CFP: 4 Sessions at RSA 2021 (Dublin, 7-10 Apr 21)

Renaissance Society of America 67th Annual Meeting, Dublin, April 7 - 10, 2021

[1] Sequestration and the City: Confinement, Exclusion, and Enclosure
[2] Intersecting Practices: Architecture and the Visual Arts c.1300-c.1700
[3] Collecting and Display of Small, Portable Objects (15th–17th century)
[4] Illusion and Early Modern Simulacra


[1] Sequestration and the City: Confinement, Exclusion, and Enclosure

From: Jessica Stewart
Date: Jun 22, 2020

Deadline: Aug 1, 2020

Although cities are fundamentally sites of connectivity, the pandemic-induced isolation of 2020 has renewed our awareness of the strain and tension that seclusion brings, especially in densely urbanized areas. This session draws on our recent experiences of the Covid19 crisis and revisits the history of urban disconnection and disconnectedness. Rather than focusing strictly on epidemics, we want to take a broader view of seclusion and sequestration as marked forms of social exclusion. While scholarship in the wake of mobility studies has expanded our understanding of the global flow of people, goods, and ideas, it has often overlooked social and spatial barriers that constrained movement, particularly within cities. For even though urban centers functioned as networks, they also instituted and perpetuated division, separation, and exclusion.

This session explores the spatial and representational means by which certain persons and groups were separated from the urban life around them, either voluntarily or involuntarily. We ask how zones or sites of separation were established within the city, and how the immobility of some interacted with the mobility of others. Such spaces may have been constructed by and for an individual, by civic authorities, or by groups formed with the intent of exclusivity. The confinement in question may have been a form of punishment (e.g., the prisoner, heretic, or exile), a means of quarantine (e.g., the leper or plague victim), a welcome and self-imposed withdrawal, (e.g., the individual in a “closet” or study), or an ethical detachment, (e.g., religious retreat behind walls or within cloisters). We ask whether urban configurations hid the excluded and isolated, or if their presence was known and even advertised.

What architecture, rituals, and representations kept the excluded bodies present and acknowledged in the urban psyche? How did the exclusion of some mark civic identity for others? How did the interior and exterior architecture of particular buildings enforce social separation? What forms of material culture accompanied the separated individual and were those objects part of what marked the person as apart from normative civic culture? When were seclusion and sequestration valued? What historical philosophies informed early modern conceptualizations of exclusion, seclusion, isolation, and confinement? What contemporary theories provide frameworks for understanding the psychological, social, and geographical valences of these experiences?

Please send abstracts (150-word length) with title (15-word maximum), keywords, and a brief curriculum vitae by August 1 to Elizabeth Honig at and Jessica Stewart at

Session Keywords: Urban History, Immobility, Exclusion


[2] Intersecting Practices: Architecture and the Visual Arts c.1300-c.1700

From: Livia Lupi
Date: Jun 23, 2020

Deadline: Jul 31, 2020

Architectural structures are often a prominent feature in narrative images. They create striking settings, or are themselves the main subject of representation, from wood inlays to sculpted reliefs, from frescoes to panel and oil paintings, from illuminations and scroll paintings to prints. They engage with the narrative, whilst also providing a narrative of their own, as they testify to the architectural imagination of artists and communicative abilities of architectural forms. Yet, two-dimensional buildings are often discussed only as spatial devices articulating depth, and as lesser counterparts of large-scale three-dimensional structures. This approach hinders our understanding of the structural and ornamental ambition of many two-dimensional buildings, which can present architectural solutions that were adopted only decades later in built structures. It also prevents us from fully recognising the cultural value attached to architectural forms and their rhetorical dimension.

These sessions at the 2021 meeting of the Renaissance Society of America aim to challenge traditional approaches to the representation of architecture in order to bridge the historiographical gap between art and architectural history. Focussing on the period between c.1300 to c.1700 as a turning point for the representation of architecture, the sessions intend to shed light on the innovativeness of two-dimensional architecture across a variety of media and to further research on the intersection of artistic and architectural practice. Proposals discussing architectural representation in any medium and from any part of the world are welcome. Papers may address a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

• Interaction and exchange between artists and architects
• Craftsmen working as both artists and architects
• The roles architecture plays within a narrative image
• The symbolism of architecture
• The relationship between representations of architecture and built structures
• The development of architectural project drawing in relation to painted and sculpted buildings
• Ornamental originality and structural ingenuity in both two and three-dimensional architecture

Please send proposals to Livia Lupi ( by 31 July 2020. They should include a title (max. 15 words), an abstract (max. 150 words) and a brief CV (max. one page).

