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Research Colloquium: Spheres

On 8-9 May 2014 the University of Bonn host edthe second of three annual research colloquia on the theme of 'Renaissance Conflict and Rivalries: Cultural Polemics in Europe, c. 1300-c. 1650'. The colloquia spring from a Leverhulme International Network that seeks to explore the relationship between the cultural renewal that many contemporaries saw taking place in art, literature, scholarship, and science and the simultaneous prevalence of opposition, confrontation, and rivalry, well captured by the German term Streitkultur. For further details on the Network and its aims, see

The first colloquium took place at the University of Warwick (the Network's lead institution) and focused on 'Forms'. The second colloquium was devoted to the topic of 'Spheres'. Questions to be explored related to the construction and involvement of various segments of the public sphere in Renaissance conflict and rivalries, as well as the communication processes that went on in these spheres to initiate, control, and resolve polemical exchanges. Particular attention was devoted to topics such as the identity of the rival parties and of the audience (their number and size, intellectual background, socio-political status, also in relationship with the opponents, their religious, political, aesthetic stance, their gender), the objectives of the rival parties (promotion and enforcement of personal or higher interests, pastime for aesthetic pleasure, self- and/or community-fashioning, in terms of gaining access to a group, of consolidating the cohesion of a group, of motivating others into solidarity), the roles and functions of the audience (listener/reader, supporter, mediator, referee/judge, appellate authority), the formal and spatial structure and organization (the extent of ritualization and institutionalization in a given setting, the extent of publicity and accessibility/possibility of participation, social conditions and limitations, conditions of access, conditions of publication, role of controlling instances, distance in space or time, centre vs. periphery).

Speakers at the 'Spheres' colloquium in Bonn included:

  • Uwe Baumann (Universität Bonn), Contrasting interpretations in Tudor historiography and Renaissance drama: The cases of Richard III and the Tudor rebellions
  • Imke Lichterfeld (Universität Bonn), Space and Symbolism. The King’s Sphere in Shakespeare’s Histories
  • Florence Alazard (Université de Tours / Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance), Conflicts on War during the reign of Louis XII: “Je-ne-sçay-qui” and “Labeur” as Spheres of Conflict
  • Donatella Coppini (Università di Firenze), Mentula, cunnus abest. La critica dell’osceno in termini osceni nelle polemiche contro il Panormita
  • Concetta Bianca (Università di Firenze), Le “Orationes contra turcos”
  • Michael Gordian (The Warburg Institute), Pious Frauds or Malicious Impostures? Conflicts and Rivalries about Feigning and Disguise in Early Modern Medical Discourse
  • Jacomien Prins (University of Warwick, Musicology / Renaissance Studies), Girolamo Cardano’s and Julius Caesar Scaliger’s competing views of the relationship between music, mind and medicine
  • Jan Papy (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Seminarium Philologiae Humanisticae), Lipsius the Stoic? The paradox of fame and his public rivalries
  • Francesco Bruni (Università Ca’ Foscari, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici), Borghini contro Ruscelli e Dolce ovvero circolazione manoscritta e crescita tipografica tra Firenze e Venezia
  • Marco Giani (Università Ca’ Foscari, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici), The mouthpiece and the Florentine influence: Venetian political spheres in Paolo Paruta’s rhetoric
  • Lisa Hillier (The Warburg Institute), The ‘Gothic Tailor of Bologna’: Carlo Carracci and his Rivalry with Francesco Terribilia
  • Michael Harrigan (University of Warwick, French Studies), Conflicting economies as agent of narrative production in the early modern Indian Ocean Basin
  • Peter Arnold Heuser (Universität Bonn, Zentrum für Historische Friedensforschung), The Westphalian Peace Treaties 1643-1649 as a sphere of conflict and rivalries


Downloadable programme of the full colloquium is available here  (PDF Document)

border image on programme