CALL FOR PAPERS: Framing the Face: New perspectives on the history of facial hair

One-day workshop, 28 November 2015
Friend’s Meeting House, Euston Road, London

Over the past five centuries, facial hair has been central to debates about masculinity. Over time, changing views of masculinity, self-fashioning, the body, gender, sexuality and culture have all strongly influenced men’s decisions to wear, or not wear, facial hair. For British Tudor men, beards were a symbol of sexual maturity and prowess. Throughout the early modern period, debates also raged about the place of facial hair within a humoural medical framework. The eighteenth century, by contrast, saw beards as unrefined and uncouth; clean-shaven faces reflected enlightened values of neatness and elegance, and razors were linked to new technologies. Victorians conceived of facial hair in terms of the natural primacy of men, and new models of hirsute manliness. All manner of other factors from religion to celebrity culture have intervened to shape decisions about facial hair and shaving.

And yet, despite a recent growth in interest in the subject, we still know little about the significance, context and meanings of beards and moustaches through time, or of its relationship to important factors such as medicine and medical practice, technology and shifting models of masculinity. We therefore welcome papers related to, but by no means limited to the following questions:

  • To what extent were beards a symbol of masculinity and what key attributes of masculinity did they symbolise? 
  • To what extent did the profession of the barber influence beard styles and the management of facial hair? 
  • To what extent were beard trends led by the elite and by metropolitan fashion? 
  • How far did provincial trends influence metropolitan trends through migration? 
  • What impact did changing shaving technologies have on beard fashions/trends?
  • How were beards understood within the medical frameworks of different eras? 
  • How have women responded to facial hair in different eras? 
  • How has the display of facial hair by women been viewed as both a medical and cultural phenomena?

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words, by 30th September 2015, to

For further information please contact the organisers
Dr Alun Withey, University of Exeter
Dr Jennifer Evans, University of Hertfordshire

On the Matter of Books and Records: Forms, Substance, Forgeries, and Meanings Beyond the Lines

We are pleased to announce the forthcoming international workshop on the materiality of written culture from Antiquity to Modern Europe, organised by the AR.C.H.I.ves Project (Birkbeck, University of London), the Ligatus Research Centre (University of the Arts London) and the History of Design Programme (Royal College of Art / Victoria & Albert Museum).

The conference will take place on 23 November 2015 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Please see the programme below, also available at, and

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10.00-10.30 Registration and Coffee
10.30-10.45 Filippo de Vivo and Marta Ajmar: Introduction

10.45 – 12.15
First Session - Supports: Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper
Danae Bafa (UCL): From Boats to Book-rolls: Unfolding the Materiality of Papyrus in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Jessica Berenbeim (Magdalene College, University of Oxford): What Parchment is, and What it Means
Maria Alessandra Chessa (V&A Museum): From the Nature of Paper to Meaning and Function
1.30 – 2.30
Second Session - Binding Books and Documents
Anna Gialdini (Ligatus, UAL) and Alessandro Silvestri (Birkbeck): Binding and Rebinding Records in Late Medieval Sicily. A Material Approach to Administrative History
Carlo Federici (Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice): Bindings, Parchments and Papers. My Pathway to the Archaeology of the Book

2.30-3.00 Coffee Break

3.00 – 4.10
Third Session - Forgery in Books and Documents
Emily Taylor (British Museum): Book Forgeries: A Composite Fake and Egyptological Conundrum from the British Museum’s Collection
Alfred Hiatt (Queen Mary University of London): Forgery of Documents in the Late Middle Ages
4.10-4.30 Ian Sansom, University of Warwick: Closing remarks: The Paper Museum

5.00 Wine Reception

Registration to the workshop is now open. Places are limited and we recommend you register as soon as possible. Shall the number of registrations exceed that of available places, we will be running a waiting list. Please register at within 15 November 2015.

We are also happy to announce that a small number of travel bursaries are available to enable graduate students to attend (see We would be grateful if you could circulate the information among potentially interested students. Applications should be sent to by 15 October 2015.

For any further enquiries visit or feel free to get in touch with the organisers:

Alessandro Silvestri:
Anna Gialdini:
Maria Alessandra Chessa:

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Opportune Moment and the Early Modern Theatre of Politics

An initiative of the Grasping Kairos Research Network

Thursday 12th November 2015, 13.00-20.00, Room 112, 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, University of London   Seminar: 13.00-17.30

Keynote: 18.00-19.00 Professor Neil Rhodes, University of St Andrews, followed by a drinks reception

This seminar will be the first meeting of Grasping Kairos, an international research network ( which investigates the history of the opportune moment (kairos/ occasio) in literature, theory, art, religion and philosophy. This seminar will focus on the uses, and the idea, of the opportune moment in the political theatre / theatrical politics of the European Renaissance.

Although in many ways lost to contemporary conceptualisations of temporality, kairos/occasio was an essential part of the Renaissance world-view. Writers from Machiavelli to Shakespeare reiterated the importance of recognising and properly seizing kairos or ‘occasion’ in order to achieve desired ends – whether personal or political. The need to be attentive to this moment could justify normally immoral actions, and so kairos was associated with moral flexibility, deviousness and cunning, both in the political and theatrical worlds.

We invite papers that explore the concept of kairos/occasio in relation to any aspect of early modern theatre or political thought in the period 1500-1660. Questions that papers might address include:
  • How does the concept of the opportune moment shape political and performative spheres in the period?
  • How do discourses of kairos/occasio outside politics or theatre impact its representation in those respective worlds?
  • What is the relationship between the idea of the opportune moment in political and in theatrical discourses?
  • What performative strategies employ concepts of the moment in the early modern period?
  • How is kairos/occasio visualised on the early modern stage? 
  • In what ways is the concept of the opportune moment used to confirm or destabilise identity? 
  • How does the idea or representation of kairos/occasio change across this time period?

To attend the seminar, please send an abstract of max. 300 words, accompanied by a one-page CV by 30th September 2015 to the seminar organisers Dr Joanne Paul, Dr Kristine Johanson, and Dr Sarah Lewis at We welcome abstracts from both established scholars and postgraduates. If you would like to audit the seminar, please email the network and hopefully we will be able to accommodate you.

To attend the keynote address, please email to be added to the list of attendees.

For more information, please visit the Grasping Kairos website:

This event is funded by a London Renaissance Seminar Small Prize Internship

Montaigne in Early Modern England and Scotland

Dates: Fri.-Sat. 6-7 Nov. 2015

Confirmed speakers:

Warren Boutcher (Queen Mary)
Will Hamlin (Washington State)
Katie Murphy (Oxford)
John O’Brien (Durham)
Richard Scholar (Oxford)
David Louis Sedley (Haverford)

The Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) at Durham University invites proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of the reception of Montaigne’s Essais in England and the larger Anglophone world, including Ireland, Scotland, and North America, during the first two hundred years following their initial publication in French. Any approach to the study of Montaigne’s influence is welcome, including literary criticism, philosophy, theology, psychology, history of science, and history of the book. Authors to consider range from Bacon and Hobbes up to Locke and Hume, and include literary figures, as well, such as Florio, Cornwallis, Daniel, Shakespeare, Jonson, Burton, Browne, Dryden, Johnson, Pope, Swift, and Sterne. Early career academics and postgraduates are encouraged to apply, as well as more established scholars. For consideration, please send a title, an abstract of no more than 200 words, and a one-page CV to no later than 1 August 2015.