[URBANTH-L] ANN: Spaces and Self in Early Modern Europe, 2007-08 Conference Series

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Mon Oct 23 19:52:28 EDT 2006

From: David Sabean <dsabean at history.ucla.edu>

Subject: CFP: Clark conferences on space and self in Early Modern 

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Seventeenth and 
Eighteenth-Century Studies Center and Clark Library

A Series of Clark Conferences on "Space and 'Self' in Early Modern Culture" 

Prof. David Warren Sabean (History) and Prof. Malina Stefanovska (French)

Subjectivity is embedded in space, which serves to define, shape, and 
represent it. Every culture has its own articulation between natural and 
social places or between material and representational ones. In Europe in 
the early modern period, places as diverse as the court, the cabinet of 
curiosities, or the prayer room were crucial for forming and representing 
individual identities. A year-long series of conferences will be dedicated 
to five key places in Western Europe and the Mediterranean between the late 
sixteenth and the late eighteenth century. We invite scholars in 
literature, philosophy, history (including art, music and intellectual 
history) and other disciplines who will reflect on the cultural differences 
and historical evolution of space, both as material foundation and as 
representation of human exchanges, relationships, hierarchies, values, and 

1. CIRCLES OF SOCIABILITY (October 26-27, 2007): study of the material 
place of sociability in court treatises, novels, theater, or salon 
discussions of appropriate behavior. Relationship between the practices 
that sociability fosters (reciprocity, exchange, hierarchy, circulation, 
répartie, wit, flattery, or aggression) and individual identity. Symbolic 
underpinnings of the "circle" figure in ritualized societies such as the 
Freemasons, or in emerging notions of the "public sphere," or the "social 
contract" etc.

2. SITES OF EXTERIORITY (November 30 - December 1, 2007) : connection 
between the development of travel and maps, the birth of landscape in early 
modern art, and a new way of situating oneself in the world. Relations of 
baroque, classical, or English gardens to the spatial organization of the 
self or to notions such as the sublime or the infinite, personal 
perspective, point of view, etc. Gardens and landscape as remodeled 
imaginary or exotic lands, cosmological representations, or places of self 
exploration and self discipline, or, conversely, of an encounter with the 

3. THE "INNER SELF" (February 22-23, 2008) : interiority in representations 
of the self and its relationship to otherness. Spatial metaphors for 
discussing the mind, the soul, or rhetorical memory, images of interiority 
or, conversely, of physical nature contrasted to an inner abode, in 
fiction, medical or religious writings, and philosophy. Connections between 
space and meditation, or between concealment, truth or lying, crucial for 
conceptualizing subjectivity.

4. SPACES OF SACRALITY (March 14-15, 2008): interrelatedness between the 
spatial configurations of religious sites and conceptions of authority, 
sacrality and the individual. Places of cult, religious retreats, convents, 
pilgrimage routes and sites, sacralization of Absolutist or Republican 
political space, battles over the private confessional, combining 
sociability and religious retreat, reconfigurations of church interiors. 
Mystical experience and withdrawal to spaces for meditation, practices of 
self construction in which older ways of marking the sacred are adapted to 
mark off the emerging "secular" cultural forms.

5. FAMILY AND WORK SPACE: (April 25-25, 2008) influence of new gender 
relations, or family and kinship structures, on the configuration the 
house. Spatial configurations of places for meditation or reading, or of a 
laboratory, a cabinet of curiosities, a university hall. Drawing or 
blurring of boundaries between masters and servants, men and women, adults 
and children, neighbors and family, nature and culture. Understanding the 
self in relation to material objects of culture, the temporal ordering of 
the day, the shared or gendered use of spaces in the workshop, the 
hayfield, the counting house, or the parlor. Role of space in enabling or 
inhibiting interaction among family members, friends, or professional 

Scholars interested in presenting a paper should send an abstract to David 
Sabean: dsabean at history.Ucla.Edu.

David Warren Sabean
University of California, Los Angeles

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