Monday, April 9, 2012

Conference Program

Friday, April 27

 2115 Tawes Hall
 University of Maryland, College Park

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
"Maps, Bodies, Imperial Desires,"
Ricardo Padrón, University of Virginia

12:00 - 1:15 PM

1:15 - 2:45 PM
Placing Desire: Bounded Spaces
2115 Tawes Hall

"Buildings as Bodies: Architecture, Relics, and the Built Environment in Medieval Ravenna,"
Erica Longenbach, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"The Green Garden as Locus of Vision and Desire in Celestina,"
Nicholas Ealy, University of Hartford

"Binding the Void: The Erotics of Place in Antony and Cleopatra,"
Gillian Knoll, University of Maryland

 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Plenary: Imperial Geographies
2115 Tawes Hall

"A New World of Things: Apocalyptic Materialism and the Discovery of America,"
Ralph Bauer, University of Maryland

"Cartographies of Desire: Mapping the Guinea Coast in the Early Modern Slave Trade,"
Jyotsna Singh, Michigan State University

"For the Love of Maps: Pattern, Passion, and Power in Eighteenth-Century America,"
Martin Brückner, University of Delaware

4:30 - 5:00 PM
Coffee Break

5:00 - 6:30 PM
Ulrich Recital Hall, 1121 Tawes Hall

"Mapping Embodiment in the Early Modern West"

Valerie Traub, University of Michigan 

Saturday, April 28

8:30 AM

9:00 - 10:45 AM
Plenary: Digital Geographies 
2115 Tawes Hall

"Where Material Book Culture Meets Digital Humanities,"
Sarah Wagner, Folger Shakespeare Library

"Art on the Move: Mapping the Lives of Objects in the Walters Art Museum,"
Elizabeth Rodini, Johns Hopkins University; Ben C. Tilghman, George Washington University; Reid Sczerba, Johns Hopkins University

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
From Here to There: Travel and Spiritual Exoticism
2115 Tawes Hall

"Eyewitness of the Holy Land: The Functions of the Tactile in Egeria's Itinerarium,"
Vanessa Taylor, The Catholic University of America

"The World as Relic: The Hereford Mappa Mundi in the Context of Pilgrimage," 
Bridget Walsh, University of Toronto

"Resonances of Trade and the Exotic: Indian Ocean Networks and Byzantine Proto-Globalism Within the Sinai Christian Topography,"
Sana Mirza, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

12:30 - 1:30 PM

1:45 - 3:15 PM
Plenary: Spiritual Geographies
2115 Tawes Hall

"From Passion to Spiritual Zeal: Painting and Manipulation of Desire in Early Modern Bedrooms,"
Frances Gage, Buffalo State College

"The Spiritual Geography of Charles II of Anjou,"
Katherine Jansen, History, The Catholic University of America

"East Anglican Spiritual Geographies, 1348-1418,"
Theresa Colletti, University of Maryland

3:30 - 5:00 PM
Landscapes and Cityscapes: Synthesizing New Spaces
2115 Tawes Hall

"Patriotic and Religious Geographies in Emanuel de Witte's Church Paintings,"
Matthew Lincoln, University of Maryland

"The Disastrous Body: Anxiety in Venetian Art during the War of the League of Cambrai (1509-1517),"
Sara Berkowitz, Rutgers University

"Mapping Desires and Desiring Maps: A Queer Reading of Spatial and Sexual Maps of Early Modern Istanbul,"
Abdulhamit Arvas, Michigan State University

5:00 PM 
Cocktail Reception       

Friday, October 28, 2011


Geographies of Desire:
A Medieval and Early Modern Interdisciplinary Conference
University of Maryland, College Park -- April 27-28, 2012
Keynote Speaker: Valerie Traub, Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan

Where do we go to get what we want? Mandeville to the kingdom of Prester John, the Littlewits to Bartholomew Fair, Antony to Alexandria, Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold: the fulfillment of desire, or the negation of an interior lack, is frequently a plotted movement from here to there. “Geographies of Desire” seeks papers that explore how desires are mapped across spatial planes; how do spaces such as markets, shrines, bedrooms, and courts produce material, spiritual, erotic, and political desires?

Geography is produced by an invested interest in the world, such that the mapping out of one’s desires is a precondition for mapping out the world. The desire for geographies both literal and figurative results from having outgrown local, national, imperial, and earthbound spaces. And yet, satisfaction often eludes us: the geography of desire pursues a sense of completion but risks corruption in the process.

Geography assimilates space and erases conceptual difference between separate worlds within the confines of a controllable physical representation. But even as the fog lifts from the exterior world, a strange desire keeps pulling us toward things monstrous and divine. How, then, does the geography of desire upset or reinforce the economic, political, erotic, and cosmological centers of our universes? How do literature, the visual arts, travel narratives, histories, religious writings, natural philosophy, and theater imagine these geographies? How and why do we imagine ourselves into the personal, cultural, ecological, and political spaces of others?

The Graduate Field Committee of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the Department of English at the University of Maryland invite papers that explore these issues for “Geographies of Desire,” a graduate-faculty conference to be held April 27 and April 28, 2012 at the University of Maryland, College Park. This two-day interdisciplinary conference aims to foster insightful and vigorous conversation on this topic through an innovative format that includes graduate paper panels, roundtables, and plenary sessions with local scholars.  Participants and attendees can look forward to a seminar led by Ricardo Padrón (University of Virginia), a digital humanities panel with Martin Foys (Drew University), Elizabeth Rodini (Johns Hopkins University), and Ben Tilghman (George Washington University), and plenary sessions with Theresa Coletti (University of Maryland), Katherine Jansen (Catholic University of America), Frances Gage (Buffalo State College), and Ralph Bauer (University of Maryland), with more panelists to be announced.

In addition to traditional papers, we are soliciting proposals for workshops related to the conference theme. Digital Humanities workshops centered on new research tools, pedagogy tools, or digital archives are especially welcome.

We expect this theme to be interpreted broadly, but invite participants to consider some of the following approaches:

Exclusionary geography: Anchorites, xenophobes, isolationists, land enclosure

Desire in Transit: pilgrimages, war and territorial expansion, diplomacy, colonization, tourism, travel literature, captivity narratives, slave narratives

Shipwrecked Desires: lost coasts, desert islands, Hellesponts and Maelstroms, Mermaids and Sirens

Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?: local economies, fair circuits, foodsheds and market villages, new views on Von Thünen

Scientific Desire for Geography: telescopes, cartography, geohumoralism, new technologies, cosmography, describing nature—natural philosophy v. poetry, properties

Great Reckonings in Little Rooms: domestic economies, decoration of interior spaces, mapping the home

Long is the way / And hard, that out of hell: religious desires, missions, conversion, priest holes and monuments, spreading reform, spreading heresy, redemption

Art and design: cartography (veracity v. subjectivity), mapping the canvas, perspective, architecture, urban planning

Romantic and Erotic desires: exogamy, queer spaces, gendered spaces, courtly love, private / public, forests and cityscapes: green worlds and grey worlds

Abstracts of 400-500 words for workshops or 20-minute papers related to the conference theme should be emailed to ( no later than  January 31, 2012.