Skip to content

Call for Papers: Objects and Spaces of Encounter in Renaissance Italy

15-17 April, 2024
Istituto Storico Italo-Germanico, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento

Organisers: Mary Laven and Emily Michelson

Arriving in Venice in 1494, the French ambassador, Philippe de Commynes, famously noted, ‘most of their people are foreigners.’ This conference, part of the AHRC project ItalianRose, aims to bring ‘foreigners’ from the margins to the centre of our understanding of the Italian Renaissance. We will explore the fecundity of encounters to paint an alternative picture of the Renaissance in Italy, enriched by minorities, migrants and outsiders.

The focus of this conference will be on objects and spaces which reveal the influence of foreign actors, materials, designs and production techniques on the culture of the Renaissance. Objects (such as Turkish rugs, German bedclothes or garments made of ‘damask’ or ‘scotch tweed’) evoke material exchanges, sociability, and the layering of real and imagined interactions. Spaces of encounter (workshops, inns, fairs, churches) frame the human and material contacts underpinning the Renaissance and allow us to assess levels of extraneity and belonging, as they varied by circumstance and place.

Multidisciplinary in scope, the conference will bring together scholars working in various fields. We especially welcome contributions that concern underexplored regions of Italy and their encounters with people and goods beyond the peninsula.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Meeting places
  • Labour and enslavement
  • Spaces of sociability
  • Rural encounter
  • Global Italy
  • Borderlands
  • Knowledge transfers
  • Artisanal practices
  • Minority communities and their living spaces
  • Families and households
  • Gender and encounter
  • Travel and hospitality
  • Trade and consumption
  • Foodways and/or clothing
  • Coastal Italy
  • Diversity and creativity
  • Material exchanges

To submit

Please send a 300-word proposal for a 20-minute paper and a brief biographical note to [email protected] by 15 December, 2023.

Notice of acceptance will be given by 31 December 2023.

We especially welcome proposals from early career researchers based in Italy, for whom some travel funding is available. Accommodation provided for all accepted speakers.

Logo for Italian-German Historical Institute.   Text reads: FBK Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Istituto Storico Italo-Germanico, Italienish-Deutsches historisches institut

Italian Renaissance Objects and Spaces of Encounter is a project funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK)