Objects of Conversion in Early Modern Europe

Thursday, February 15, 2018
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Royce Hall Conf/Seminar - - Humanities Conf Room 314

CMRS Conference

See below for additional information.

Admission

Free and open to the public. Advance registration requested.

Contact

Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
(310) 825-1880
cmrs@humnet.ucla.edu

Website

http://cmrs.ucla.edu/event/objects-conversion-early-mod...

Additional Information

Can objects convert? Exploring the relationship between objects and conversion can usefully complicate the usual distinctions between subjects and objects. From sacramental materials to holy wells, human hands to books, new kinds of food and drink to precious metals and forms of currency, objects can both convert and be converted, tangling any linear chain of causality. Objects are also purposes, inviting us to ask not only the how but also the why of conversions.

This conference brings together specialists from a variety of fields in the humanities to discuss these questions in the context of early modern Europe. Accusations of idolatry haunted the participation of objects in transformative worship, as accusations of apostasy haunted religious conversions. Theology thus provided the core vocabulary for issues of conversion in many other areas.

How did early modern developments in natural history shape the way people understood their environments – their power over external objects, including non-human animals – and hence their own subjectivities? How did changing understandings of cognition (including embodied and extended cognition) and virtue (as both physical and spiritually manifested) shape interactions between humans and nonhumans? What confessional and political implications did these changing interactions entail? And what can we learn from them as we wrestle with the dangerous energies of religious conflict in the 21st century?

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