CFP: [Gender Studies] Affectation from the Renaissance to today (Proposed Special Session for MLA, San Francisco 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
Bradley W. Buchanan
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Affectation from the Renaissance to Today. (Proposed Special Session for MLA Annual Convention,
San Francisco 2008.) What makes a person seem “affected” rather than natural, and why should it
matter? Since the concept of affectation became current during the Renaissance (in part thanks to
texts such as Castiglione's The Courtier) many playwrights, philosophers and novelists have tried to
codify and dramatize the difference between "affected" and spontaneous or natural behavior. This
distinction, however, is frequently blurred by the ambiguity of motives and gestures. Indeed, some
might argue that the effort to distinguish between truthful, heartfelt or natural feelings and
simulated or affected ones is doomed to failure. Yet these efforts and the difficulties they encounter
arguably tell us a great deal about the particular historical and cultural moments in which they
occur. The attempt to tell truth from falsehood is fraught with political, sexual, epistemological and
ontological anxiety, and is at the root of many aesthetic and moral debates from the sixteenth
century onward. All genres, traditions, periods and approaches are welcome. 1-2-page abstracts or
8-page papers by 1 March, 2008. Brad Buchanan (

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Received on Tue Oct 09 2007 - 18:12:40 EDT