Kings of Infinite Space?: Renaissance Literature and the Spatial Turn (October 16-19, 2014 New Orleans, Louisiana)

full name / name of organization: 
Sixteenth Century Society and Conference
contact email: 

Literary critic Robert Tally has identified what he calls a "turn to the spatial" in humanistic inquiry over the past generation. The insights of spatial theorists like Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Bertrand Westphal, as well as those of radical geographers like Doreen Massey, Edward Soja, David Harvey, and Yi-Fu Tuan have altered how literary critics speak about the idea of "space" in relation to literary production. The "turn to the spatial" has been particularly embraced by those who work on literature in an era of the internet and globalization in which our very understanding of how space is experienced is so radically different. Yet the early modern period of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries also underwent similarly disruptive understandings of space as both New World discoveries and Copernican cosmology radically altered experiential spatiality. This panel asks in what ways contemporary spatial theory can provide new and innovative readings of Renaissance texts. Potential topics include New World geography, Renaissance geographers, proponents of colonialism and exploration, the new science, Copernican cosmology, changing views of infinity and nothingness, religious cosmologies, depictions of spatiality in metaphysical poetry, the space of the dramatic stage, spatiality in country-house poems, conceptions of nation-hood and the border, utopian and fictional spaces, changing urban experiences, the reformation and space, changing concepts of sacred and profane spaces, and so on. Please send 250 word abstracts by March 15th to Ed Simon ( of the Lehigh University English department. Chosen submissions will be included in a complete panel which will then be submitted for consideration to the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference's annual meeting to be held October 16-19, 2014 at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in historic New Orleans, Louisiana.