Impassioned Britain: Familial and Divine Depictions of Feeling (1707 – 1907), University of Liverpool, 15-17 July 2015
Joanne Bailey (Oxford Brookes University)
Simon Carter (Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London)
Heather Ellis (Liverpool Hope University)
Susan Matthews (University of Roehampton)
Frederick Ross (Art Renewal Center, New Jersey)
Bringing together historians, curators, literary critics, and creators of the largest online museum on the internet (ARC), this conference will explore familial and divine feelings in art, history, and literature. With reference to modern psychological and philosophical accounts of emotions, we invite scholars to discuss relevant topics. Contributors are invited to focus on and analyse historical renderings of affective vocabulary (emotion, feeling, sensation, sensibility, passion, affection, enthusiasm) with an emphasis on interpretative in/dependence or interchangeability. We aim to investigate particular works of art, historical records, and literary documents, promoting a return to excellence, connection, and distinction between the visual and verbal arts, demonstrating familial and divine relations to human communication and behaviour. The conference invites discussions of “impassioned Britain” not so much as a geographically bounded area of creativity and production, but rather as a historical currency of ideas exported and imported, collected and exhibited, inside and out of the country. In the light of increasing interdisciplinary exploration of emotions in the past decade, we look for corresponding ideas across several disciplines emerging through investigations of communicative teaching, originality, and influence of ideas by non-British history and art territories, the Celtic revival, otherness in British art and literature, adaptations of British literary creations, artworks, and so forth.
Poetic portraiture and historical iconography shape the major direction of our debates in this conference. Analytic takes on parallel and analogous works of emotive and metaphoric language are welcome. There are numerous examples whose thematic and structural comparisons, with specific reference to the philosophy of mind and art, stimulate a better understanding of affective boundaries. We are looking for works across genres, e.g. affective spectrum and the formation of adult feeling surging through Maria Edgeworth’s and Richard Lovell Edgeworth’s Practical Education (1798) compared with affective depictions in The Parent’s Assistant (1796). Contributors may compare writers, painters, and sculptors, who tell similar/different emotional tales by means of a variety of media and creative models, e.g. familial representative art in God’s Acre by Thomas Faed (1826-1900) compared with God’s Acre by Emily Osborn (1834-1913). What emotional parallels do we find in these works and in Blanche Baughan’s “God’s Acre”? Beyond these and similar examples, how is “impassioned Britain” viewed in contemporary reading of the Enlightenment and the Romantic age.
Historical sources such as family memoirs, letter-writing conventions and epistolary manuscripts, family paintings and divine portraiture communicate both geography and genre of emotional manifestation. The conference seeks not only historical but also cultural sources of sentimental portraiture and familial correspondence, e.g. songs, iconic sculptures and funerary, medical treatise, and commonplace books. Presentations should engage with representation of “impassioned Britain” in text, context, and correspondence by demonstrating how such illustrations connected individuals – with one another or/and with the Divine – or left them isolated.
Participation: Abstracts of 250 words are invited for individual presentations of 20-25 minutes. Organisers consider panels, readings, and performance proposals. Abstract deadline: 25 December 2014. Email your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org at the University of Liverpool. For more information on keynote speakers, conference venue, proceedings, and future collaboration in this area, please visit Embodiments Research Group at the University of Liverpool http://embodiments.liv.ac.uk and follow us on twitter @Embodiments.
Silence: A Semiotics of (in)Significance, University of Liverpool, 1-3 July 2015
Natasha Alden (English & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University)
Bernard Beatty (Literature & Theology, Universities of Liverpool & St Andrews)
Erik Grayson (Literature, Wartburg College)
David Lewin (Education Studies, Liverpool)
Paivi Miettunen (Medicine & Art, University of Calgary)
Fiona Tolan (Literature, Liverpool John Moores University)
This conference aims to explore silence and meaning-making. Central themes are significance and insignificance, congruence and indifference, reticence and inarticulacy. We discuss how attention, knowledge, and oblivion are shaped by lack of communication or by presence of silence as communication. As such, the conference primarily concerns itself with silence in different narratives. To analyse the point of structural, social, and cognitive engagement, we read various historical periods. The conference, therefore, probes the anatomy of silence in construction and interpretation, be it intellectual or emotional, aesthetic or strategic, verbal or visual, subjective and objective. More broadly, we discuss silence and gender. How does silence historically manifest a taxonomy of femininity and masculinity with regards to narrative virtue, bravery, chivalry, and honour?
What are some connecting theories of silence and (in)significance in art and literature produced by individuals whose gender is the most plausible entity to offer their work impromptu significance? Are there contemporary examples or is this a “thing of the past”? In education and meaning-making, how do individuals connect with silence, with themselves and others through silence? To what extent is quiet time in teaching arts and humanities, social sciences, life and health sciences, a beneficial factor to retain attention? How do male and female recipients of silence develop in later stages of life and career? Or does silence infuse facts with insignificance, no matter how significant they may be? What are ethical implications of silence for works of art as well as for those who create or equip them with (in)significance?
On a more profound level, how does silence benefit the artist, writer, and educator? How does it affect observers in aesthetic and ethical spaces? “The triumph of monastic silence,” as Diarmaid MacCulloch (2013) put it, was morally embodied, suggesting that the silence of the cosmos fascinated “those meditating on Christian Scripture and its satellites for centuries to come (54).” Correspondingly, how is silence perceived and embodied in literature and theology, literature and art, literature and medicine around the world? How does silence communicate positive and negative emotions in connection with communicative tools in other disciplines, especially in psychology, history, and linguistics? Schools of English and Psychology at the University of Liverpool consider individual presentations of 20 minutes, panel proposals, and poetic art exhibitions for this conference. Topics may include but are not limited to the following:
- Rhetoric, symbolic grammar, metaphor
- Cognitive construction, development, (in)significance
- Fictive spaces of silence in works of art
- Sacrament, forgiveness, endearment
- Manuscripts and miniatures of grief, joy, and silence
- Nonverbal rejection, conflict, and dehumanizing through silence
- Iconography, portraiture, and silence
- Musical genius, rhapsody and recital of silence
- Argumentative silence, social psychology, and identity
Deadline for abstracts (of no more than 300 words) is 20 December 2014.
Email Embodiments Research Group: email@example.com
A number of conference bursaries (Memorial of Dr. Wasfia Mhabak) will be available for PhD scholars in literary and comparative studies. To apply, send us a full CV, research statement, and your abstract for the conference. A selection of papers will be considered for publication in our project book series.
For further details, please visit http://embodiments.liv.ac.uk