Call for Papers: The Art of Ritual

The Art of Ritual: Object, Image and Space in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Saturday 17 May 2014, Senate House, London, UK

This conference is organized by three Junior Fellows of the Institute of Historical Research from diverse scholarly backgrounds: Dhwani Patel (KCL), Wendy Sepponen (University of Michigan) and Jo Edge (RHUL). It will bring together two fields of research – the material and the ceremonial – that are intimately connected but rarely explored together in a conference setting.

The Art of Ritual aims to bring focus to how material culture and art (broadly defined) fits into and shapes ritual, and will be organized into three principal thematic strands. The first is art that influenced ritual, for example space and site specificity, or the importance and history of a particular place, site or space in connection with ritual. The second is art that reflected ritual, for example representations of processions. The final strand concerns objects and images that functioned as an integral part of ritual, for example relics and magical diagrams.

This conference will have a broad chronological, disciplinary and geographic scope, drawing from art historians, historians, and archaeologists from the late antique to early modern periods. Speakers including Achim Timmermann (University of Michigan), Sophie Page (UCL), Zoe Opacic (Birkbeck), Tom Nickson (The Courtauld Institute) and Natalia Petrovskaia (University of Cambridge) are already confirmed to speak. They will share approaches and experiences that will allow postgraduates in attendance to develop skills in the examination of a wide range of evidence relating to material culture and ritual practice.

There is space for two PhD presenters to give 30 minute papers on any aspect of art, in its broadest definition, and its connection to ritual in the medieval or early modern period. An abstract of no more than 200 words should be sent to artofritualconference@gmail.com by31 March 2014.

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