s dual nature - of their true being and their disguised appearance. Throughout the symposium, we will explore all manner of examples of things taking on alternative appearances, in order to consider the following questions: How was the notion of disguise (both in its sartorial and wider sense) understood in the Hispanic Golden Age? Is there always a necessary element of deception, and can this have an educative purpose? What is the relationship between disguises in literature, the theatre, architecture and theology? How recognisable are both natures of the disguised subject, to creator, to viewer and to other characters? What are the implications when one nature is recognisable to some, but not to others? What can the treatment of the notion of disguise tell us about ways of thinking, creating and reading in the Spanish Golden Age, and about our own ways of reading the period?

Topics may include, but are not confined to, the following:

• Costume and disguise in the comedia
• Satire
• Decir sin decir
• Censorship and subversion
• Court literature and panegyric
• Trompe l’oeil architecture
• Civic and religious architecture
• Private and public spheres
• Celebrations of the Eucharist
• A lo divino poetry
• Religious syncretism in the Americas

Please submit proposals of up to 250 words for papers of no more than 20 minutes, in English or Spanish, to or no later than 30th October 2010.

Rewriting the System of Nature. Linnaeus's Use of Writing Technologies

STS Seminar Series 2010-11

Monday 17 January

5pm in room G.03, Department of Science and Technology Studies, 22 Gordon Square (main UCL Campus)

Staffan Mueller-Wille and Isabelle Charmantier (University of Exeter)

In this seminar we want to present results from a Wellcome Trust funded research project studying the ways in which Carl Linnaeus assembled, filed, and cross-referenced information about plants and their medicinal virtues. It is a well-known fact that Linnaeus was one of the first to write about a "natural system" of plants and to suggest that plants of the same "natural order" share similar pharmaceutical properties.

His manuscripts, held at the Linnean Society (London) and various institutions in Sweden, provide an excellent opportunity to understand how information processing practices determine such ideas. They document how Linnaeus experimented with a variety of paper-based information technologies throughout his career -- including commonplace- and notebooks, maps, schematic diagrams and drawings, collections of loose paper sheets, sometimes folded up to form slim files, annotations in interleafed copies of Linnaeus’s own publications, and paper-slips resembling index cards. His "natural system" emerged not out of direct observation of nature, but out of Linnaeus’s day-to-day work of revising and rearranging what he and others had written earlier.

Part of the Science and Technology Seminar series at UCL. For more iunformation contact the organizer Chiara Ambrosio: ucrhcam@UCL.AC.UK

CNRS Post Doctoral Opportunity in France : Deadline 1st January 2011

France’s National Centre for Scientific Research is offering tenured Research Fellowships in the Humanities.


The IRCL (Institute for Research in the Renaissance, the neo-Classical age and the Enlightenment), a joint research centre of the CNRS and the university of Montpellier III, welcomes applications in the field of Shakespearean and Early Modern Studies, ideally within the compass of, or able to interact with, the centre’s areas of interest in those fields.

Research Fellows recruited by the CNRS and attached to the IRCL would be expected to live in or near Montpellier and actively participate in the life of the centre.

Anyone interested in considering applying or wishing for further information or guidance should contact the director of the IRCL, Professor Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, at: A recommendation is welcomed.

Applications should reach the CNRS between December 1, 2010 and January 1, 2011.  The monthly salary starts at £2,100 net. Research Fellows are attached to a research centre of the CNRS in the relevant field.

There is no age limit but recruitments suggest that the CNRS favours young applicants in their late twenties and certainly under 40.

A good knowledge of written and spoken French is imperative, since the two-tiered procedure is entirely in French, as follows:

1/ Applications are assessed by a board of Research Fellows at the national level: CV, PhD, publications, planned research project

2/ Interview, bearing essentially on the research project

For more information on the CNRS and careers at the CNRS Website of the CNRS: