Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writing the lives of people and things, AD 500-1700: an inter-disciplinary conference

Chawton House Library, 1st-2nd March 2012

Hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, University of Southampton

Key-note speaker: Charles Nicholl

[Freelance writer, author of The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street

and The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe]


This conference is intended to push the boundaries of research in biography by bringing together postgraduates and early-career researchers from across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Biography has particular relevance in contemporary scholarship as it encompasses every field of human experience. As a result, scholars are becoming increasingly interested in using the lives of individuals to elucidate the past. In the fields of archaeology and anthropology, too, object biography has been a growing area of theoretical research in the past thirty years. This interest in the stories objects can tell resulted in the British Museum and BBC Radio 4 series A History of the World in 100 Objects, broadcast in 2010.

We welcome abstracts of no more than 200 words for 20 minute papers from postgraduates and early-career researchers of the medieval and renaissance periods with an interest in biography. The conference themes will include (but are not limited to):

· Artefact biography and human interaction with physical objects through time.

· The experience of life in settled spaces.

· Biography through portraiture and clothing.

· The imaginative recreation of individual lives and mentalities through micro-history.

· The relationship of the self to society, i.e. through social cultural or economic interactions.

· The exploration of the self through music.

· New perspectives on the ‘discovery of the individual’ during the medieval period and renaissance.

· The cementing of social and creative networks and affiliations through the ownership of manuscripts and objects.

· Scientific approaches to biographical interpretations of manuscripts, objects, paintings and human remains.

Please send abstracts along with your name, affiliation and email address to:

Gemma Watson at and Robert Smith at

The deadline for abstracts is 31st October 2011.


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