CALL FOR PAPERS: Authority Revisited: Towards Thomas More and Erasmus in 1516

Lectio International Conference 30th November - 3rd December 2016, University of Leuven, Belgium

In the year 1516, two crucial texts for the cultural history of the West saw the light: Thomas More’s Utopia and Desiderius Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum. Both of these works dealt freely with authoritative sources of western civilization and opened new pathways of thought on the eve of invasive religious and political changes.

Lectio and the University of Leuven, in collaboration with its RefoRC-partners the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden and the Europäische Melanchthon Akademie Bretten as well as other partners, will mark the 500th birthday of both foundational texts by organizing a conference, from November 30 through December 2, 2016. The university city of Leuven is a most appropriate place to have this conference organized, since it was intimately involved in the genesis and the history of both works.

The conference will be devoted to studying not only the reception and influence of Utopia and the Novum Instrumentum in (early) modern times, but also their precursors in classical antiquity, the patristic period, and the middle ages. The conference will thus lead to a better understanding of how More and Erasmus used their sources, and it will address the more encompassing question of how these two authors, through their own ideas and their use of authoritative texts, have contributed to the rise of modern western thought.

The conference also explicitly aims at enhancing our understanding of iconographic, book-, and art-historical aspects of the transmission of the texts under consideration, both before and after the publication of the two works.

This multidisciplinary Lectio conference wants to bring together international scholars working in the field of theology, art history, philosophy, history of science and historical linguistics.

Thomas More: Utopia Revisited

More’s colorful description of the allegedly recently discovered island of Utopia was so influential as to lend its name to a literary genre. At the same time, although the name Utopia is a neologism invented in More's circle , the utopian tradition reaches back to antiquity.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

The best known examples from classical antiquity are Plato’s descriptions of the ideal state. Yet there are other instances, such as the myth of the golden age, elaborated in many different ways by numerous ancient writers. In addition, More had a thorough knowledge of the works by Greek and Roman thinkers such as Plutarch, Lucian, Cicero, and Seneca. The conference aims to map these ancient representations of the ideal state and to study the way in which More was influenced by them.

Equally influential is the Christian tradition, most prominently laid down in Augustine’s City of God, a text of central importance that marks the transition from antiquity to the middle ages. Augustine’s eschatological view of the perfect City may, for example, be the subject of contributions to the conference. By extension, the various forms of the mythical account of Cockaigne enter the picture as possible topics.

Also of direct impact on Utopia were reports about the New World (for example in the letters of Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus, or Peter Martyr of Anghiera) and the images of the New World in Europe. It would be an interesting contribution to the conference to study in which ways the discovery and description of an “unspoiled” world and its inhabitants inspired More’s views.

Renaissance humanists also influenced More’s Utopia. The most renowned example is, of course, Erasmus. But the views of other humanists, like Pico della Mirandola, also shaped More’s thought. Similarly, the scholastic tradition deserves to be studied in at this juncture. Renaissance humanism and scholasticism were difficult to reconcile, according to More, and on more than one occasion he sets one over against the other.

The conference shall also pay due attention to the reception of Utopia in early modern times, both in the vernacular and in Latin. Authors such as Tommaso Campanella, Vasco de Quiroga, Francis Bacon, Johann Eberlin, Kaspar Stiblin, and Johann Valentin Andreae may be investigated in this regard, as well as the genre of the picaresque novel.

Of particular interest are iconographic, book-, and art-historical aspects of the transmission of Utopia as well as the works of More’s predecessors.

Erasmus: The New Testament Revisited 

Erasmus’s revision of the New Testament text was groundbreaking. Obviously, however, Erasmus’s foundational work cannot be properly understood apart from his predecessors’ endeavors to translate the Bible and to comment on it, or to deal with the Bible from a text-critical perspective.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

Papers studying biblical exegesis in Christian antiquity and its reception in the works by Erasmus. More in particular, paper topics may include Jerome’s Vulgata, Origen’s Hexapla, and relevant commentaries on Scripture, such as those of Chrysostom and others. Erasmus’s recourse to classical language and culture in the Annotationes to his New Testament may also be the subject of paper proposals.

Medieval biblical exegesis: Even though self-declared pioneers like Erasmus and the Renaissance humanists were not keen to be associated with medieval biblical exegesis, this aspect of possible influences and sources cannot be neglected. The conference invites contributions on the biblical Renaissance of the twelfth century and later (among others, the Glossa ordinaria, Hugh of St. Victor and the Parisian Victorines, Peter Comestor, Peter Cantor and Stephen Langton, Hugh of St. Cher and Nicholas of Lyra). In sum, the conference aims to explore the extent to which Erasmus and his fellow humanists integrated the progress made by medieval biblical exegesis.

