Conference on Compassion in Early Modern Culture

Poster Compassion Conference smallOn 18 and 19 September 2015, ACCESS and the Department of Language, Literature and Communication of the Faculty of Humanities at VU University are organising an international conference on Compassion in Early Modern Culture.

Keynote speakers are Katherine Ibbett (University College London), Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen (Leiden University) and Bruce R. Smith (University of Southern California). In the parallel sessions, international researchers will present their research on early modern compassion.

ACCESS members are most welcome to attend (parts of) this conference. For more information, the programme, and (free) registration, see the conference website.

Call for Papers: Compassion in early modern culture 1550-1700

VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 18-19 September 2015

This two-day international conference aims to bring together literary scholars, art historians, musicologists, and cultural historians to explore thinking about the experience as well as the social and political impact of compassion in early modern European culture. It seeks to combine two current approaches to the early modern passions: historical phenomenology on the one hand and the analysis of the role of compassion in the public sphere on the other. Sir Philip Sidney famously claimed political impact for the experience of compassion when he wrote that that the feelings of pity and fear aroused by tragedy could mollify the hearts of tyrants. Participants are invited to discuss which views on the experience of compassion existed in early modern Europe, and how the arousal of compassion in literature, theatres, art, sermons,  music, and elsewhere was thought to impact – or did impact – the public sphere.

Keynote speakers:

  • Katherine Ibbett (University College London)

  • Bruce R. Smith (University of Southern California)

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Emotion centre VU receives grant

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Body Maps of Emotions

The Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotions and Sensory Studies (ACCESS) has received a grant of €50.000 from the Netherlands e-Science Centre.

ACCESS, emotion-research centre at the faculty of Arts of the VU University in Amsterdam, has received the grant for their joint research project “Embodied Emotions: Mapping Bodily Expression of Emotions from a Historical Perspective”.

The bodily expressions of emotions are often condsidered to be culturally universal. With this project, Inger Leemans, Herman Roodenburg, Kristine Steenbergh and Erika Kuijpers aim to gain a better insight into the bodily experience of emotions in seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch plays, and compare this to 21st century body maps of emotions. Their hypothesis is that historical conceptions of the functioning of the body and the emotions may have been the basis for an alltogether different classification of (primary) emotions and for a different bodily experience of the emotions. In cooperation with the e-Science Centre, they will explore the different ways in which the Digital Humanities can be put to good use in the research into the expression of emotions in early modern plays.

The Deepest Sense

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On Tactility in the Arts and Sciences from the Early Modern Period to the Present Day. Organized by ACCESS, Meertens Instituut, Huizinga Instituut and Rijksmuseum, June 26th and 27th 2014.

This conference focuses on the experience of art beyond the visual; artists and scientists will make us understand and experience art and history through the sense of touch by embodied imagination and sometimes even by the actual act of touching a replica.

In spite of its important role in daily life, the sense of touch has been neglected in academic debate as it was considered a crude and uncivilized mode of perception. The two-day symposium The Deepest Sense draws attention to our most primary, sensual and thought-provoking sense in relation to history of art, culture and science.

In institutions such as museums, sight seems to be the only way to relate to (often) motionless objects. Yet it is the embodied imagination evoked by sight that makes us feel, caress or suffer and that makes history and its main characters come alive. For centuries, but in particular during the avant-garde, artists intentionally created tactile works of art, in order to experience them in a direct and intimate way.

Internationally acclaimed scientists from the realm of anthropology, psychology, cultural and art history will approach the subject from different angles. Artistic performances and tactile experiments will make the visitor become more aware of their own deepest sense: touch.

Keynote speakers: Constance Classen, David Howes, Garmt Dijksterhuis and Monika Wagner.

Practical information

  • Location day 1: Auditorium Rijksmuseum; Location day 2: Oudemanhuispoort
  • Language of communication: English
  • Registration is mandatory

Conference Program

Preliminary program
Biographies speakers

Registration

Click here to register

Registration fees:

  • € 20
  • Students: € 15

Lunch not included on day 1. Entrance to the museum not included.

Contact information

herman.roodenburg@meertens.knaw.nl

ACCESS lecture: Jan Plamper on Embodied Reading

When:              Tuesday the 20th of May

Where:            VU University, W&N Building, 6th floor, room M623

Time:               15:00 – 17:00hrs, after the lecture there will be drinks

Please register for attendance here.

