How have perceptions of magic shaped sexuality, love, and reproduction in the past?
“Bewitched,” “enchanted,” “spellbound,” “possessed” — the language of seduction and love is replete with allusions to magic. In the early modern period, magic and sexuality were deeply intertwined and there was a widespread consensus that humans were vulnerable to mysterious powers, especially when it came to their sex lives. For instance, accusations of love magic appear regularly in the records of the Mexican, Spanish, and Roman Inquisitions. Additionally, Renaissance scholars argued that imagination affected unborn children, forming an infant according to what its mother looked upon at the moment of conception. Amid deadly witch-hunts, anxieties about magic’s effects on fertility emerged in courts and churches. Magic haunted sexuality in innumerable ways.
When: 4-6 November 2016
Where: McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Deadline: 31 March 2016
This interdisciplinary workshop aims to bring together scholars working on one or both of the following:
- Questions concerned with the methods of women writing in the Renaissance and Early Modern period, and of men writing pro-woman works at the same time: the use of argument, evidence, literary, theological and philosophical authority, exempla, rhetorical devices, intellectual exchange, and methodological approaches (e.g. skeptical, on the basis of natural philosophy, fantastical).
- Questions concerned with the genre that women chose for their work and that men chose for articulating pro-woman positions, whether poetry, polemical treatise, dialogue, or epistolary forms.