Embodiment and New Materialism in Premodern Literature and Culture (1350-1700) – Call For Papers

Embodiment and New Materialism in Premodern Literature and Culture (1350-1700)
Lancaster University and The Storey
25–26 February, 2017

Conference Website

‘Say I am transform’d, who shall enjoy the Lease?’

New Materialist approaches to premodern literature and culture offer exciting avenues of scholastic engagement through refocussing debates around materiality and exploring what lies beyond the material. By emphasising a departure from conventional textual analysis and searching ‘not for the objectivity of things in themselves but for an objectivity of actualisation and realisation’ (Van der Tuin & Dolphijn, 2010), New Materialism provides a vocabulary and framework for approaching texts which have previously been marginalised. Thomas Tomkis’s comedy Albumazar (c.1615) is such an example of a periphery text, and stages moments where the material self becomes subject to doubt, transformation and ontological uncertainty.

This conference aims to bring together scholars from different disciplines including philosophy, literature, history and cultural studies, and will offer a unique space to explore the potentialities of New Materialist approaches to premodern literature and culture. In addition to a range of papers, the conference will also feature a performance workshop on Albumazar with The Rose Company in Lancaster Castle, and will end with a roundtable to push the boundaries of the conference further. We are also excited to announce that our confirmed plenary speaker is Professor Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam). The conference is funded through the NWCDTP.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on a variety of texts and approaches to the premodern period (c. 1350-1700). We particularly welcome papers that begin to engage with New Materialism, and proposals from early-career scholars and current postgraduates. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • Juridical and political theory
  • The state of the individual
  • The body and phenomenology
  • Textual (im)materialisms
  • Performance as research practice
  • Biopolitics and sovereignty
  • Spaces and surfaces of the stage
  • Object-led ontology and ‘thing theory’
  • Transformation, magic and liminality

Please send abstracts of 250 words with a short biography to the conference organisers at: premodernnewmaterialisms@gmail.com.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 18 November, 2016.

Registration is free. Register by 3 February, 2016.