CFP: Decolonizing the Past: Renaissance Humanism Beyond Western Europe (5/15/05; RSA, 3/23/06-3/25/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Julia Major
contact email: 

This panel calls for a reevaluation of Renaissance humanism, long considered
a hallmark of Western social and intellectual development. Searching the
interstices of Renaissance humanism suggests its complicity with Western
European colonization, not only of physical spaces but also of cultural and
linguistic domains. An example of humanism's continuing colonizations is
the definition of what constitutes the center of Europe and what is
considered its margins. The consequences of this definition include our
perception of a Europe split on an East/West axis, and the fact that what we
now call "Eastern Europe" has almost completely dropped out of our
recognition of Europe and European humanism during the Renaissance. Recent
scholarship on the colonizations of humanism has taken a westward turn
toward the Americas, yet we seldom hear much regarding humanism in
Renaissance locations we now consider to be "Eastern Europe"--where Cracow
and Prague, for example, were important centers of humanist learning-- or
the Islamic world, or Asia, Russia, and Africa. Yet, we know that scholarly
and commercial interchange spread many of the central ideas of humanism
beyond its Western European origins. What were those pathways of exchange?
What influence did humanism have beyond the borders of Western Europe, and
how may it have been affected, as a movement and a philosophy, by its
contacts beyond the center? This panel seeks to consider Renaissance
humanism within a context of decolonization, as we examine its developments
and effects outside its Western European home turf.

Please send e-mail proposals/abstracts by May 15, 2005, in the body of
e-mail messages to:

Nina Chordas, Ph.D.,

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Tue May 03 2005 - 21:21:50 EDT