The link between Erasmus and Renaissance humanism, both in northern Europe (Agricola, Cornelius Gerardi Aurelius) and in Italy (Lorenzo Valla, Gianozzo Manetti). The main question is here how Erasmus’s Christian humanism did relate to the broader cultural historical current of renewed textual criticism.

The reception of Erasmus’s text-critical and exegetical work in the early modern era will be explored through the establishment of (new) authoritative version(s) of the New Testament and the debates that accompanied the process (Novum Instrumentum, Vulgata, Textus Receptus) as well as the elaboration of humanist, Protestant, and Catholic exegesis, from Luther and Melanchthon through Beza, from Dorpius, Franciscus Lucas Brugensis and Jansenius Gandavensis, via Estienne, Arias Montanus, through Maldonatus, etc. We further look forward to receiving papers on how Erasmus’ New Testament was used in the development of early modern vernacular versions, on all sides of the confessional spectrum.

Of particular interest are iconographic, book-, and art-historical aspects of the transmission of the texts, both of Erasmus’s predecessors and of Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum.

Papers may be given in English or French and the presentation should take 20 minutes.
To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of approximately 300 words (along with your name, academic affiliation and contact information) to by January 15, 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of March 2016.

The publication of selected papers is planned in a volume to be included in the peer-reviewed LECTIO Series (Brepols Publishers).

Invited speakers:Gillian Clark (University of Bristol)
Henk Jan De Jonge (Leiden University) 
Günter Frank (Europäische Melanchthon Akademie)
Brad Gregory (University of Notre Dame)
Quentin Skinner (Queen Mary University of London)

Venue: The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, Janseniusstraat 1, 3000 Leuven

Organising Committee:
Erik De Bom, Anthony Dupont, Wim François, Jan Papy, Marleen Reynders, Andrea Robiglio, Violet Soen, Gerd Van Riel 

Scientific Committee:
Rita Beyers (U Antwerpen), Erik De Bom (KU Leuven), Anthony Dupont (KU Leuven), Wim François (KU Leuven), Günter Frank (Europäische Melanchthon Akademie, Bretten), Jan Papy (KU Leuven), Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven), Herman Selderhuis (Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek, Emden), Violet Soen (KU Leuven), Gerd Van Riel (KU Leuven), Wim Verbaal (U Gent)

Lectio KU Leuven
Faculties of Arts, Law, Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies Blijde Inkomststraat 5
3000 Leuven
+32 16 328778

CALL FOR PAPERS: Shakespeare and European Theatrical Cultures: AnAtomizing Text and Stage

27 – 30 July 2017 University of Gdańsk and The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, Poland 

This conference will convene Shakespeare scholars at a theatre that proudly stands in the place where English players regularly performed 400 years ago. This makes us ponder with renewed interest the relation between theatre and Shakespeare. The urge to do so may sound like a commonplace, but it comes to us enhanced by the fact that in the popular and learned imagination alike Shakespeare is inseparable from theatre while the theatre, for four centuries now, first in England, then on the continent (Europe) and eventually in the world, has been more and more strongly defined and shaped by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has become the theatrical icon, a constant point of reference, the litmus paper for the formal, technological and ideological development of the theatre, and for the impact of adaptation and appropriation on theatrical cultures. Shakespeare has served as one of the major sources for the development of European culture, both high and low. His presence permeates the fine shades and fissures of a multifarious European identity. His work has informed educational traditions, and, through forms of textual transmit such as translation and appropriation, has actively contributed to the process of building national distinctiveness. Shakespeare has been one of the master keys and, at the same time, a picklock granting easier access to the complex and challenging space of European and universal values. 

Please send your abstracts and biographies to seminar organisers (and cc conference organisers at not later than 31 January 2017. 

Organising committee, ESRA 2017: 
Prof. Jerzy Limon, convenor | University of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre 
Prof. Jacek Fabiszak, co-convenor | Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and the Polish Shakespeare Society 
Prof. Olga Kubińska | University of Gdańsk and the Polish Shakespeare Society 
Dr. Aleksandra Sakowska | The Shakespeare Institute (UK) 

Marta Nowicka | Conference Coordinator for the University of Gdansk 

Anna Ratkiewicz-Syrek | Conference Coordinator for the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre 

You are now invited to submit papers for the following seminars: 


1. Avant-Garde Shakespeares/Shakespeare in the Avant-Garde Conveners: Aleksandra Sakowska, The Shakespeare Institute (UK), Lucian Ghita, Clemson University (USA) 

2. “The accent of his tongue affecteth him:” “Accentism” and/in Shakespeare Conveners: Carla Della Gatta (University of Southern California, USA), Adele Lee (University of Greenwich, UK) 

3. “There are more things in heaven and earth”: Shakespeare’s philosophy, philosophy’s Shakespeare revisited Conveners: Katarzyna Burzyńska (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań), Annie Martirosyan (Independent scholar, Armenia) 

