“Show thy queere substance”: The Queer, the Early Modern and the Now
Friday 7th July (evening) and Saturday 8th July 2017
Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Westminster
A 2015 episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race saw the work of Shakespeare make a perhaps rather surprising appearance on the show. In the episode, titled ‘Shakesqueer’, the season eight queens performed in rewritten Shakespeare plays – Romeo and Juliet became ‘Romy and Juliet’ and Macbeth became ‘Macbitch’. In 2016, the Globe gave us a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Helenus (played by male actor Ankur Bahl) rather than Helena, transforming the relationship with Demetrius (and indeed Lysander) into an overtly queer one. At exactly the same moment, Russell T. Davies inserted a lesbian kiss into his BBC adaptation of the same play – a kiss which prompted Katie Hopkins to declare “I don’t want Shakespeare queered-up so you feel more at home”.
This queer cultural exploration of the Early Modern is happening at the same time that academic scholarship continues to use queer theoretical frames as a way of illuminating and interrogating Early Modern texts and contexts. Notably, this can be seen in John S. Garrison’s Friendship and Queer Theory in the Renaissance: Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern England (2013); Simone Chess’ Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature: Gender, Performance, and Queer Relations (2016); and Will Stockton’s forthcoming Members of His Body (2017), amongst many, many others.
This one-day symposium seeks to ask two questions: firstly, what can queer frames tell us about Early Modern texts and contexts? Secondly, in what ways can the Early Modern (be it literature, culture or politics) speak to queer cultures in the present? To put it another way?, what do queer reiterations of Early Modern texts and contexts achieve in the present?
Topics may include but not be limited to:
Abstract of 250 words, accompanied by a short bio, should be submitted to Kate Graham at email@example.com by March 3rd 2017.
The symposium is supported by the Queer London Research Forum and the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster.
Source: cfp | call for papers
Early modern painted portraits are constructs. They result from a series of choices – what to include, what to exclude – made to suit specific contexts and purposes. Karen’s paper will consider 16th and early 17thC British portraits of women, addressing the types of information they offer to present-day users/viewers.
This series presents studies of early modern contacts and exchanges among the states, polities, cultures, religions, and entrepreneurial organizations of Europe; Asia, including the Levant and East India/Indies; Africa; and the Americas. Books investigate diverse figures, such as travelers, merchants, mariners, cultural inventors — explorers, mapmakers, artists, craftsmen and writers — as they operated in political, mercantile, sexual, affective, and linguistic economies. We encourage authors to reflect on their own methodologies in relation to issues and theories relevant to the study of transculturalism, translation, and transnationalism. We are particularly interested in work on and from the perspective of the Asians, Africans, and Americans involved in these interactions, and on such topics as:
Visit Source for Info: NEW TRANSCULTURALISMS – 1400-1800 – JYOTSNA G. SINGH
Over the past three decades, research on the discourses on the equality/inequality between the sexes has intensified. In the context of the British Isles, it has particularly focused on the period 1540-1640 which was particularly prolific on the subject in the wake of the Reformation, Renaissance humanism and the succession of three queens on the English and Scottish thrones. The controversies of that time reactivated at least four debates inherited from the middle Ages: the debate on marriage, the contest for knowledge, the debate on woman’s rule and finally the debate about clothes and gender roles. Those debates raised the following questions: was it in the interest of both sexes to be married? Should women have access to education and culture for their benefit and that of society at large? Could women rule without being de facto tyrants? And finally, a question that might sound subsidiary but which makes perfect sense in the light of the others: could men and women cross-dress without turning the world upside down?
