CFP: Renaissance Virtues (4/20/07; RSA, 4/3/08-4/5/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Aaron Spooner
contact email:

Renaissance Virtues

We welcome papers touching on all aspects of virtue in the Renaissance for a
panel at the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) 2008 meeting in Chicago
(April 3-5). Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, and papers
touching on some aspect of literature and/or England are especially welcome.
Possible questions to examine include:

  * What is virtue in the Renaissance?
  * In what respects is virtue rooted in religious or theological belief?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and Catholicism?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and Protestantism?
  * In what forms is virtue depicted among heathens, pagans, Moors, Jews,
barbarians, and other non-Christian groups inside and outside Europe?
  * How is virtue communicated, educated, transmitted, and enforced?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and the classics?
  * How did the Renaissance think of virtue in terms of ethical or moral
beliefs or practices?
  * How do Renaissance conceptions of virtue bear on a distinction between
knowledge and practice?
  * What are the differences between virtues and, to use perhaps a more
modern term, values?
  * What are the connections between virtue and politics?
  * How does virtue fit into structures of class and social hierarchy?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and alchemy, astrology, science,
magic, and/or knowledge?
  * What distinctions are there, if any, during the Renaissance between
"being virtuous" and "having virtues"?
  * In what respects are virtues found in material objects? What does it
mean for an object to have "power" or "virtue"?
  * What is the relationship between material virtues and moral, ethical, or
religious virtues?
  * To what extent is virtue gendered in the Renaissance?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and sexuality or chastity?
  * In what respects does virtue bear on economic and marketplace practices?
  * What connections exist between virtue and skill? What skills might be
considered virtues in the Renaissance?
  * What bearing does martial prowess have on virtue?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and the divine or supernatural?
  * In what ways is Virtue personified in the Renaissance?
  * What is the relationship between virtue and art? How is it possible to
imbue an image or language with virtue, or to convey virtue through images
or words?
  * What is the relationship between poetic form and the production or
subversion of virtues? Are some forms more virtuous/vicious than others?
What is the relationship between aesthetics and virtue?
  * How do people in the Renaissance balance virtues when they seem to come
into conflict with each other? Can we speak of a hierarchy of virtues? If
so, how does such a hierarchy manifest itself in literature? If not, how do
literary authors figure the conflicts that arise among competing virtues?
  * How is virtue represented in specific literary texts or pieces of art?

Please submit a brief c.v. and abstracts of 250 words or less to Aaron
Spooner ( and Dan Gibbons ( by no
later than April 20, 2007. Selected panelists must become members of RSA
before the conference schedule is finalized.

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Received on Wed Apr 04 2007 - 16:53:14 EDT

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