Thursday, March 08, 2007

Renaissance Discovery? (RSA 08)

Scholars of various Renaissance fields – including science, emblems, and antiquarianism – have observed an instability or paradoxicality around the operative concept of empirical discovery. Scholars have not, however, evaluated or explained this strange observation. In some cases, discovery seems irrelevant to the period’s production of knowledge; in others, relevant, but discouraged or abjured. Given that discovery seems basic to modern notions of evidence, and of interpretation, the hermeneutic and/or epistemological consequences of the Renaissance attitude may be considerable.

Interdisciplinary papers are invited, therefore, for a panel at RSA 2008 (Chicago) on the shape and significance of Renaissance discovery. Proposals that attempt to draw a theoretical point out of their historical material are especially welcome. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

-- books of secrets: why aren’t they absurd?
-- emblem interpretation: does it find anything out?
-- magical experiments: what do they produce?
-- alchemical manuals: what do they reveal?
-- forgery and authenticity: why such a persistent problem?
-- occult qualities: whatever happened to them?
-- the new world: both found and made?
-- romance anagnorosis: anticipated, or surprising?
-- from invention to discovery: a Renaissance transition?

Please send proposals of 200-350 words, along with a c.v., to J. D. Fleming ( by April 1st, 2007. Selected presenters will need to be members of the RSA by the time of the conference (April 2008).

James Dougal Fleming
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
(604) 291-4713
cell: 778-865-0926


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from