Conferences & Lectures

Early Modern Now

CFP Deadline: August 1, 2021


Proposed session at the 2022 Renaissance Society of America, Dublin, Ireland

Call for Papers

Deadline: August 1, 2021

The study of the objects of early modernity necessitates investigating the contexts in which they were made and in which they were used. Usually our investigations into those objects cease at an arbitrary date that corresponds to whenever one determines the early modern period came to a close. But often the lives of those objects continue, even if under altered circumstances. Consequently, one question that we do not frequently ask is: What might the later lives of early modern objects contribute to our knowledge about them and their older origins? In particular, how do the current conditions of such objects clarify, obscure, reflect, or even question their early modern significance and offer new ways of understanding that significance?

This session seeks papers that explore either the continuities or disruptions between early modern objects and our contemporary culture. This can include the present condition of everything from images to buildings, books, instruments, furnishings, performances, or anything else that has (or once had) tangible existence in time and space. Papers in this session will investigate objects of early modernity in their current conditions to explore new ways of understanding those objects as well as their afterlives.

Possible topics for investigation include but are not at all limited to:

• The installation, re-installation, or repurposing of objects and images in sacred and secular places
• The museum context of early modern artistic objects
• The use of sacred images in present-day rituals and their placement in networks of belief
• The modern reconstruction of lost or destroyed objects
• Material interventions such as overpainting, restoration, additions, or demolitions.
• Textual interventions such as translations, re-publications, and facsimile editions, etc.
• The continuity or changes of performance practices
• Political, religious, or linguistic frontiers that shift around stationary objects
• The mobilization of objects across political, religious, or linguistic frontiers

While the possibilities are broad, we do require that papers address objects that originated in (or at least experienced focused attention in) the early modern period, 1300 to 1750.

Anyone interested is invited to submit an abstract of 150 words and a short CV to Andrew Casper ( and Kirstin Noreen ( by August 1.

Officers & Contacts