CFPs in Renaissance Intellectual History


An interdisciplinary Conference on pre-modern Responses to Catastrophe and Convulsion

Source of Information: FICINO 2002-01-04
Date of Event: 2002-11-01 to 02
Location of event: Binghamton, USA
Deadline for abstracts etc.: 2002-06-30

Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Binghamton University


The recent catastrophic events in New York have challenged the government
and people of the city, the state, and the nation to respond. The need to
mourn the victims does not preclude thoughts of reconstruction and, in a
more general sense, recovery. The experience of convulsion and, often
enough, of cataclysmic destruction was frequent in pre-modern societies, as
in those of the modern age, while the fear of convulsion and destruction -
whether from military action or just a hard winter -- was constant. Yet
pre-modern people were often remarkably resilient, and the most terrible
catastrophes were often followed by periods of impressive recovery, e.g.,
in the wake of the fourteenth-century Black Death. European medieval
civilization itself can be seen as a long-term, multi-faceted process of
recovery - especially of urban centers -- from the convulsions and
destruction of the migration period. Many other societies experienced
ruptures as serious as that of the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe.
Certain centers rebounded, for example, as sites of flourishing, often
remarkably hybrid cultures following the incursions of nomadic forces -
notably those of Central Asia - into the settled civilizations of East
Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

The organizers solicit papers or sessions on recovery and reconstruction in
Eurasia from the fall of the great empires of antiquity (the Roman and the
Han) to 1700. We also welcome submissions on the pre-colonial and colonial
Americas and on Africa, as well as comparative discussions. There will
inevitably be some emphasis on architectural and urban history, i.e., on
physical rebuilding, but also on the reconstitution of social and cultural
worlds and the
(re-)activation of memory through literary and artistic production. Like
the fall of Troy, some convulsions existed especially in the imaginary. We
also hope to receive submissions on the social, cultural, and even
psychological conditions - sometimes gender-specific -- that made recovery
possible, even in the most adverse circumstances. Finally, we hope to
consider the role of our own studies in contemporary processes of cultural
reconstitution. A volume of proceedings is projected.

Possible session topics include:
The recovery of Levantine societies following the Crusades
European urban centers after the Black Death
The remaking of Constantinople as Istanbul
Diversity and hybridity in cultural reconstitution (early medieval Europe,
post-Encounter Americas, etc)
Catastrophe and renewal in China
The recovery of Jewish communities from pogroms and expulsion
Memorials and monuments in the reconstitution of cultures
Recovery and gender

Send abstracts by June 30, 2002, to Recovery Conference Committee, Center
for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Binghamton University, Binghamton NY
13902-6000 ( The conference will take place
November 1 and 2, 2002.

Recovery Conference Committee

Allan Arkush, Judaic Studies and History
Charles Burroughs, Director of CEMERS, Art History
John Chaffee, History and Asian Studies
Michael Sharp, English and Medieval Studies
Mary Sokolowski, Medieval Studies, Research Office
Nancy Um, Art History, Islamic Studies, Asian Studies