CFP: Justice and Mercy at the Time of Dante: Reflections, Expressions, Representations & Practices (Lyon, 18-19 October 2021), deadline 25 March 2021

This international conference, primarily funded by the National Committee for the Celebrations of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s Death and co-funded by the Université Savoie Mont Blanc (laboratoire LLSETI), the Université de Lyon (ENS, Lyon 3, laboratoire IrPhil et LabEx COMOD), and the Italian Cultural Institute of Lyon, will take place in Lyon on Monday 18th October at Lyon 3 and on Tuesday 19th October at ENS. It consists of four non-parallel sessions: each session will be followed by discussions. 30-minute papers may be presented in French, English or Italian.

The conference will end with a concert held at the Italian Cultural Institute in the evening of Tuesday 19th October: the pianist Alessia Cecchetti will play pieces by Franz Liszt (including Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata and the piano transcription of the first movement of Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina Commedia). The proceedings of the conference will be published in spring 2022.

In the Bible, justice and mercy characterize God (especially in the Old Testament) and are described by Christ as beatitudes (in the Sermon on the Mount). These two human virtues (already mentioned by Cicero), as well as divine attributes, are major elements of Christian theology, which are also well attested in the ius commune. Interestingly, they play a key role in the structure of an eschatological poem like the Comedy. This work was indeed the result, at least partly, of Dante’s struggle for justice: we know that in the song Tre donne intorno al cor mi son venute and in some lost letters mentioned by Leonardo Bruni, the Florentine poet and politician had asked in vain his fellow citizens for mercy. In the Comedy, Dante (as author and more or less merciful and compassionate judge) creates in fact and follows (as the main character) a path becoming a paradigm of conversion, testifying to divine justice and mercy.

In the wide interdisciplinary field of studies on Dante and his time, literature, philosophy, theology, history and history of art, and more recently law and legal studies have provided a twofold extremely valuable contribution: on the one hand, they have offered an in-depth knowledge of Dante’s education and of his rich and varied culture, and on the other hand they have allowed for a better understanding of his work, including its contextualization, sources and its extraordinary “intertextual” and “interdiscursive” depth. We would like to explore the notions of justice and mercy within this highly interdisciplinary critical framework: although focused on Dante, our conference aims to open up to studies analyzing these two notions not only in Dante, but also in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century European poets, prose writers, artists, jurists, preachers, philosophers and theologians.

In her introduction to the miscellany Justice et miséricorde : discours et pratiques dans l’Occident médiéval Catherine Vincent invited scholars to “poursuivre sur une voie qui est loin d’avoir été totalement défrichée” . The four areas emphasized by the subtitle of our conference aim to increase the number of scientific fields involved in this research and to explore the topics of justice and mercy from a broader perspective than that of Vincent’s volume. ‘Reflections’ may involve the following disciplines: philosophy, theology, law (civil and canon) and rhetoric, ‘expressions’ the linguistic and stylistic aspects, ‘representations’ the literary and iconographical ones and ‘practices’ the historical, social, ecclesiastical, liturgical and jurisprudential domains etc.

Abstracts (in French or in English or in Italian; min. 250 words, max. 350 words) must be sent to the conference organizers ( and by 25th March 2021. Proposals must include a brief biography and bibliographical note (max. 200 words), including the applicant’s current affiliation and academic activity. Proposals will be examined by the scientific committee and successful applicants will be informed by 15th April 2021.

More information can be found here.
Cécile Le Lay (Lyon 3) – Massimo Lucarelli (USMB)

Scientific Committee
President : Paolo Grossi (President Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court; Emeritus Professor of History of Medieval and Modern Law, Università di Firenze)

Isabelle Abramé-Battesti (Italian Literature, Université de Poitiers, CERLIM)
Guido Castelnuovo (Medieval History, Université des Pays du Vaucluse, CIHAM)
Michele Corradi (Ancient Philosophy and Philology, Università di Pisa)
Sergio Cristaldi (Italian Literature, Università di Catania)
Manuele Gragnolati (Italian Literature, Université Paris-Sorbonne, ELCI)
Cécile Le Lay (Italian Literature, Université Lyon 3, IRPhil)
Massimo Lucarelli (Italian Literature, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, LLSETI)
Bruno Pinchard (Philosophy, Université Lyon 3, IRPhil ; President of Société Dantesque de France)
Pasquale Porro (Medieval Philosophy, Università di Torino)
Diego Quaglioni (History of Medieval and Modern Law, Università di Trento)
Raffaele Ruggiero (Italian Literature, Université d’Aix-Marseille, CAER)

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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