CALL FOR PAPERS,
‘Our dance is turned into mourning’: Loss and Consolation in Early Modern Europe
Keynote Speaker: Lynn Enterline, Professor and Nancy Perot Chair in the Department of English, Vanderbilt University
Doctoral students in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago invite faculty and graduate student submissions to a one-day symposium on early modern (c. 1500-1700) European cultures of loss and consolation, to be held on October 6, 2017. Along with panel presentations, the symposium will feature a keynote address by Lynn Enterline, as well as a roundtable discussion by faculty from Chicago-area universities.
Loss is a familiar topos to scholars of the Renaissance and early modern Europe, on scales large and small. In the sixteenth-century Netherlands, waves of Reform iconoclasm lead to whitewashed churches stripped bare of the religious artwork that had formerly adorned them. Tragedy flourishes in European theatres. England’s King Charles I loses his head. In the texts and artifacts of the period, loss emerges as a moral an epistemological problem, a political crisis, a site of performance for gendered subjectivities and religious identities, and a lyric trope. Moreover, loss destabilizes the very notion of the political states we call “Europe”: in a world dramatically altered by the rise of capitalism, colonial imperialism, religious violence, and developments in the sciences, boundaries and borders are extended, distended, and dissolved. And, for scholars today working on such materials, the archive constitutes a precarious space that testifies as much to historical loss as to survival. Yet even as loss assumes new forms in the early modern period, so too does consolation, as individuals, communities, and states alike seek salves, buffers, and antidotes.
On the stage and the page, in political thought and material culture, in science and theology, loss and consolation find new forms and acquire new purchase. However, scholars attempting to answer the questions raised by these phenomena too often do so without the chance to converse with others thinking about early modern loss and consolation throughout the humanistic and social scientific disciplines. The aim of this symposium is to consider the double notion of loss and consolation not only as it traverses the early modern European landscape, but as it remakes that landscape and generates new points of interdisciplinary contact. The historical and cultural study of loss and its antidotes in early modern Europe can be a productive site at which disciplines themselves “lose” their bearings and discover the resources of other academic contexts and frameworks.
We welcome submissions on various aspects of our theme, including:
- Anxiety and the anticipation of future loss
- Grief, mourning, and funerary culture
- Political loss, exile, and diaspora
- Nostalgia, amnesia, forgetting, and historical narrative
- Loss and consolation as occasions for the performance of gender and sexuality
- The genres of representing loss, and the comforts of literary form
- Philosophy and religion as consolatory discourses
- Loss of faith, atheism
- Anti-sociality and melancholia as resistance
- Personal and collective disappointment
- The early modern archive and the affective dimensions of the digital humanities
These are only suggestions; we anticipate a rich and exciting range of submissions from faculty and graduate students from any field. Some fields we expect to be represented at this symposium are Romance languages, Germanic languages, philosophy, religious studies, English, history, art history, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, critical theory, rhetoric, and comparative literatures.
We are inviting submissions for 20-minute oral presentations on the symposium theme. Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 15, 2017.