In most cases, the scholarly works that have analyzed those different debates have focused on the differences between men and women in terms of intellectual and moral abilities that formed the core of the arguments of the philogynists and the misogynists. In so doing, they have almost entirely left out if not the body at least the five senses. Yet historians of the senses such as Constance Classen, Robert Jütte and David Howes have shown that the five senses were used in the various attempts to build a gender hierarchy in the XVIth, XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries. On the one hand, the senses were used to oppose one sex to the other, with man being traditionally described as a reasonable animal contrary to woman presented as a sensual creature. On the other hand, the masculine and the feminine have in turn been used to build a hierarchy between the senses since Plato and Aristotle, as for example, in De Sensu by Charles Bouvelles (1470-1559), and down to Molyneux’s problem and Locke’s empiricism. The noble senses (sight and hearing), traditionally associated with the mind, have thus been considered as masculine and the senses of proximity (taste, smell and touch), more corporeal, as feminine. It is not surprising therefore that Biblical exegesis should have attributed the responsibility of the fall to Eve’s greediness.
The senses were also used in the ancient theories of gender and sex, still influential in the early modern period, to differentiate between men and women from a sensory perspective. The male sensorium was seen as distinct from the female sensorium. In the humoral theory developed in the Hippocratic corpus on which the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century medicine was still based, woman is cold and wet while man is warm and dry. People also believed that they could tell man and woman apart by touching them, smelling them, looking at them or listening to them. According to the poet Lucretius, men’s scent is sweet while women’s stench is disgusting and foul, and in Socrates’ thought, borrowing the perfume of the opposite sex was as reprehensible as cross-dressing. As Thomas Laqueur demonstrated in an important work entitled Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), the advances in medicine in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, and particularly in physiology, redefined the sexes along anatomical and physiological lines, which led to a more precise – and to some extent normative – definition of female sensitivity.
Finally, Aristotle (in Generation of Animals) argues in favour of colour-gender norms to distinguish between men and women visually: for the former, dark clothes indicating their strength and gravity, for the latter, and merely for the sake of symmetry, light colours. This gender-specific apparel, however, has evolved over the centuries and it would be interesting to delve into what Elisabeth Fisher has called “a chromatic taxonomy” of clothes at all stages of life from the XVIth to the XVIIIth century.. In addition, the different sounds produced by the two sexes with their clothes, jewellery, musical instruments or any other objects as well as their voices are also elements that can potentially be gendered and used to classify the sexes. Beside the research on shrews and gossips, who were stock characters in the popular pamphlets of the Querelle, gender-specific sounds in the early modern period have been little studied. It would therefore be interesting to investigate the various sources that can be used to try to make the sounds and vocal activity of the two sexes heard again.
The aim this conference is to investigate the role played by the senses in shaping gender differences. How did the senses help justify gender inequalities and stigmatize any form of rebellion against masculine domination ; how did different discourses on the senses in pamphlets, treatises or plays nevertheless surface to defend the opposite theses of female superiority or of the equality between the sexes ? Paintings and engravings representing the five senses could also be used, perhaps, to shed light on this question and encourage us, in the wake of Margaret Zimmerman’s invitation, to look for “the Querelle of the sexes” in different and less common places.
Finally, in the perspective inaugurated by Linda Woodbridge, we shall also seek to historicize contemporary theoretical and literary discourses in the light of the social history of women in the British Isles. We will for instance try to highlight the mechanisms of socialisation for men and women which are based on the senses, sometimes from early childhood, on the ground that they were shaped in a predetermined way which defined everyone’s position in society. Prescriptive literature (conduct books, sermons, treatises on education, etc…) and newsbooks can be used to bring to the fore the rules of civility which were designed to restrain the appetite (for instance), as also to codify the way men and women were supposed to look at or to touch things and people, or to modulate their voices when they spoke. The specific objects that helped give shape to these gendered codes can also be studied here.
The conference organizers welcome papers on questions such as:
1. How did misogynists use the senses in their argument to justify gender hierarchy through the alleged inability of women to keep their senses under check? Through the theory of a sensorial plot hatched by women to blind men and even disempower them? By the association between the senses and moral degradation? Between the senses and mysticism, or witchcraft, or possession?
