Early Modern Constructions of Europe (France) (5/20/12; ICLA, 7/18/13-7/24/13)

full name / name of organization: 
Gerd Bayer

Seminar Title: "Early Modern Constructions of Europe"
Seminar Organisers: Florian Kläger (Münster, Germany) and Gerd Bayer (Erlangen, Germany)

Proposals are invited for an accepted group section (up to 15 speakers) to meet at the ICLA conference in Paris, France, July 18-24, 2013. Further information about the conference is available at: http://icla-ailc-2013.paris-sorbonne.fr/

The early modern period is a time of momentous developments for the European realm, not least with regard to state formation and the fashioning of collective identities. In this context, the question after the relationship between the European continent and its literary representations may be fruitfully asked: how was 'Europe' imagined, how did the idea of Europe feature in cultural negotiations of collective identities? How did it develop, in the early modern period, from a notion broadly identical with the medieval communitas Christiana to the political, legal, social, and economic construct of our day? To a degree, asking questions of this kind means to consider the relationship between Europe as a geographical region and as an imagined entity in terms usually reserved for the relationship between Europe and the Orient. The panel invites speakers to analyse the causes, forms, and functions of constructions of Europe in early modern literature and culture from 1400 to 1700. 'Literature', in this context, is used in its widest sense, referring not only to plays, poems, and narrative fiction, but also to writings on theology, cartography, history, law, natural philosophy, as well as news reports, travelogues, and political polemics. Phenomena creating a sense of coherence that resonate with present-day conceptions of Europe might include discourses on religion and confessions, humanism, neo-Platonism, scepticism, and law (e.g., international treaties), but also more strictly literary topoi, genres, and rhetorical modes that create a sense of belonging to a specifically 'European' recipient community.We propose to examine the discursive contexts in which various constructions of Europe do, and do not, arise; to ask what other concepts they attach to; and to question what they are used for.

Please send a 400-word abstract by 20 May 2012 to fklae_02_AT_uni-muenster.de and gdbayer_AT_phil.uni-erlangen.de