Call for Papers: The Renaissance Society of America conference in Dublin 2022

Young Woman Peeling Apples by Nicolaes Maes
Young Woman Peeling Apples, Nicolaes Maes

Privacy is hardly a hallmark of Early Modern life. Rooms are crammed; beds are shared; doors are open; letters are copied; gossip runs wild; church and state survey the movements and mores of their subjects. Nonetheless, thresholds and boundaries do exist – be they material or immaterial ­– and they delineate spaces with regulated access, thus creating spaces with a particular potential for solitude, intimacy or a life without civic obligations.

In this panel, we will explore the terminologies, characteristics and ambience that pertain to privacy and the private in the Early Modern period. Perhaps such instances are associated with terms related to ‘privacy’ or ‘the private’, and then it becomes a question how to identify the historical meaning of such terms. Perhaps such instances are associated with emotions, activities or statuses that we think of as private or related to privacy, and it becomes a question how to avoid anachronism when dealing with them.

This panel is dedicated to instances of privacy that are admired in poetry, explored in fiction, defined in legislation, identified in architectural plans, qualified in devotional treatises, represented in artworks, moulded in sermons or indicated in political theory. We are interested in spaces of privacy as they are built, furnished, adorned, portrayed, used, imagined, cultivated, restricted, protected, accessed, feared or lauded in the Early Modern period, and we are looking forward to learning more about scholarly approaches that enable us to grasp the complexities and historical particularities of such spaces.

If you want to apply for the panel, please submit via this form

  • paper title (15-word maximum)
  • paper abstract (150-word maximum)
  • resume (.pdf or .doc upload)
  • PhD or other terminal degree completion year (past or expected)
  • full name, current affiliation, and email address
  • primary discipline

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 4 August (midnight CEST)