Call for Papers: Contagium: Exploring the Nexus Between Confraternity, Pandemic and Renaissance Society

The Society for Confraternity Studies will sponsor a number of sessions at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (7- 10 April 2021) in Dublin. Accordingly, it invites proposals for papers on the following theme:

Contagium: Exploring the Nexus Between Confraternity, Pandemic and Renaissance Society

Since global communities are currently experiencing the liminal stage of withdrawing from varying degrees of quarantine and social isolation, the Society for Confraternity Studies is keen to scrutinize how Renaissance lay charitable institutions and sodalities grappled with the corporeal, emotional and fiscal injuries caused by society’s exposure to pandemics and epidemics and how their various actions can inform our own social, economic and psychological recuperation. Accordingly, we invite papers that explore the breadth and impact of lay sodalities operating in affected geographical areas between 1300 and 1700. Papers might focus on, but are not limited to the following topics:

·     The impact of pandemics on the restrictions of goods and humans and how quarantines, social distancing and limitations on travel affected regular confraternity operations and in turn, touched recipients of charity.

·     Legacies and donations awarded to confraternities in light of the plague. Including comparative studies of bequests during times of epidemic and good fortune and those that juxtapose geographically disparate data for the purpose of analysis.

·     The orientation of medical science and spiritual doctrine during epidemics and lay charitable institutions’ roles in this co-ordination.

·     Artistic commissions of confraternities and other lay charitable institutions and how these reflected the various injuries caused to society by outbreaks of pestilence.

·     The impact of post-plague art, architecture, drama, music and ephemera commissioned by confraternities on public spaces and/or the popular conscience.

·     The actual and notional value of prophylactic measures designed to protect the body and soul during outbreaks and to what extent these were taken up by lay brotherhoods.

·      Confraternity membership and how this was affected by one or more of the following: fear of mass burial; church and oratory closure; fear of the afterlife; concerns regarding spiritual conduct in the face of imminent death.

·     The personal toll of plague on those lay brothers and sisters entrusted with public service, healthcare and the custody of people or objects.

·     The influence of pestilence on public and private confraternal ritual.

Papers should concentrate on confraternal activities between 1300 and 1700. We are however, also particularly interested in proposals that discuss the value of emerging confraternity studies focusing on historical pandemics and how their findings can inform our own twenty-first century recuperation following our recent encounter with Covid 19.

Proposals should include the presenter’s name, academic affiliation, email, the paper title (no longer than 15 words), the abstract of the paper (no longer than 150 words), a short academic C.V. (between one and five pages), and a series of key-words that suit the presentation. Please be sure all seven (7) categories of information are clearly provided.

Please submit your proposal to Dr Samantha J.C. Hughes-Johnson at samanthajanecaroline@yahoo.co.uk by [1 August 2020].

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