Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance – Dwarves, Hirsutes, and Castrati as Idealized Anatomical Anomalies by Touba Ghadessi

Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance – Dwarves, Hirsutes, and Castrati as Idealized Anatomical Anomalies

by Touba Ghadessi

publication by Medieval Institute Publications

From the editors website :

« At the center of this interdisciplinary study are court monsters–dwarves, hirsutes, and misshapen individuals–who, by their very presence, altered Renaissance ethics vis-à-vis anatomical difference, social virtues, and scientific knowledge. The study traces how these monsters evolved from objects of curiosity, to scientific cases, to legally independent beings. The works examined here point to the intricate cultural, religious, ethical, and scientific perceptions of monstrous individuals who were fixtures in contemporary courts.« 

 

More infos from the Editors website.

 

CFP – Monstrous Monarch/Royal Monsters at MAP 2018 in Las Vegas, April 12-15.

CFP for Monstrous Monarch/Royal Monsters at MAP 2018 in Las Vegas, NV April 12-15.

Organised by Medieval Association of the Pacific, the Rocky Mountain Medieval and the Renaissance Association

Medieval and early modern societies defined monstrosity in a multitude of ways, assigning the term to figures representing the supernatural “other” and to those representing human alterities. Monsters filled the national consciousness of societies throughout the medieval and early modern worlds. Indeed, the monster became an allegory for a society’s relativisms and fears. So, what happens when the monster is the monarch him or herself—or when the monster is a member of the royal family? How might the term be defined differently or specifically for the sake of this unique person? What special circumstances might be attached to the term and its parameters when the monarch and his or her relationship to the State and its people is concerned? Monarchs of the medieval and early modern periods were deeply concerned about their legacies, and prioritized the public memory of their reigns and dynasties very highly. Similarly, literary and artistic representations of royalty and monarchs often showcase the concerns of dynasty, heredity, and reputation. How is public memory affected when the monarch, or a member of a royal dynasty, is remembered as monstrous for posterity? Moreover, how is royal legacy affected when the term “monster” becomes attached to the monarch while he or she is still living?

MEARCSTAPA invites proposals in all disciplines of the humanities and for all nations, regions, language groups, and cultures of the medieval and early modern periods globally. Please send proposals of 250 words maximum to Asa Mittman asmittman@csuchico.edu, Thea Tomaini tmtomaini@gmail.com, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith Ilan.mitchellsmith@csulb.edu by 14 November 2017.

CFP – Leprosy and the Leper Reconsidered – McGill – Montreal, 20-22 September 2018

Leprosy and the Leper Reconsidered

Montreal, 20-22 September 2018

They are pleased to announce the call for papers for Leprosy and the Leper Reconsidered, which will take place at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This is an interdisciplinary and trans-historical conference which seeks both to unite and to broaden the discourse on leprosy sufferers and leprosy. In this way, this conference aims to highlight and discuss the presence of leprosy not only across time, but also across physical borders and spaces. Indeed, this conference aims to erase such boundaries in order to foster a more encompassing discussion of such a global disease. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is a growing need to address leprosy within an interdisciplinary framework in order to expand our understanding of changing discourse, medical, social, and popular, surrounding the disease and the afflicted.

The conference will have plenary talks from Susan Burns (University of Chicago) and Luke Demaitre (University of Virginia).

They invite proposals for papers of approximately 20 minutes or posters that engage with the themes of leprosy sufferers, leprosy, and perceptions of the disease from various disciplinary approaches, such as history, literature, art history, archaeology, anthropology, bioarchaeology, material culture, or others. Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Cultural responses to leprosy
  • Changing perceptions of leprosy
  • Religious understandings of leprosy
  • Colonial and Post-Colonial approaches to the regulation of leprosy sufferers
  • Leprosy in popular culture (e.g. books, film, etc.)
  • Physicians responses to leprosy
  • Missions and missionaries
  • The lexicon of leprosy
  • Material culture surrounding leprosy sufferers and medical responses to leprosy.

Those wishing to participate should please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, a brief bio and a one-page CV to leprosyandtheleper@gmail.com no later than 20 October 2017. They ask that you indicate whether you would like to be considered as a speaker or to present a poster. Please attach your documents as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file and include your name and home institution on all files. For further information please check their website or on Twitter.

CFP – Representations of the Body in Saga Literature – ICMS Kzoo 2018

Representations of the Body in Saga Literature

For ICMS at Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, MI – May 10-13, 2018

The New England Saga Society is delighted to once again offer a panel for those interested in Old Norse literature, history, and culture. We are currently seeking proposals for our sponsored session, “Representations of the Body in Saga Literature,” a panel that will explore the ways in which bodies and corporeality are constructed and represented in saga literature.

The body is an object upon which culture writes itself. It is the site of definition and re-definition as it witnesses history, moves through time and space, and is shaped by social, political, and cultural phenomena. Understanding how medieval audiences viewed the body and participated in the social construction of the body as object is essential to a better appreciation of medieval ideations of the human condition. We are interested in cultural, ideological, and literary investigations of the experience of embodiment in medieval Scandinavia and the representation of this experience in literature, art, philosophy, ethics, law, theology, and science.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

body-mind dichotomy
ideological constructions of the body
ableness and disability
the monstrous
gender and sexuality
illness, death, and dismemberment
body-soul dichotomy
pagan vs. Christian bodies
queer theory
medicine
medical transformations of the body
body as landscape
images of bodies

Brief (200-300 word) proposals are welcome anytime before September 15, 2017. Please e-mail abstracts to either of the organizers:

Andrew Pfrenger (apfrenge@kent.edu)

John P. Sexton (john.sexton@bridgew.edu)

CFP – Medieval Bodies Ignored: Politics, Culture & Flesh – organised by BodiesIgnored at University of Leeds, Institute For Medieval Studies – 4-6 may 2018

Medieval Bodies Ignored: Politics, Culture & Flesh

University of Leeds, Institute For Medieval Studies

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th May 2018

This interdisciplinary conference will concentrate upon the cultural history of the body, particularly that relating to bodies that are ignored, by either medieval society or modern scholarship. This conference is interested in building up a sensory and somatic understanding of daily corporeal existence in the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on those elements of medieval society that are both seen and unseen.  The weary carthorse, the one-legged beggar and the cradle-bound child were all bodies that were ubiquitous and thus/yet invisible; by attempting to access those elements of this landscape that were tacitly understood at the time, but difficult for the modern scholar to access, this conference hopes to encourage a richer understanding of the complexity of medieval life and culture.

Abstract submissions from a variety of disciplines are encouraged and we hope to be able to curate an exchange of ideas, strategies and theories with which we can develop a methodological support structure for interdisciplinary cultural studies.

 

Themes :

— Marginalised bodies (Socially, physically, legally)

— The body politic

— Seeing the unseen

— Knowledge of the body and bodily customs

— Artisans of the body, expanding notions of health and medicine

— The ignored body in space and place (e.g. war, urban/ rural, court/ Cloister)

— Ignored bodies: Dead, dis / abled, sacred, non—human animal, child, supernatural, female, racially othered, or otherwise overlooked due to status

— Methodological tactics for studying the overlooked body

Please submit abstracts for 20 min paper (max 300 words) by 28th February 2018 midday GMT to Email: medievalbodiesignored@gmail.com
Twitter: @bodiesignored

More infos on the organiser’s website

 

Update:

 

Program available here !