CFP: The Religious Turn in Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies (12/15/08; 2/6-7/09)

by Jessica C. Murphy

Call for Papers

The Religious Turn in Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies
A Two-Day Conference held by the Early Modern Colloquium
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
February 6-7, 2009

Keynote Speakers: Sarah Beckwith (Duke University) and Arthur Marotti (Wayne State University)

The Early Modern Colloquium, a graduate interdisciplinary group at the University of Michigan, is requesting submissions for its conference on the religious turn in late medieval and early modern studies, to be held February 6-7, 2009.

Most broadly conceived, this two-day conference is about religion in the late medieval and early modern periods and our contemporary critical relationship to it. Not only do we intend this conference to deal with
religion around the time of the Reformation – both the tensions governing religious practice and the manifestation of those tensions in literature, art, music, and culture – but we also hope to address methodologies for interpreting religion within and beyond historical paradigms.

Current historiography suggests a multiplicity of religions existing in late medieval and early modern Europe, in place of a binary between Catholicism and Protestantism. This multiplicity includes, but is not limited to, Lollardy, mysticism, martyrology, female hagiography, particular religious formations within monasteries and convents, the Counter-Reformation, and the Puritan movement. Papers are sought which address the implications of this view of late medieval and early modern religion or which respond to any of the following questions:

In what ways does this multiplicity of religious practices revise our former assumption of a Catholic medieval period and a Protestant Reformation/Renaissance? To what extent does a theory of a split subject,
one who belongs to multiple religious communities at once, complicate our critical understanding of religion? How do we as critics respond to religion? In the wake of New Historicism, what critical or theoretical models can be used for interpreting religion in the late medieval and early modern periods? Is there, for example, a performativity of religious experience? Do practices such as typological readings of drama, devotional meditation, and mystical experience constitute such a performativity? What are the implications of theorizing religion as performative, rather than as a kind of ritual or as an expression of a private belief?

This conference is sponsored by the Departments of English, History, and Romance Languages & Literatures at the University of Michigan. We therefore welcome submissions from these disciplines and a wide range of others, including art history, musicology, theater history, religious studies, philosophy, and anthropology. Priority will be given to graduate students.

200-250 word proposals should be sent to Andrew Bozio ( by December 15, 2008.