Ideal/ Idol: The Feminine in Early Modern Culture
Call for Papers: Renaissance Society of America 2013
San Diego, CA – 4-6 April 2013
In the early modern period, ideals of femininity were constructed in a variety of discourses, including Neoplatonic philosophy, Petrarchan poetry, treatises on the family and the state, as well as within sermons and devotional literature. Feminine ideals were also promulgated through images of the Virgin Mary, female saints, mythological deities, and contemporary portraits. This session seeks to explore how idealization of the feminine within early modern art and literature verges on or becomes a form of idolization. It also aims to investigate shifting perspectives: where do the (more or less) positive connotations of “idol” slip to the more negative ones of “idolatry?” How is the ideal female as idol challenged, re-appropriated, and parodied? What was the impact of the dialogue that developed between feminine ideals from Europe and those belonging to newly discovered cultures within the Americas, India, Japan, and China?
For this interdisciplinary panel, we invite submissions that examine different perceptions of ideal femininity in the early modern world. Possible topics might include, but are not limited to: the ideal beloved as celestial being, the cult of beauty as a form of idolatry, the fetishization of the female body, the feminine as a form of salvation, and the real v/s ideal.
Please send a 150-word abstract and a one-page CV to Rebekah Compton (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Judith Allan (email@example.com) by May 9. The early deadline allows for this panel to be submitted to the Society of Early Modern Women for possible sponsorship.