Making Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

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April 4, 2014
April 5, 2014
Wilson Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
(919) 962-3765
200 South Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States

Pamela Smith will deliver the conference's keynote lecture.

Making Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe” is part of a three-year collaboration between King’s College, London and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Making Knowledge” will investigate the ways in which medieval and early modern literature engages with scientific, technological and textual processes of making and disseminating knowledge.

The literature and culture of the late medieval and early modern periods were profoundly affected by the expansion of new artisanal and scientific technologies — innovations and ideas that would lead to the production and consumption of new forms of knowledge. In both periods, knowledge was conceptualized across a range of intersecting disciplines, including natural philosophy, astrology, mathematics, medicine, art, mechanics and cartography, among others. Literature embraced, criticized or participated in these fields in diverse ways, often examining how these new forms or categories of knowledge influenced the locus and ontology of the individual and social self.

The conference will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on April 4 and April 5, 2014. Some of the panel topics for the weekend include:

  • Crafting, Shaping and Transmitting Knowledge
  • Early Modern Cooking: Concoctions, Pastries and Pies
  • Literary Traditions, Transformations, and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Contexts
  • Humanism, Politics, and Learning from the Natural World
  • Cross-Roads and Cross-Dressing: Bodies, Fashions and Staging
  • Medieval and Early Modern Afterlives
  • Masculinity and Femininity: Constructing Self and Gender in Early Modern Literature
  • Contagion, Construction, and Dissemination of Knowledge in Early Modern Drama “Metamorphosis and Beasts in Medieval Literature”
  • “Metamorphosis and Beasts in Medieval Literature”
  • Translations and Theories of Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Culture
  • Medieval and Early Modern Disciplines of Science and Literary Intertextuality

Pamela Smith, professor of history at Columbia University, will deliver the keynote lecture at 5:00 p.m. on April 5, entitled, “From Matter to Ideas: Making Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.”

To learn more about the conference, or to view the complete schedule of events and register, please click here.

This event is sponsored by King’s College London, the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Critical Speaker Series of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Friends of the Library, UNC Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Institute for Arts and Humanities and the Comparative Literature and English Association of Graduate Students.

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