CFP: Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy
Students currently enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program are invited to submit a project for “Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy,” an international conference to be held at the Monash University Centre in Prato on December 13-15, 2017. The event is organized by John Henderson (Birkbeck, University of London and Monash University), a historian of medicine, Fredrika Jacobs (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Jonathan Nelson (Syracuse University in Florence), both historians of art, and Peter Howard (Monash University, Melbourne), a historian and Director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Monash (Melbourne and Prato).
The conference will be the first to explore how diseased bodies were represented in Italy during the ‘long Renaissance,’ from the early 1400s through ca. 1650. Many individual studies by historians of art and the history of medicine address specific aspects of this subject, yet there has never been an attempt to define or explore the broader topic. Moreover, most studies interpret Renaissance images and texts through the lens of current under-tandings about disease. This conference avoids the pitfalls of retrospective diagnosis. Accordingly, proposed projects should look beyond the modern category of ‘disease’ to view ‘infirmity’ in Galenic humoural terms.
The event begins with a keynote lecture by John Henderson on December 13, followed by two days of papers by (in alphabetical order): Sheila Barker, Danielle Carrabino, Peter Howard, Fredrika Jacobs, Jenni Kuuliala, Jonathan Nelson, Diana Bullen Presciutti, Paolo Savoia, Michael Stolberg, and Evelyn Welch. For topics, see below.
Graduate students are invited to participate in the ‘poster session.’ Selection will begin on 15 August 2017. Grant recipients will produce a PDF for a poster that illustrates one aspect of how infirmity was represented in Renaissance Italy. The poster will be exhibited at the Monash Prato Centre, and an electronic version will be posted on the conference webpage. During the conference, students will give short presentations of their work. These junior colleagues are invited to all meals, and encouraged to participate in discussions; they may be invited to submit their paper for publication in the acts of the conference. Students will be provided with up to $500 for economy transportation, plus hotel and meals in Prato for the three-day event. Given the terms of this grant, priority will be given to US students and students in US programs, but all students are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must be currently enrolled in a Doctoral or a research-based Master’s program. Applications should be sent via email to Infirmity2017@gmail.com, and must include the following:
- Academic Summary (university level only): a) name and address of current institution, b) title of program, c) short description of thesis (ca. 200 words), d) expected date of completion, e) name and address of advisor, and f) name and address of second academic or professional reference.
- Professional Summary: a list of relevant work experience and/or publications.
- Proposal: title, and short description (ca. 200 words). Proposals should address one the following topics:
- What infirmities are depicted in visual culture, in what context, why, and when?
- How did the idea and representations of infirmities change over the 15th-17th centuries?
- How, did awareness of new diseases in this period inform the visual representation of infirmity?
- How did these representations change across media (altarpieces, sculptures, votive images, prints, book illustrations)?
- What was the relationship between images and texts, principally medical, religious, and literary?
- How and why did representations of infirmity differ in popular versus learned texts?
The Conference is organized by Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Monash University Prato, as part of the “Body in the City Arts Focus Research Program.”
Funding for graduate students is provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, administered through Syracuse University.