New Book | Owning the Past

Posted in books by Editor on November 8, 2014

Now available in the UK from the Paul Mellon Centre with US publication scheduled for January:

Ruth Guilding, Owning the Past: Why the English Collected Antique Sculpture, 1640–1840 (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2014), 412 pages, ISBN: 978-0300208191, £55 / $85.

9780300208191In a lively re-examination of the British collectors who bank- rupted themselves to possess antique marble statues, Owning the Past chronicles a story of pride, rivalry, snobbery, and myopic obsession with posterity and possession. Analyzing the motives that drove ‘Marble Mania’ in England from the 17th through the early 19th century, Ruth Guilding examines how the trend of collecting antique sculpture entrenches the ideals of connoisseurship and taste, exacerbates socioeconomic inequities, and serves nationalist propaganda. Even today, for the individuals or regimes that possess them, classical statuary performs as a symbol of authority or as the trophies of a ‘civilized’ power. From Adolf Hitler posing for the press beside an ancient copy of Myron’s Discobolus to the 2002 sale of the Newby Venus for a record price of about $13 million to the Emir of Qatar, marble mania remains unabated. With insider access to private collections, Guilding writes with verve and searing insight into
this absorbing fixation.

Ruth Guilding is an independent scholar and critic.

Call for Papers | Scientiae, Toronto 2015

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 8, 2014

From the conference website:

Scientiae, Toronto 2015
Victoria College, University of Toronto, 27–29 May 2015

Proposals due by 17 November 2014

Keynotes by Anthony Grafton (Princeton) & Peter Dear (Cornell)

ShipPaper, panel, and round-table proposals are invited for the fourth annual international conference on the emergent knowledge practices of the early-modern period (1450–1750). The major premise of this conference is that knowledge during the period of the Scientific Revolution was inherently interdisciplinary, involving complex mixtures of practices and objects which had yet to be separated into their modern ‘scientific’ hierarchies. Our approach, therefore, needs to be equally wide-ranging, involving Biblical exegesis, art theory, logic, and literary humanism; as well as natural philosophy, alchemy, occult practices, and trade knowledge. Attention is also given to mapping intellectual geographies through the tools of the digital humanities. Always, our focus must be on the subject-matter at hand, rather than on the disciplinary performances by which we access it. Although centred around the emergence of modern natural science, Scientiae is intended for scholars working in any area of early-modern intellectual culture.

Abstracts for individual papers of 20 minutes should be between 250 and 350 words in length. For panel sessions of 1 hour and 30 minutes, a list of speakers and chair (with affiliations), a 500-word panel abstract, and individual abstracts from each speaker are required. Newly at Scientiae 2015, we also invite proposals for a limited number of topic-based roundtable sessions. These should feature brief presentations from 2 or 3 knowledgeable speakers on a defined but broad issue in early-modern intellectual history, with the intention of opening up multilateral discussion from the floor—the main business of the session. All submissions should be made by 17 November 2014 using the online form here.

We are also pleased to announce that Mario Biagioli (UC Davis), Stephen Clucas (Birkbeck), Peter Dear (Cornell), Anthony Grafton (Princeton), and Jonathan Sawday (SLU) have joined the Advisory Board of the Scientiae conferences.

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