FORMS OF CENSORSHIP
Sixteenth Century Society Conference
Cultural production in the sixteenth century developed under the
increasingly strong threat of censorship, while an ever-greater number
of extant works of art underwent expurgation – if not complete
prohibition – at the censor’s chopping block. Censors and expurgators
became more and more active through the course of the century despite
the lack of a stable definition of what social and moral vanguards
considered appropriate material for exhibition and circulation. This
panel will analyze and discuss emended, expurgated, and otherwise
manhandled works of art and literature produced in the sixteenth
century and use them to address the materiality of censorship across
various media. Shifting our focus from content – a discussion that
limits itself to what does or does not appear during an era of
heightened ecclesiastical vigilance – to how the imposition of
censorship impacted the physical, visual, and aesthetic forms on works
of art and literature allows us to expand scholarly engagement with
censorship in new directions. We will consider the physical
presentation of censored material to be just as, if not more, important
to official endorsements or prohibitions of texts and images than the
substance of those works. Such a discussion places new importance on
the cultural artifacts of the sixteenth century themselves and allows
for new approaches to the considerations of interpretation, reception,
and circulation of text and image over the course of this period. The
organizers of this panel thus invite new works that critically engage
the material aspect of censorship across diverse media. Possible
1. How has the implementation and/or threat of censorship shaped the
appearance of text and image?
2. How does physical form influence or determine the process, idea, and
effectiveness of censorship?
3. How did print technology influence the possibilities of censorship?
Did it make previously out-of-reach media susceptible to censorship?
Did technological advances make the spread of censored art possible?
Did they extend the reach (physical or metaphorical) of censorship
beyond local impact?
4. How does censorship not only alter extant works of art and
literature but also influence the creative process?
5. What does censorship look like in various parts of the Christian
6. How do the requirements of censorship influence and determine the
history of the book? What are the ways that exploitations of the
physical artifact in order to conform to censorial demands influenced
the development of that physical artifact?
7. How do the material effects of censored texts and images impact
practices of seeing and/or reading?
Andrew Casper and Daniel Tonozzi of Miami University invite abstracts
from scholars and graduate students who are willing and able to present
their work at the Sixteenth Century Conference in Cincinnati, OH (USA)
from October 25-28, 2012. Please send abstracts (150 words) and a brief
CV by April 1 to censorship2012gmail.com.
CFP: Forms of Censorship (Cincinnati, 25-28 Oct 12). In: ArtHist.net, Mar 3, 2012 (accessed Jul 31, 2021), <https://arthist.net/archive/2832>.