Call for Papers | Risk, Crisis, Speculation, 1500-1800

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 6, 2012

The upcoming Santa Barbara conference on Risk, Crisis, and Speculation is supported — at least for Santa Barbara graduate students — with an course on the subject from the English Department:

ENGL 231: Early Modern Risk (Fall 2012) (Graduate)
Inspired by the ‘Speculative Risk’ programming of last year, this course will pursue the topic of risk in early modern England. In most contemporary discussions of the topic, risk is correlated with modernity. In this course we will address the emergence of some modern conceptions of risk in early modern economic practice and political theory. We will also explore premodern cognates to the notion of risk in concepts like chance and hazard, contingency and calculation, uncertainty and exposure to loss. In our inquiry into early modern risk, we will read More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, book two of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, and Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale. In the course of our conversation we will also touch on the thought of Aristotle, Augustine, Luther, Hobbes, Blumenberg, Derrida, and Butler as we discuss topics ranging from utopian desire and societal engineering to the rise of speculative capitalism and insurance, from the dangers of maritime trade and metaphors of shipwreck to moral philosophy and the technologies of the self, from the hazards of transformative reading and religious conversion to hospitality, affective calculation, and the madness of decision.

While the topic is framed with a grounding in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the conference extends the theme into the eighteenth century, too.

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Risk, Crisis, Speculation, 1500-1800
Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, 9 February 2013

Proposals due by 2 December 2012

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara is pleased to announce our twelfth annual conference, Risk, Crisis, Speculation, 1500-1800, which will take place in the McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020, on Saturday, February 9, 2013. Our keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Professor Joseph Roach (Yale University). This year’s conference is being hosted in conjunction with a one-day UC multi-campus research group “(w/Shakespeare)” symposium on “Shakespeare & Risk,” which will take place on UCSB’s campus on Friday, February 8th, and feature keynote speaker Professor Richard Halpern (New York University). Conference attendees and presenters are cordially invited to attend both Friday’s and Saturday’s events.

Contemporary discussions of ‘risk’ or ‘speculation’ often identify these concepts as distinguishing features of modern or postmodern societies. In this conference, we seek to explore and investigate early modern English cognates, forebears, and analogues of ‘risk’ (including, but not limited to, ‘hazard’ and ‘venture’). We hope for a range of presentations investigating religious, economic, political, or environmental aspects of risk in early modern literature and history.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: maritime trade and the rise of insurance; mathematics and the early history of probability; civic and political crises and governmental intervention; environmental and social crises (plague, famine, etc.) and their ‘management’; gambling, play, and games of chance; erotic and romantic exposure; religious reform and upheaval; conversion and the specter of apostasy; hermeneutics and reading; the stigma of print and publication; violence and the vulnerability of the body.

Please send abstracts, 250-500 words in length, to EMCconference@gmail.com by December 2, 2012. Feel free to contact Christopher Foley at EMCfellow@gmail.com with specific questions.

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