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GEMSS Graduate Research Symposium, “Early Modern Bodies”
April 26 @ 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
The Graduate Early Modern Studies Society (GEMSS, UW-Madison) will have its third annual Graduate Research Symposium on “Early Modern Bodies” at UW-Madison on Friday, April 26th in the Lowell Center on campus. The keynote will be given by Dr. Carolyn Nadeau (Illinois Wesleyan), Vice President of the Cervantes Society of America, on “Attending to Bodily Sustenance and Concepts of Taste in Francisco Martínez Motiño’s 1611 Royal Cookbook.”
Early modern people were urgently concerned with bodies: human bodies, celestial bodies, divine bodies, administrative bodies… Problems of corporeality and cohesion shaped debates on every pressing subject, from salvation to the state. Looking backwards to the era of Erasmus and Elizabeth I, the printing press and the air-pump, the Reformation and the Age of Revolutions, we ask how bodies as a heuristic category can re-frame our understanding of a signal moment in global history. How did early modern observers comprehend the raced, sexed, (dis)abled, mechanical, spiritual, sinning, or even transubstantiated body? Why were bodies such potent metaphors for large social groupings, such as the Church, nation, or empire? What bodies of work – literary, scientific, or polemical – propelled transformations in early modern thought? And what about the very word “body,” with its roots in the Latin “corpus” and its implications of physicality, boundedness, and volition, has so compelled people across the centuries?