CFP: Early Modern Criminality and Sites of Injustice (5/12/08; RSA 09)

by Jessica C. Murphy

CFP: Early Modern Criminality and Sites of Injustice Session for Renaissance Society of America Conference, Los Angeles (March 19-21, 2009)

This session approaches the visual culture of early modern criminality through the framework of injustice, whether imaged, constructed or performed. We encourage papers examining a range of visual material, from architectural sites, decorative programs and locations of crime, to representations of criminals and unjust, ineffectual or otherwise failed rule. Papers might examine ambiguous or invented spaces of criminal acts;
the representation of evaded punishment and unfulfilled justice; unjust actions of the powerful or parodies of justice; or the mapping of injustice through pictorial representation. Who constituted the audience for these kinds of images and spaces, and how did they function to overturn or underscore injustice? For example, depictions of criminal acts and criminal bodies might serve as reminders of the necessity for justice in a given government or, conversely, point to its failings. Shaming ‘portraits’ like pitture infamanti may be understood to make the absent present so as to bring justice to an otherwise absent criminal, or they may rather reinforce absence and hopes for presence. In questioning the sites and representations of injustice in the early modern period, we seek to investigate a “visual culture of criminality” in Europe and explore its multiple functions.

Please email proposals to both Timothy McCall ( and Allie Terry ( by Monday, May 12. Please include a 150 word abstract, paper title, and a CV.