Call for Papers: Virtual Graduate Early Modern Student Society Symposium 2021

Early modernity witnessed the transformation of the global landscape. Devastating wars remade the map of Europe. Imperial conquest reorganized colonized territories. Urbanization revolutionized patterns of human habitation. Early modern people were variously the architects or victims of these changing topographies. Problems of positionality, boundaries, and horizons shaped life at every level. Recently, the vibrant fields of eco-criticism and spatial analysis have begun to demand that we as scholars attend to these problems. This symposium asks how landscape as a heuristic category can reimagine a defining moment in world history. How did advances in natural philosophy reframe observers’ understanding of their surroundings? What kinds of environments did authors and artists invent in their media? How did encounters with new continents transfigure popular and elite worldviews? The early modern period was one of mapping and movement, exploration and expression. In this symposium, we encourage presenters to conceive of landscape broadly, as encompassing also seascapes, mindscapes, and even escapes. Can we understand the theatrical stage as a landscape? How can landscape force us to attend to problems of scale? Through questions like these, we hope to uncover how everyday people navigated the rapidly shifting contours of their cosmos.

The Graduate Early Modern Student Society (GEMSS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison invites papers exploring these issues to be presented at its annual symposium, which this year will take place online across multiple Fridays in April 2021. We seek to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue among graduate students interested in early modernity however defined. Possible areas of study include, but are by no means limited to:

· Area Studies

· Art and Art History

· Communication Studies

· Critical Race Theory

· Film Studies

· Gender and Sexuality Studies

· History

· Literature

· Political Theory

· Religious Studies

· Science and Technology Studies

· Theatre and Drama

We welcome submissions of traditional 15-20 minute single-authored papers or thematic roundtables of 3-4 presenters. Graduate scholars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and fellow universities are encouraged to apply. Please email abstracts of 300 words or fewer, along with the name, academic department, and a brief biographical statement of each proposed presenter to Alice Coulter Main ( The submission deadline is Friday, January 29, 2021.