Truth and Truthiness:
Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
SATURDAY, December 1, 2018
BARNARD HALL, 3009 Broadway, NYC
The capacity of language both to communicate truth and to manipulate perceptions of it was as vexed a problem for the Middle Ages and Renaissance as it is today. From Augustine to Erasmus, enthusiasm for the study of rhetoric was accompanied by profound concern about its capacity to mask the difference between authenticity and deceit, revelation and heresy, truth and truthiness. Even the claim of authenticity or transparency could become, some thinkers argued, a deliberate form of manipulation or “spin.” In our current era when public figures aim to create effects of immediacy and authenticity, this conference looks at the history of debates about rhetoric and, more generally, about the presentation of transparency and truthfulness. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this conference considers the role of the verbal arts in the history of literature, law, politics, theology, and historiography, but also broadens the scope of rhetoric to include such topics as the rhetoric of the visual arts and the language of the new science to produce effects of objective access to “things themselves.”
Plenary speakers will be Lorna Hutson (University of Oxford) and Dyan Elliott (Northwestern University).
Please register at the link provided here by November 19th: