The Renaissance Arts of Science and Nature

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Early Modern Colloquium
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The Renaissance Arts of Science and Nature
A Two Day Conference held by the Early Modern Colloquium
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
February 19-20, 2010

Keynote Speakers: Laurie Shannon (Northwestern University), Carla Mazzio (SUNY Buffalo)

The Early Modern Colloquium, a graduate interdisciplinary group at the University of Michigan, is requesting submissions for its conference on the arts of science and nature in early modern culture, to be held February 19-20, 2010.

Broadly conceived, this conference intends to investigate the relationship between the arts and sciences in the early modern period. In contrast to modern disciplinary practices, which tend to distinguish between – if not divorce – humanistic practice from scientific endeavor, extant works from the early modern period reveal a complicated, potentially constitutive relationship between these two fields of intellectual inquiry, evinced by the term "natural philosophy". How might cross-disciplinary thinking – modern and early modern – inform our understanding of the early modern period? We seek submissions that address these issues or which respond to any of the following questions:

To what extent did the arts and natural sciences/philosophies depend upon one another during the early modern period? How were these "disciplines" delineated from – and/or defined in relation to – one another? How can we, as modern scholars, approach and consider potential dialogues between these disciplines? In what forms did such exchange(s) take place? What factors enabled the distinction between the arts and the sciences? How did scientific praxes – including but not limited to alchemy, humoral medicine, anatomy, mathematics, geometry, optics, or astronomy – inform early modern culture? How did such praxes appear within, influence, inform or challenge the fields of literature, visual art, music, or architecture? How did the relationship of sciences to the arts inform the orders of nature, the taxonomies in which humans and animals were placed in relation to one another? In what ways did craft or artisanal practice enable a merging of science and art? How might contemporary scientific practice and knowledge inform our understanding of the arts in the early modern period?

This conference is co-sponsored by the Early Modern Colloquium, the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and the Departments of English and Romance Languages & Literatures at the University of Michigan. We therefore welcome submissions from these disciplines and a wide range of others, including history, art history, musicology, theater history, philosophy, and anthropology. Priority will be given to graduate students.

200-250 word proposals should be sent to Andrew Bozio ( by December 1, 2009.