Working it Out: A Day of Numbers in Early Modern Writing, Sat. 18 May 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Keynes Library, Birkbeck College, London
contact email: 
numbersday@gmail.com

Early modern books are full of numbers, representing both practicality and mystery. This multidisciplinary conference explores numbers in British early modern literature and textual culture. How were numbers and numerical techniques used in drama, dance, and music? What were the practical issues arising from printing numerical texts, and how were numbers represented on the page? How were the index and the cross-reference created and used? To what extent would an early modern audience recognize mathematical references in literary texts and performance? Who would buy an arithmetic book and how might they use it?

Proposals for papers are invited on, but not confined to, the following subject areas:

-Ways of counting and things to count: inventories and accounts; time and tempo; feet and metre.
-Numbers in print: reference tables, logarithms, cross-referencing, indices.
-Books on arithmetic, double-entry book-keeping and merchants’ handbooks.
-Ciphering and deciphering.
-The use of zero and other mathematical symbols in literature and drama.
-Dance, music and other numerical art forms.
-Making a reckoning: performing numbers on stage.
-Numbers in the material text: ways of using numerical books, and their owners.
-Mystical numbers, the kabala, numerology.
-Mathematical methodologies; measuring, mapping and quantifying.

Confirmed speakers are:

-Stephen Clucas, Birkbeck College, London.
-Natasha Glaisyer, York.
-Emma Smith, Hertford College, Oxford.
-Adam Smyth, Birkbeck College, London.

We welcome proposals from researchers at all stages of their careers, working in departments of Literature, History, History of Science, Art History, Education, and other relevant subject areas. Proposals for 20-minute papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief CV, and should be emailed to numbersday@gmail.com. General questions can be directed to the conference organisers, Rebecca Tomlin and Katherine Hunt, at the same address.

cfp categories: 
bibliography_and_history_of_the_book
graduate_conferences
interdisciplinary
renaissance
science_and_culture
theatre