Call for Papers | Warburg Postgraduate Symposium: Cultural Encounters

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 19, 2016

From the conference website:

Warburg Institute Postgraduate Symposium
Cultural Encounters: Tensions and Polarities of Transmission
from the Late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment

The Warburg Institute, London, 17 November 2016

Proposals due by 31 May 2016

The Warburg Institute will host its first postgraduate symposium on 17 November 2016. It will explore the concept of cultural encounters and focus particularly on their productive outcomes. We are interested, above all, in the dynamics of cultural change across time and space. The symposium will be multidisciplinary and will cover topics that fall into the unique classification system of the Warburg Library: Image, Word, Orientation and Action.

The aim of the symposium will be to map the diverse and intricate forces which have driven cultural encounters in the past and which also help define contemporary societies. Amongst the questions that we hope to address are: the degree to which productive outcomes can be seen as a conscious reception and reformulation of external ideas and models; resistances to exchange and in what form; the long-term implications of such encounters and their outcomes.

The symposium is intended for postgraduate students and early career researchers. It will bring together speakers from different backgrounds in the humanities and draw on a variety of disciplinary tools and methodologies. Submissions are invited across a wide range of topics represented by the global cultural interests of the Warburg Institute, including but not limited to:
• Artistic creations: forms, models, styles
• Literary productions and transmission of texts: translations, adaptations, copies
• Philosophy, rhetoric and transmission of ideas
• Personal encounters: Academies, universities and epistolary exchanges
• Encounters with the ancient past: reception, interpretation, visualisation
• Religious encounters, propaganda and politics
• Geographical discoveries: new continents, new cultures and animal species, etc.
• Scientific innovation: findings, theories, inner contradictions, etc.

Proposals for papers should be sent to warburg.postgrad@gmail.com by 31 May 2016:
• Maximum 300-word abstract, in English, for a 20-minute paper, in PDF or Word format
• One-page CV, including full name, affiliation, contact information
All candidates will be notified by 31 July 2016. Limited funding to help cover travel expenses is available. Attendance is free of charge.

Organized by Desirée Cappa, Maria Teresa Chicote Pompanin, James Christie, Lorenza Gay, Hanna Gentili, Federica Gigante, and Finn Schulze-Feldmann

New Book | Ideas of Chinese Gardens: Western Accounts, 1300–1860

Posted in books by Editor on April 19, 2016

From Penn Press:

Bianca Maria Rinaldi, ed, Ideas of Chinese Gardens: Western Accounts, 1300–1860 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-0812247633 (cloth), ISBN: 978-0812292084 (ebook), $90 / £58.50.

15440Europeans may be said to have first encountered the Chinese garden in Marco Polo’s narrative of his travels through the Mongol Empire and his years at the court of Kublai Khan. His account of a man-made lake abundant with fish, a verdant green hill lush with trees, raised walkways, and a plethora of beasts and birds took root in the European imagination as the description of a kind of Eden. Beginning in the sixteenth century, permanent interaction between Europe and China took form, and Jesuit missionaries and travelers recorded in letters and memoirs their admiration of Chinese gardens for their seeming naturalness. In the eighteenth century, European taste for chinoiserie reached its height, and informed observers of the Far East discovered that sophisticated and codified design principles lay behind the apparent simplicity of the Chinese garden. The widespread appreciation of the eighteenth century gave way to rejection in the nineteenth, a result of tensions over practical concerns such as trade imbalances and symbolized by the destruction of the imperial park of Yuanming yuan by a joint Anglo-French military expedition.

In Ideas of Chinese Gardens, Bianca Maria Rinaldi has gathered an unparalleled collection of westerners’ accounts, many freshly translated and all expertly annotated, as well as images that would have accompanied the texts as they circulated in Europe. Representing a great diversity of materials and literary genres, Rinaldi’s book includes more than thirty-five sources that span centuries, countries, languages, occupational biases, and political aims. By providing unmediated firsthand accounts of the testimony of these travelers and expatriates, Rinaldi illustrates how the Chinese garden was progressively lifted out of the realm of fantasy into something that could be compared with, and have an impact on, European traditions.

Bianca Maria Rinaldi is Associate Professor of landscape architecture at the Polytechnic University of Turin.