13 October 2018

From the organisators website :

Keynote Speaker: Dr Lisa Beaven (La Trobe University), ‘Living Flesh: Splendor, Sex and Sickness on the Surface of the Skin’.

Skin as a material served a vital role in premodern economies. It was an essential ingredient in clothing and tools, and it formed the primary material for the manuscripts on which knowledge and ideas were recorded and preserved. Beyond the many uses for the skins of animals, the idea of skin interested artists, scholars, and theologians. As a boundary or surface, skin presented a range of symbolic possibilities. Images of skin, such as its piercing, often acted as metaphors for the uncovering of secrets or the interpretation of allegory. Premodern observers, likewise, often believed that the appearance and colour of an individual’s skin indicated truths about their inner nature. Diseases of the skin, such as leprosy, attracted legislation and intellectual speculation, drawing together the immaterial world of ideas regarding skin and the treatment of actual human skins.

We are interested in papers that address the many premodern uses of skin, as well representations of and ideas about skin. This conference is multidisciplinary and wide-ranging; we welcome papers from the fields of book culture and manuscript studies, history, material culture, medicine, disability studies, race studies, crime and punishment, art, literature, and theology.

The conference organisers invite proposals for 20-minute papers.

Please send a paper title, 250-word abstract, and a short (no more than 100-word) biography to pmrg.cmems.conference@gmail.com by 31 May 2018.