4. “You must needs be strangers”: Shakespeare and the Scenography of Mobility Conveners: Miguel Ramalhete Gomes (University of Porto, Portugal), Remedios Perni (University of Murcia, Spain), Christian Smith (University of Warwick, UK) 

5. Shakespeare and Translation for the Stage Conveners: Madalina Nicolaescu (University of Bucharest), Marta Gibinska (Jagiellonian University) 

6. ‘The strangers’ case’ and the ‘tracks’ of performance Conveners: Boika Sokolova (University of Notre Dame – USA / London Global Gateway), Janice Valls-Russell (Research Institute for the Renaissance, the Neo-Classical Era and the Enlightenment (IRCL), University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France) 

7. Anatomizing Shakespearean Myth-making: Game of Thrones Conveners: Thea Buckley (The Shakespeare Institute and the RSC, UK), Paul Hamilton, Independent scholar (USA), Timo Uotinen (Royal Holloway, UK) 

8. Shakespeare and European Writers: Inspiration, Resistance, Authority Conveners: Juan F. Cerdá (University of Murcia), Ángel-Luis Pujante (University of Murcia), Rui Carvalho Homem (University of Porto) 

9. Staged on the Page: Transmedial Shakespeare in Theatre and Visual Arts Conveners: Anna Wołosz-Sosnowska (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland), Megan Holman (Northumbria University, United Kingdom) 

10. Race in European Theatrical Cultures: Border Crossings and Hybrid Identities Conveners: Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar, University of Georgia (USA), Krystyna Kujawińska-Courtney, University of Łódź (Poland) 

11. The name of action: actors of Shakespeare and Shakespearean actors Convener: Miranda F Thomas (Shakespeare’s Globe and University of Greenwich) 

12. Shakespeare and Music Conveners: Michelle Assay (Université de Paris Sorbonne, France/Canada/Iran), David Fanning (University of Manchester, UK), Christopher Wilson (University of Hull, UK) 

13. Shakespearean Drama and the Early Modern European Stage Conveners: Lukas Erne (University of Geneva), Ton Hoenselaars (Utrecht University) 
14. He do Shakespeare in Different Voices: The use of Regional Accents and Dialects Conveners: Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University), Domenico Lovascio (University of Genoa) 

15. Magic through ritual objects and stage props: Early Modern practices and Modern adaptations Conveners: Pierre Kapitaniak (University of Montpellier), Natalia Brzozowska (Kujawy and Pomorze University in Bydgoszcz) 

16. Shakespeare and the Politics of Location Conveners: Magdalena Cieślak (University of Łódź), Francesca Rayner (Universidade do Minho) 

17. The influence of Shakespeare’s tragic dramatic approach on European thought on justice Conveners: Reina Brouwer (University of Leiden, Campus The Hague, The Netherlands), Zsuzsánna Kiss (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church Budapest) 

18. Staging Utopias: Shakespeare in Print and Performance Conveners: Delilah Bermudez Brataas (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Anna Kowalcze-Pawlik (Wyższa Szkoła Europejska, Kraków, Poland) 

19. Shakespeare in performance in digital media Conveners: Urszula Kizelbach (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań), Imke Lichterfeld (University of Bonn) 

Download seminars list here to find out more! 

Professor Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, University of Warsaw Professor 
Diana Henderson, MIT Professor Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame Luc Perceval, the Hamburg Thalia Theatre 

Confirmed PANELS and roundtables: 

The conference takes place during the 21st International Shakespeare Festival at the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre

Ben Jonson’s Workes and their contexts: 400 years on

12 November 2016, 10am-4.30pm
Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield

This day conference, hosted by the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies, celebrates the 400th anniversary of Ben Jonson’s folio Workes. Its publication was a landmark in English literary history, grouping together Jonson’s work in multiple genres, implicitly aligning him with the classic authors of the past, and embodying his writing in a monumental, thousand-page object.

The conference brings together specialists from a range of disciplines both to explore the text of the Workes and to consider Jonson in relation to the wider social and cultural forms of his day. These include music, the visual arts, clothing, and drinking, as well as the multimedia performance that was his 1618 walk to Scotland.

  • Martin Butler (Leeds)
  • John Cunningham (Bangor)
  • Anna Groundwater (Edinburgh), James Loxley (Edinburgh) and Julie Sanders (Newcastle), representing ‘Ben Jonson’s Walk to Scotland’
  • Tamsin Lewis (Passamezzo)
  • Eleanor Lowe (Oxford Brookes)
  • Jane Rickard (Leeds)
  • Matthew Steggle (Sheffield Hallam)
  • Crosby Stevens (Sheffield)
  • Phil Withington (Sheffield), representing ‘Intoxicants and Early Modernity’

Registration opens soon; for more details, see here.

Dr Tom Rutter 
Lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama Co-convenor, 
MA English Studies Online School of English University of Sheffield 
Jessop West 1 
Upper Hanover Street 
S3 7RA