2. How did philogynists defend women and gender equality through: the disparagement of men as sensual creatures and the praise of women as rational creatures; a reappraisal of the feminine senses and of women’s sensory abilities?
3. Which aspects of early women’s position met with positive or negative responses in these discourses in terms of: rules and precepts? Ownership and use of gendered objects? Practices of corporal mortification? Criminalisation and corporal punishments (scold’s bridle, cucking stool)?
Abstracts of about 150 words for 25-minute papers should be sent to the following address : firstname.lastname@example.org, before 30 June 2016.
Organizers: Armel Dubois-Nayt, Line Cottegnies, Claire Boulard et Isabelle Bour (PEARL – PRISMES : EA 4398), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle / DYPAC : EA 2449, Université Versailles-Saint-Quentin.
 « Robes et Culottes courtes : l’habit fait-il le sexe ? », in A. Dafflon Novelle, Filles-Garçons : Sociabilisation différenciée ?, Grenoble, PUG, 2006, p. 241-266.
 « The Querelle des Femmes as a Cultural Studies Paradigm », in A. Jacobson Schutte, T. Kuehn & S. Seidel Menchi (éd.), Time, Space, and Women’s Lives in Early Modern Europe, Kirksville (Missouri), Truman State UP, 2001, p.17-28.
 Linda Woodbridge, Women and the English Renaissance : Literature and the Nature of Womankind, 1540-1620, Brighton : Harvester, 1984.
Source: cfp | call for papers
Early modern satire – broadly, from c. 1500 to c. 1800 – is a vast but still underexamined field of representation. Although flourishing in certain periods and certain places, satire can be said to be integral to the European project, often challenging the limits of tolerance and evoking hostility but also associated, increasingly in this period, with notions of freedom and enlightenment. This conference, hosted by University of Gothenburg, seeks to position satire as a mode of representation throughout early modern Europe and clarify its role in politics, culture and religion. We seek proposals from scholars in all fields who work on aspects of satire in the period. Especially welcome are contributions that explore satire as a form of representation existing across boundaries – of territories, of genres and/or periods. We also welcome proposals that situate satire in a wider aesthetic context, including cross-disciplinary work that seeks to address satire as a mode of for example visual representation.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Confirmed keynote speakers include Francesca Alberti (University of Tours), Victoria Moul (King’s College London), Ola Sigurdson (University of Gothenburg) and Howard Weinbrot (University of Wisconsin-Madison).
Presentations are strictly limited to 20 minutes in length. A 250-word abstract, a title, and a 50-word biographical statement should be submitted to email@example.com by 15 February, 2017. Enquiries may be directed to this address, to Dr. Per Sivefors at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Rikard Wingård at email@example.com.
Source: cfp | call for papers
The Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (ssemw.org) invites proposals for a sponsored roundtable at the Modern Language Association in New York, January 4-7, 2018. The session approved by SSEMW (as an Affiliated Organization) is automatically accepted for the MLA convention. All participants must be members of both MLA and SSEMW by April 1, 2017.
We invite proposals on the topic of early modern women and the environment. Topics might include women’s management of natural or built environments; theoretical approaches (new materialist, ecofeminist, and others) to gender and place; or evidence of creative ‘authorship’ in women’s environments. Contributions from a variety of disciplines and national literatures are encouraged.
The roundtable will consist of brief (10-minute) opening comments by five speakers followed by general discussion. Although initial comments may be presented formally or informally, each participant should provide an abstract describing his/her contribution.
Proposals for full roundtables must include:
– names of speakers; institutional affiliations; and email addresses
– brief biographies for speakers (150 words each)
– presentation abstracts (10 minutes each) (150 words each)
– specification of audio/visual needs
Proposals for individual papers, consisting of a 150-word presentation abstract and a brief biography (150 words) are also welcome.
Please send proposals by Wednesday, March 15, 2017, to Patricia Phillippy, SSEMW liaison with the Modern Language Association, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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