Call for Papers | Images & Institutions, Early Modern Scientific Societies

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 25, 2022

From ArtHist.net:

Images and Institutions: The Visual Culture of Early Modern Scientific Societies
Accademia dei Lincei, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), and the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome, 14–16 September 2022

Organized by Katherine Reinhart and Matthijs Jonker

Proposals due by 15 May 2022

One of the most important developments in early modern science was the foundation of institutions for collaborative research and the publication of knowledge, such as the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome (1603), the Accademia del Cimento in Florence (1657), the Royal Society in London (1660), the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris (1666), and the Scientific Academy of St Petersburg (1725). The communication of knowledge was integral to early modern processes of knowledge production in these new sites of collaborative science. Within these institutions, knowledge was not only acquired and disseminated orally and textually, but also visually. From drawings which circulated in society meetings to the printed plates in their published books, images across all media were vital to the developing practices of early modern science.

A growing body of scholarship has convincingly shown the importance of images and image-making practices to early modern knowledge production. Scholars have shown, for instance, that early modern botanists, zoologists, and physicians used drawings and prints as visual narratives to prove an argument or the existence of a species, as substitutes for the objects described, as mnemonic aids, or as tools themselves (Dackerman, Daston, Kusukawa). Research has also been done showing the important relationships between artists, natural philosophers and their collections (Baldriga, Egmond, Tongiorgi Tomasi). However, these studies have focused on single institutions or individual practitioners, and we still lack a comprehensive and comparative understanding of the relationships between visual culture and the developing practices of collaborative science.

Therefore, this project, Images and Institutions, seeks to fill that gap by bringing together an international team of historians of art and science for a three-day symposium in Rome to gain a larger picture of these relationships. Within these early institutions, images functioned in diverse ways: they communicated new ideas, recorded new phenomena, demonstrated new instruments, and stood in for missing specimens. They expressed theories, clarified arguments, organized concepts, and persuaded colleagues. Some images were created from nature or ad vivum, while others portrayed scientific ideas allegorically. In bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, this symposium will reevaluate the functions of images and image-making practices that were integral to the advancement of early modern science within its formative institutions. The symposium contributes to widening disciplinary boundaries by bringing scholars from different fields into conversation and by having a wide geographical perspective.

We are interested in how images and image-making practices contributed to the collective and collaborative production and dissemination of knowledge in scientific institutions from the 16th until the 18th century. Central questions for this symposium include: What common visual practices were shared among these institutions, and importantly, where did they diverge? How did differing national artistic contexts impact the visual culture of scientific institutions? And how did these relationships shift over time with new enlightenment societies founded in the 18th century? By comparing these institutions, this symposium will explore the ways in which images and image-making practices were integral to the advancement of early modern collaborative science.

The symposium will consist of 30-minute papers, which will be the basis for a published edited volume. The symposium will take place on 14–16 September 2022 in Rome, and some travel and lodging assistance is available. Scholars of art history, visual studies, and history of science and knowledge from all career phases are encouraged to apply. We welcome abstracts which explore visual strategies in early modern collaborative science, particularly in the context of Spain, Germany, Eastern Europe, as well as non-European regions.

To apply, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a brief (2-page) CV to secretary@knir.it with the subject line: ‘Images and Institutions’. The deadline for abstracts is 15 May 2022. Applicants will be notified in early June. For queries, please contact Katherine Reinhart (kmreinhart@wisc.edu) or Matthijs Jonker (m.jonker@knir.it).

Scientific Committee
Irene Baldriga (Sapienza, Università di Roma), Sietske Fransen (Bibliotheca Hertziana), Matthijs Jonker (KNIR), and Katherine Reinhart (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This symposium is made possible with support from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome, the Accademia dei Lincei (IT), the Association for Art History (UK), the Society for Renaissance Studies (UK), and The Huizinga Institute RNW History and Philosophy of Science (NL).

Call for Papers | The Cultural Ramifications of Water, 1650–1850

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 25, 2022

From the Call for Papers:

The Cultural Ramifications of Water in Early Modern Texts and Images, 1650–1850
A special issue of 1650–1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era
Edited by Leigh G. Dillard and Christina Ionescu

Proposals due by 15 May 2022

This special issue offers a fresh, wide-ranging perspective on the agency of water in relation to knowledge, innovation, and individual or collective identity by investigating parallel and interconnected visual and/or textual representations of this fundamental element in the early modern period. We currently seek two more contributions to complete this issue that evolved from a series of panels at the 2021 virtual conference of the International Association of Word and Image Studies.

A number of bestselling novels of the early modern period include key episodes in which water—whether in the form of oceans, seas, ponds, lakes, torrents, springs, rivulets, falls, wells, or fountains—plays a crucial symbolic role, variously expressing the passions embodied by ‘nature’ or more cultivated versions of this dangerous element. Charged with significance and symbolism, these representations of water are sometimes used as a backdrop or setting to the main action, but at other times, they represent an active agent in the human dramas that unfold when characters interact with this element in its materiality and that interaction unexpectedly alters the course of their lives in consequential ways. The results are often deeply poignant—drowning, shipwreck, trauma, flooding, etc.—but they can also be positively transformative—self-discovery, spiritual healing, physical nourishment, even fulfilment, etc. Within fictional realms, water acts, moreover, as a marker of identity and place in literary cartographies, triggers vital memories and meanings, surreptitiously encodes libertine thoughts, and simultaneously separates and unifies peoples, countries, and continents. In early modern literary illustration, water is equally omnipresent, and its representation is endowed with a degree of complexity that invites a closer look from an interdisciplinary perspective.

As humans grappled with mechanisation and modernisation in the Age of the Industrial Revolution, water emerged from the background to become a key element in scientific and technical illustration. Technological innovations relying on the use of water, such as the stationary steam engine and the spinning frame, were prominently displayed and meticulously explained in encyclopedias, periodicals, and specialised treatises. Through empirical observation, both professional and amateur scientists lavished attention on natural phenomena such as geysers, waterfalls, and stalagmites and stalactites, often documenting their findings not only by conventional textual means but also inventive pictorial ones. At a time when the lack of water facilitated the spread of death and disease in overcrowded cities such as Hogarth’s London, bathing in thermal pools or exposure to seawater, which were strongly advocated in medical literature, were perceived by the wealthy as beneficial to health and healing. Prints depicting the age-old cult of water, watering-places, and structures designed to contain or manipulate the flow of water proliferated throughout Europe.

For this special issue of 1650–1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, we invite proposals engaging with texts and images that shed light on the cultural ramifications of water during this important timeframe. In particular, we are interested in the way in which images visually interpret and subtly challenge the sophisticated textual dynamics between nature and culture or investigate the multiple configurations of water. Examples of verbal and visual engagements with water and its materiality during this transformative historical period may be selected from a diverse range of fields, including angling, architecture, art, botany, garden design, geology, horticulture, hydraulics, literature, natural history, medicine, and print culture. Papers addressing word and image interaction through the following topics are particularly welcome: architecture and landscape designs as a nexus of space, place, identity, and water; connections through water between humans and the environment; and water as a healing agent, source of life, and force of nature. Proposals that engage with the topic diachronically and transnationally would enhance this special issue. Please send proposal to Leigh G. Dillard (leigh.dillard@ung.edu) and Christina Ionescu (cionescu@mta.ca) by May 15, 2022.

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