Thursday, February 20, 2020

Call For Papers

This interdisciplinary collection will contain essays that engage with
manifestations of sadistic and masochistic pleasure in medieval texts and
cultures. Such impulses may be implicit in the functioning of institutions
such as the schoolroom or the church or embedded within the very framework
of pre-modern European culture. Examining this *jouissance* around power,
control, dominance, and submission within medieval culture provides yet
unexplored insights into these premodern phenomena as well as into our own
presuppositions as to what the medieval means in relation to current
(kinky) sexual practices.

We are especially interested in arguments focused around visual culture,
gender, race and ethnicity, cultures on the borders/margins or
marginalized. Examinations of court/secular cultures will be prioritized.

Essays should explore the project’s central premise: that medieval texts
and cultures manifest a type of erotic thrill (*jouissance*) that resonates
with contemporary BDSM pleasures and yet in other ways differs in
articulation. Seminal texts on BDSM theory should be included.

Relevant topics include but are not limited the following:

*Please submit abstracts (250-500 words) or complete essays (8,000-10,000
words including references) to Christopher T. Vaccaro at

*Abstracts are due by March 15th, 2020. We are hoping to have a complete
and polished manuscript by September 1st.*

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Networks of Manuscripts, Networks of Texts*

*Call for a two-day international conference organised by the ‘Innovating
Knowledge’ Project22-23 October 2020*
Huygens ING, Amsterdam

In the last decade, methods of network analysis developed by social
scientists have been increasingly applied to historical disciplines. As a
result, we have seen the emergence of new bodies of researchers working
with network analytical methods, such as Social Network Analysis Research
in the Middle Ages (SNARMA), and new journals, such as the Journal of
Historical Network Research (JHNR). Researchers studying premodern
manuscript cultures have been actively engaged with this new methodological
trend. Completed and ongoing projects make it clear that the methods of
network analysis can be applied to the study of premodern manuscripts and
manuscript texts and yield relevant and exciting results. However, it is
also clear that scholars of premodern written cultures face unique
challenges when engaging with network analysis stemming from the nature of
the material they are working with. Not all methods devised by social
scientists are applicable to manuscripts and texts, while in other cases,
established methods need to be adapted to and reinvented for new needs.
Working with large corpora of manuscripts and texts, and approaching
premodern written cultures from a quantitative perspective bring their
unique challenges to fields that have a long tradition of looking at their
subjects in small quantities and with a qualitative lens. As any young
methodological subfield, the study of premodern manuscripts and manuscript
texts using network analysis is still in an exploratory stage, with
theoretical frameworks being forged and methods tested.

This conference aims to bring together researchers applying network
analysis to premodern manuscripts and manuscript texts. We would like to
invite researchers working in all fields of premodern manuscript studies
and researchers working with manuscript texts who engage with the methods
and concepts stemming from network analysis. Key topics include, but are
not limited to, the following:

   - Theoretical reflections on the challenges and advantages of applying
   network analysis, including social network analysis, to premodern written
   -  Application of network analysis to corpora of premodern manuscripts
   and texts;
   - Network analysis as a means of understanding the circulation of texts
   and transmission of knowledge in the premodern period;
   - Quantitative study of networks of medieval book exchange and letter
   - Network analysis as a tool of textual criticism and text editing;
   - Network graphs as stemmata of texts and genres with complex textual
   - Networks of co-citation of premodern authors and authoritative texts;
   - Networks of co-occurrence and compilation of texts in medieval
   - Network analysis as a tool for the study of annotation practices and
   commentary traditions in premodern manuscript cultures;
   - Network analysis as a tool for the study of citation and reception in
   premodern manuscript cultures.

We welcome proposals in two categories: a) 30- minute full papers suitable
for presenting completed or ongoing research; and b) 20-minute exploratory
papers suitable for presenting newly started research or research proposals
that are still being developed. The second category is particularly
intended for early career researchers who are new to the field of network
analysis and wish to have their ideas tested in front of an expert audience.

A keynote by Matteo Valleriani (Max Planck Institute for the History of
Science, Berlin/Technische Universität Berlin/University of Tel Aviv) is
included on the first day of the conference.

Proposals of between 300 and 500 words should be sent to Dr Evina Steinová
at by the end of April 2020. Authors of
successful submissions will be informed by the end of June 2020 and
encouraged to submit full papers in the following months so that they can
be circulated in advance to stimulate a fruitful discussion.

The language of the conference will be English. We offer to cover the
accommodation costs for two nights and provide lunches. We also intend to
provide a small number of bursaries to speakers who may need travel

For further information, contact Dr Evina Steinová at

Please, feel free to circulate the CFP among those who may be interested.

