Call for Papers: Knowing Nature in Medieval & Early Modern Worlds (College Park, 24-25 Oct 14)

University of Maryland, College Park, March 25, 2014
Deadline: 01.05.2014

The Graduate Field Committee in Medieval & Early Modern Studies at University of Maryland, College Park — an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students — is excited to announce its call for this year’s conference:

Knowing Nature in the Medieval & Early Modern Worlds, Oct. 24-25, 2014

Nature, according to the critic Raymond Williams, is quite possibly “the most difficult word in the English language.” The genealogy of nature’s complexities—semantic, philological, epistemological, ontological—are the subject of this two-day conference that seeks to bring into dialogue historians of science, philosophy, art, and literature. How did early writers and artists and other thinkers know and encounter nature? What practices made nature legible? What ethics were thought to arise out of the environment? This event considers a wide variety of cultural productions in the medieval and early modern periods. By what metaphors and strategies did pre-modern people represent the sensible world of matter? This event considers a wide variety of cultural productions in the medieval and early modern periods, seeking to rethink the relation between fields of knowledge and to bridge the widening gap between the humanities and the sciences in our own universities.

Topics may include:
the analogies through which nature is known
the long history of environmentalism

materiality and its discontents
encyclopedism
natural occurrences, wonders, or cataclysms
landscapes and visual culture
natural and medical histories
histories of the body, human and otherwise
the relationship between the nature and the supernatural

Confirmed speakers include Jeffrey Cohen (GWU), Drew Daniel (Johns Hopkins), Alan Mikhail (Yale), David Norbrook (Merton College, Oxford), Stephen Campbell (Johns Hopkins), Joanna Picciotto (UC Berkeley), David Simon (Chicago), Michael Witmore (Folger Shakespeare Library), Jessica Wolfe (UNC Chapel Hill), and Michael Sappol (National Library of Medicine).

Please submit paper proposals of 250 words to knowingnature@umd.edu by May 1.
Best, Chris Maffuccio

*
Christine Maffuccio
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, University of Maryland
Graduate Assistant, UMD’s Graduate Field Committee in Medieval & Early Modern Studies
http://www.arhu.umd.edu/memum
http://www.facebook.com/memsum

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