Call for Papers | Allegory and Topography

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 22, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Allegory and Topography in Early Modern Period (16th–18th Centuries)
Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, Paris, 9–10 June 2016

Proposals due by 10 February 2016

Organized by Étienne Jollet and Antonella Fenech Kroke

The arts of the early modern period, from the Renaissance to the end of the eighteenth century, attach great importance to the allegory as a mode of visual evocation of the invisible universal—be it the Christian divine or the human values. Defined in this manner, the notion of allegory appears far removed from the understanding of topography intended as expression of the specificity of a ‘place’, all together visible, physical and particular. However, this tension between the universal and the particular, the invisible and the visible, the intangible and the tangible, figure and place, meaning and representation, characterizes the culture and the arts of early modern. During this period, Western Europe thinks out a new order of the world and, at the same time, endeavors to describe it and to figure it through complex symbolic representations set in a significant space, which then is ‘place’.

Four major questions constitute the principal axes of this symposium.
• The first one is the place of allegory. Allegory deploys its figures in a meaningful extension and in variable ways—for instance, in the tension between allegory and personification.
• The second issue concerns allegory of ‘place’ (but also allegory of specific places): this dimension is especially important because of the constitution, since the Renaissance, of increasingly strong political entities gradually defining their boundaries, until the appearance of modern notion of borders at the end of the eighteenth century.
• The third point focuses on the relation and on the tension between allegory and the world. The early modern period is characterized by a renewal of comprehension of the world and by the discoveries of regions of the Earth still unknown to Europeans: in this particular context, how does allegory challenge the new topographical knowledge and, first and foremost the development of cartography? But beside this kind of issues, one can also question the links between allegory and other ‘worlds’, as those intangible of the soul which shape other visual
forms of allegorical cartographies.
• The fourth question concerns allegorical spaces, that is to say the space as a notion provided by different meaning but irreducible to a precise signification: mainly the landscape in which an allegorical meaning is just potentially to be found in natural features (for example, the entrance of a grotto, a waterfall, a volcano, etc.) allowing sometimes the representation of the nature’s sublime to emerge.

This call for papers is an invitation to all scholars working in the field in a plural and interdisciplinary perspective. We encourage to propose submissions for the conference, both emerging and established researchers. Please send your proposal, in English or French (max. 500 words including a short bibliography) with a one-page curriculum vitae to the organizers: allegory.topography@gmail.com. The deadline for the call for paper is February 10, 2016.

The symposium is sponsored by the HiCSA, University Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Centre André Chastel (UMR 8150), University Paris-Sorbonne.

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