RSA 2014 - Crowd Control in the Renaissance

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Call for Papers: Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, New York, 27-29 March 2014.

In the midst of urban sprawl and fears of rebellion from all quarters (be they urban or rural), authorities, writers and theologians discussed means to control crowds, channelling and curbing their power to subvert or, paradoxically, to reassert the prevailing order. From Mark Antony haranguing the Roman mob in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to the Hobbesian attempt to prevent popular outburst and anarchical disorder, from legal machineries to contain dissenting congregations to recommendations for confining itinerant beggars in laboring houses, the Renaissance offers many examples of discourse on crowd control.

This panel will discuss the notion from various viewpoints, distinguishing 'crowd controllers' and the 'crowds controlled' in different loci throughout Europe : on stage, in Church, in the royal entourage, in urban/rural milieus…

The panel seeks to build on ideological and Foucauldian-based approaches to notions and instances of rebellion and social control, favored by critics in the 80s and 90s, by taking into account recent interdisciplinary research on manuscripts, law, iconography, film and performance studies, among others. We would also like to adopt a long-term perspective to emphasize continuity or rupture between the early-modern and modern age.

Papers will deal with the many faces of crowd control, based on historical accounts, pamphlets, legal precedents, moral guidance, or fictional accounts from the stage or print culture. Theoretical approaches to the topic will also be welcome.

Please email proposals of no more than 300 words by June 9, 2013 to Include a brief biography (150-200 words).

Organized by: Dr. Pascale Drouet (Poitiers), Dr. Yan Brailowsky (Paris 10), Dr. Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq (Paris 10).