CFP: Awkward Objects: The Bounds of the Body in Early Modern Culture

Call for Papers

Awkward Objects:
The Bounds of the Body in Early Modern Culture

20–21 April, 2017
Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture – Helsinki

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jill Burke (The University of Edinburgh)

Call for Papers:

Certain objects, through their intimate interaction with the human body, invite embarrassment, discomfort or even disgust in the beholder. From the merkin, to the pessary, from anatomical figurines to thumbscrews, these objects hover on the margins of art and visual culture, and bridge the gap between the everyday and the uncanny. This conference, from 20-21 April at Aalto University, will be a forum for researchers from throughout Europe who investigate uncanny objects in the Early Modern world. We invite papers on objects whose relationship with the human body has led them to be overlooked, marginalised or completely avoided in previous scholarship. The conference aims to investigate the extraordinary potential of the mundane, question the boundaries of art history and material culture, and examine the relationship between body, object, and art.

We welcome papers from researchers of any background, including art history, visual/material culture, history, and archaeology. Innovative approaches are particularly encouraged. Researchers are invited to examine objects that have previously been ignored in the historical scholarship, so suggested topics include, but are not limited to: undergarments; torture devices; codpieces; pessaries; wigs; condoms; dildos; prosthetics; surgical, mortuary, and dental implements from anywhere in the world (time period 1400-1700).

Limited travel expenses may be reimbursed (to be confirmed).

Please submit proposal of up to 250 words and a short biography to
Dr. Jackie Spicer ( by no later than 13 January, 2017.

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Jacqueline Spicer
Postdoctoral Researcher
Aalto University – School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Department of Art

Phone: Tel. 050 4682664

One thought on “CFP: Awkward Objects: The Bounds of the Body in Early Modern Culture

  1. Pingback: Awkward Objects | Dr Len Fisher

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