All participants must be RSA members for the year of the conference. RSA offers a limited number of travel grants, for which the deadline is normally in December. Please see the RSA’s website for further details.


[3] Collecting and Display of Small, Portable Objects (15th–17th century)
(The Society for the History of Collecting)

From: Adriana Turpin
Date: Jun 26, 2020

Deadline: July 31, 2020

The taste for small objects, such as gems, jewels, coins, small antiquities, statuettes and miniature works of art is evident in leading collections from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries. The materiality of small precious objects and their portability raise questions about the dynamics and the reasons behind the taste for small things, addressing concepts of intimacy, privacy and public access in relation to the display of these objects, as well as questions about their significance in periods of uncertainty. Long-standing scholarship on collections has focused on their legacies, while less attention has been paid to the status of these objects and to the way in which objects may have been valued for their diminutive size, movability, or even disposability. The topic for these sessions raises new questions about the appeal of collecting and displaying such works of art.

We invite proposals that consider the following:
- The significance and value of gems, cameos, medals, and other small works of art, as contrasted to paintings or large-scale sculpture
- Collecting reduced copies of well-known sculpture and the ways in which these miniatures altered the collector’s relationships with and perceptions of the original
- Collecting across different scales and the display of miniature collections
- Moveable works of art and mobility of works of art within a collection
- The transformation of collections through small, precious objects during periods of change
- Collections perceived as disposable and exchangeable
- The safeguard of inheritances and collections
- Dislocation and re-interpretation of collections

Proposals should be for 20-minute papers and must include a title, abstract of no more than 150 words, keywords and a one-page CV. Speakers will need to be members of RSA and members of The Society for the History of Collecting at the time of the conference.

Please send your submission before 31 July 2020 to Adriana Turpin (, Sophia Quach McCabe (, and Alice Ottazzi ( Applicants will be notified by 10 August.


[4] Illusion and Early Modern Simulacra

From: Marsha Libina (American University of Paris)
Date: Jun 28, 2020

Deadline: Aug 5, 2020

The concept of the simulacrum is most often associated with semiotic and postmodern critique, where it offers critical insight into the autonomous status and value of the signifier. Within this framework, the simulation, or copy, not only constructs its own “more real” version of reality but also displaces the original model. Such formulations of the simulacrum as a subversive and negative concept have a long history: they can be traced back to Plato’s deep mistrust of the phantasmic image, and later in the Middle Ages, to the use of the term to classify false images as idols. And yet, the notion of “simulacra” and the practices associated with it did not always carry negative connotations of falsity, sophistry, and empty likeness — as they did in ancient and medieval discourse. In the early modern period, we can observe a critical shift in theories of imitation that underscored the positive value of the artistic fiction. Art theorists, humanists, poets, and theologians at once expressed concerns about the potential of simulacra to replicate, supercede, or distort truth, and also generated a rich range of discourses on the use and function of simulacra. The period witnessed a rise in illusionistic games such as trompe l’oeil, anamorphosis, and perspective boxes, the global dissemination of artistic copies of miraculous images and acheiropoieta, as well as debates concerning the relationship between the image and its divine prototype.

This panel invites submissions that explore the notion of simulacra in art, literature, music, optics, architecture, and other fields in relation to early modern paradigms of imitation. Among other questions, the panel seeks to interrogate the complex relationships articulated between the simulacrum and the real, and to uncover alternative modes of knowledge that simulacra might have offered viewers and readers. One of our aims will be to explore the concern with illusion and simulation outside the common trope of artistic virtuosity in Renaissance and Baroque art. We invite contributions from all disciplines and geographic regions.

Proposals should be for 20-minute papers, and must include a title (15-word maximum), 150-word abstract, relevant keywords, and a short CV (300-word maximum) with your full name, current affiliation, email address, and degree completion date (past or expected). Please submit your proposal to both organizers: Grace Harpster (Georgia State University) and Marsha Libina (American University of Paris) at and

CFP: 4 Sessions at RSA 2021 (Dublin, 7-10 Apr 21). In:, Jun 29, 2020 (accessed Jul 4, 2020), <>.

Contributor: ArtHist Redaktion

Contribution published: Jun 29, 2020

Recommended Citation

Add to Facebook