The Graduate School of Humanities, CLUE and the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies (ACCESS) would like to invite you to the 4th graduate school lecture by Jan Plamper: “Ivan’s Bravery: How Embodied Reading Turned Russian Children into Fearless Soldiers – Maybe.”

coverFocusing on Russia during the late Tsarist to early Soviet periods, Jan Plamper’s lecture explores the production of maximally fearless soldiers, an important precondition for any army’s success in a war. It first looks at pre-revolutionary instruction manuals for teachers on what (and how) to read and then moves on to children’s literature proper. In this literature bravery seems to be part of a field which included other emotions, first and foremost fear and cowardice; at its most basic level, bravery was conquered fear. In a close reading, Plamper shows how a combination of narratology (the way narratives affect our perception), Extended Mind Theory (the idea that minds are not merely brains, but are ‘extended’ to the body), and Paul Virilio’s writings on media technology (e.a. might help explain how good child-age readers can become good, i.e. brave, adult soldiers.

plamperJan Plamper is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. After obtaining a B.A. from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, he taught at the University of Tübingen and from 2008 to 2012 was a Dilthey Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, in Berlin. He is the author of Geschichte und Gefühl: Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte (2012; forthcoming in English from Oxford University Press as Emotions: A History); co-editor, with Benjamin Lazier, of Fear: Across the Disciplines (2012); and co-editor, with Marc Elie and Schamma Schahadat, of Rossiiskaia imperiia chuvstv: Podkhody k kul’turnoi istorii emotsii [In the Realm of Russian Feelings: Approaches to the Cultural History of Emotions] (2010). He has also recently authored The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (2012).

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ACCESS lecture on the history of smell

Holly Dugan, The George Washington University

‘Seeing Smell: Renaissance Pomanders and the History of Perfume’

ACCESS and Graduate School for Humanities, VU University Amsterdam

Friday 28 February, 15.30-17.00hrs, drinks after

VU University, Main Building, Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam (room 1 E – 24)

Please register below if you would like to attend.

ACCESS is pleased to invite you to a lecture on a synaesthetic approach to sensory history. Holly Dugan will talk about her research into early modern English pomanders and the smell of old books on Friday 28 February.

Come smell the historical odours of pomander and ambergris, with a brief introduction to her collection of historical odours by Rijksmuseum curator and olfactory art historian Caro Verbeek.

In this paper Holly Dugan explores the decorative qualities of early modern English pomanders in order to examine the relationship between early modern perfume and the objects designed to dispense them. Perfume was an important plague preventative in early modern England: because the plague was believed to be an airborne disease—and because outbreaks of plague in England were episodic, sporadic, and uneven—early modern English men and women often carried small, portable perfume dispensers known as pomanders to protect the nose from surprise engagements with foul air. The term itself—pomander—evolved across the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries from a description of a small ball of aromatic paste to an elaborate metal container designed to hold such pastes and resins. By the sixteenth century, pomanders were so powerful that they were often invoked metaphorically as a spiritual defense.

pomander

In this lecture, Holly Dugan grapples with the synaesthetic paradox of pomanders: visibly small yet powerfully odoriferous, pomanders vex traditional scholarly methods towards material culture. These small, ornate objects were elaborately decorated and exist in a range of forms, including globes, skills, snails, cathedrals, and ships; very few are engraved with the scent ingredients they dispensed.  By examining the complicated relationship between the olfactory aspects of these objects and their decorative materiality, she argues for the usefulness of a synaesthetic approach to understanding of sensory history.

hollyduganHolly Dugan is Associate Professor of English at The George Washington University. Her research and teaching interests explore relationships between history, literature, and material culture. Her scholarship focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, and the boundaries of the body in late medieval and early modern England. In 2011 she published The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press).

 

Directions

The lecture is held in room 1E-24 (PKU-room at PThU). The PTHU is located on the first floor of the main building of te VU-university. Please use the main entrance and turn left past the bookshop to take the stairs to the first floor. The E-Wing is past the yellow elevators. Unfortunately, these elevators do not stop on the first floor. If you have any problems in finding the room or are physically unable to use the stairs, please ask the receptionist for help.

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