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Objects of Conversion in Early Modern Europe

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Saturday, February 17, 2018

CMRS Early Modern Conversions Conference

Can objects convert? Exploring the relationship between objects and conversion can usefully complicate the usual distinctions between subjects and objects. From sacramental materials to holy wells, human hands to books, new kinds of food and drink to precious metals and forms of currency, objects can both convert and be converted, tangling any linear chain of causality. Objects are also purposes, inviting us to ask not only the how but also the why of conversions.

This conference, organized by Professor Robert N. Watson (English, UCLA) and Professor Holly Crawford Pickett (English, Washington and Lee) and presented in conjunction with the Early Modern Conversions project headquartered at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University, brings together specialists from a variety of fields in the humanities to discuss these questions in the context of early modern Europe.

Accusations of idolatry haunted the participation of objects in transformative worship, as accusations of apostasy haunted religious conversions. Theology thus provided the core vocabulary for issues of conversion in many other areas. How did early modern developments in natural history shape the way people understood their environments—their power over external objects, including non-human animals—and hence their own subjectivities? How did changing understandings of cognition (including embodied and extended cognition) and virtue (as both physical and spiritually manifested) shape interactions between humans and non-humans? What confessional and political implications did these changing interactions entail? And what can we learn from them as we wrestle with the dangerous energies of religious conflict in the 21st century?

Advance registration is requested. Please click here to complete the short registration form.

No fee. Limited seating. Self-pay parking in lots 2, 3, and 4. Parking information at https://main.transportation.ucla.edu/campus-parking/visitors

Funding for this symposium is provided by the Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

Registration for Michaelangelo's Adam and Eve Lecture on February 20, 2018

Please complete this form to register for the event. Or call us at 310-825-1880.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018
Saturday, February 17, 2018


Royce Hall 314
10745 Dickson Plaza
Los Angeles , CA 90095 United States