Evina Steinova

Postdoctoral Researcher
NWO VENI project Innovating Knowledge
Huygens ING, Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

CFP: Failure: Understanding Art as Process, 1150-1750 (Florence, 15-17 Oct 20)
by Tim Urban
Call for Papers

*Failure: Understanding Art as Process, 1150-1750*

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, 15-17 October 2020

/Organized by: Ariella Minden, Alessandro Nova, and Luca Palozzi/

This conference proposes to bring failure into focus as a crucial component
of artistic production. Understanding failure as a generative force rather
than the antagonist to success offers an opportunity for a paradigmatic shift
away from the overpowering rhetoric of accomplishment and artistic progress
which is still so predominant in art history –instead re-evaluating trial
and error. This may lead, in turn, to a more nuanced understanding of art in
its making, that is, as process, with an emphasis on the latter, rather than
on the finished object.

This conference’s chronological span encompasses the years 1150 to 1750 and
the emergence of new methods of scientific and artistic inquiry rooted in
practices of empirical observation and sustained experimentation. In so
doing, it aims to provide a wider critical framework within which to probe
making at the intersections of art, science, and technology. Artists would
not have experienced these realms as separate, since their everyday workshop
practice showed them as contiguous and porous. They experimented with
different materials, forged their own tools, and, in their quest for new and
expressive means, bridged and breached boundaries between media and
techniques. Very often, they failed. Although failure is usually neglected
and often stigmatised in art history, the historical record is not erased.

Evidence of past failure –one’s own, or in the form of transmitted
knowledge– abounds in artistic and artisanal treatises, and in the
surviving documentation, not to mention the objects themselves. Mural
painting, for instance, was an exacting medium. In his 'Libro dell’arte' of
the late-fourteenth century, Cennino Cennini admonished fellow painters that
winter is the best season for painting in fresco, since in frescoing a wall
on a hot summer’s day the plaster would dry too quickly. Experimentation
gone awry runs rampant in practice, as with Cimabue’s blackened monumental
'Crucifixion' at Assisi, which would have cautioned others on the hazards of
expanding the use of a lead white pigment from panel to wall painting. And it
was Leonardo da Vinci’s technical audacity, after all, that led him to
explore the possibility of using an oil binder in the making of his 'Last
Supper' in Milan, much to the detriment of this work’s durability.

Not only did artists toy and flirt with failure, but sometimes they harnessed
it as an expressive means in its own right. Donatello decided not to amend a
defect in the wax model for the veil of his Judith, resting on the figure’s
head, realizing that it would give viewers the impression of worn-out
fabric– well suited to the persona of the Biblical heroine. Indeed, the
whole history of bronze casting, and of casting in general, could be
rewritten from the viewpoint of failure.

Experiments failed 'in toto' or in part are integral to understanding the
history of the so-called applied arts, as well. Maiolica, glass making, and
metalwork, for example, relied on the transfer of artisanal knowledge to
ensure the multi-generational survival of workshops. Reappraising failure
thus also challenges the canonical distinction between 'arti maggiori' and
'arti minori'. Furthermore, as one begins to consider the development and
movement of technologies across time and space, a broader geographical
perspective is inherent. Particular techniques and classes of objects, such
as lusterware from Egypt and Spain, in all its brilliance, easily
transgressed cultural and political boundaries, holding appeal to wider
audiences all over Europe, and beyond. This prompted local artists and
artisans to try and penetrate their technical secrets, a process in which
failure was endemic and on occasions even commercially disastrous.

A history of art that is not exclusively result oriented takes the
experiments that went wrong as primary historical evidence for the vast array
of activities that constitute art making.

We welcome papers that consider the broader geography of failure from 1150 to
1750 including, but not limited to the following contexts:

- archival documents that record or litigate instances of artistic failure;

- artisanal epistemologies; the creation and transmission of workshop
knowledge through, for instance, the assemblage and handing down of recipe

- drawing practices, the compilation of model books, and their circulation,
e.g. through copies and prints; the making of three-dimensional models and
casts; issues of dissemination, replication and indexicality;

- the significance of experimentation in painting and sculpture, and across
the applied arts (glass, ceramics, metalwork, textile, leatherwork);

- how artists came to terms with failure philosophically, for example, in
their inscriptions and retrospectively in their writings;

- artistic treatises, their creation and readership, with an emphasis on the
discussion of trial and error in artistic practice;

- how modern tools of technical analysis, i.e. carried out by museum
conservators and technicians, can help detect, prove or else disprove
historical cases of artistic failure on material and technical levels.

*We solicit 25-minute papers from both early career researchers and senior
scholars to be given in English. Please send a 300-word paper proposal and a
one-page bio to the conference organizers at: [1] by 15
March 2020.*