Call for Papers: Interdisciplinary Panels for Renaissance Society of America, 2013

Associate Professor Karen Barzman is organizing a number of interdisciplinary panels for next year’s meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. See below for details.

The Renaissance Society of America will be organizing panels on the following interdisciplinary topics for the RSA meeting in San Diego, April 4-6, 2013.  If there is sufficient interest, there will be more than one panel on each topic.  All inquiries welcome (  Please circulate broadly.

(Re)Situating the Philippines:  Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives

With RSA 2013 in a venue on the Pacific, this series of panels acknowledges and draws on Philippine Studies as a rapidly expanding field of interdisciplinary research, with important contributions from a variety of specialisms.  Participation is open to scholars from around the world, irrespective of their current status with regard to RSA membership.  Papers may focus on political structures, social and religious practices, and/or cultural production in the archipelago between the introduction of Islam and Christianity (c. 1350 – 1565). Additionally, work is sought that contributes to the radical re-thinking currently underway concerning   1) the place of the islands in a Southeast Asian economy both before and after the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century (only beginning with the current discoveries of undersea archaeology),  2) the complexities surrounding power-relations and the consolidation of corporate identity  in early modern “Las Filipinas” and, within that context, 3) matters of transculturation viewed through the lens of various media (material, visual, textual, performed).  Papers may move into the eighteenth century and may also address the effects of Spanish colonial rule and/or practices of resistance at the level of the local or micro historical.   Send a one-page abstract and CV to Karen-edis Barzman ( by May 25th, using the subject heading “RSA Philippine Studies.”

Global Capital and the Interconnecting Seas

That maritime trade led to the emergence of a global economy in the transition from the middle ages to early modernity is now a commonplace.  More recently interest has turned to conceptions of the sea that emerged as a result, when technology and imagination came together to produce notions of vast, interconnected expanses of water between and around continental land-masses, permitting the global circulation of bodies and goods, culture and capital.  Papers (intended for a series of panels) are invited across the disciplines to contribute to a genealogy of this epistemological sea-change. Topics may include mapping and the new hydrography; technological developments in ship-building and nautical science making transit possible across large bodies of water; the rise of new financial and social institutions facilitating the commodification of goods from around the world and/or the globalization of capital, with particular focus on a maritime context; practices of excess and promiscuity in this early stage of the global economy, both on land and at sea; literary and artistic treatment of these new technologies, institutions, and practices and of the emerging world view, from various situated perspectives.   A wide range of methodologies and critical approaches is welcome.  The goal is to draw together scholars who typically speak in separate RSA panels or affiliate with completely different professional organizations, to promote an inter-disciplinary exchange around the globalization of capital and the seas.  Please email a one-page abstract and CV to Karen-edis Barzman, Binghamton University ( by May 25th, using the subject heading “RSA Interconnecting Seas.”

Bordering States/Imagining Frontiers

What constitutes a border or the confines of a state? That borders shift over time serves an index of their contingent nature; yet practices affirming their presence or marking a state’s reach often impart the sense of an essential and enduring character.  These panels will address a range of operations in the formation and geopolitics of early modern states. The purpose is to examine methods (material, visual, textual, performed) used to establish the limits of states or the closing of frontiers – zones of uncertainty and danger held to be radically different from and incommensurate with what was confined or captured by sovereignty.  Papers may address practices that established borders or, conversely, that violated, refused, or undid them, in urban centers as well as territories at the edges or limits of inhabited space.  In addition to representational practices (from painting and cartography to travelogues and diplomatic negotiations around borders and frontiers) they may take up material and performed practices (including the building of walls or, conversely, bridges; the exchange of gifts in negotiating borders and the management of frontiers; state warfare or civilian skirmishes across such spaces; the implementation of customs laws or, conversely, the trafficking of goods and other forms of contact and exchange outlawed by states at the limits of their authority).  Please mail a one-page abstract and CV to Karen-edis Barzman, Binghamton University ( by May 25th, using the subject heading “RSA Borders/Frontiers.”

Views from the Sea:  Maritime Perspectives on Venice and the Stato da Mar

Papers are invited that address situated views of Venice and its maritime territories from the diverse perspectives of those engaged in seafaring culture.  Proprietary claims to the sea on the part of early modern states, including Venice itself with regard to the Adriatic (“il golfo di Venezia”), make clear that waters did not remain outside the territorializing of sovereignty.   That notwithstanding, the status of land and that of the sea were categorically different.  A liminal space of passage to those whose maritime experiences were ephemeral (pilgrims and other travelers), the waters were home to others whose lives played out in that fluid realm without borders. This panel will highlight competing views of Venice and its coastal empire, expressed by or attributed to those who inhabited the sea. From the Venetian admiralty to galley slaves, from licensed merchants to Ottoman and Barbary pirates, historical voices representing diverse orientations and points of reference are welcome in work from a range of disciplines.  Please send a one-page abstract and CV to Karen-edis Barzman ( by May 25th, using the subject heading “RSA Views from the Sea.”

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