Call for Papers: New York University’s Medieval and Renaissance Center’s Annual Spring Conference

Medieval and Renaissance Center
New York University

Annual Spring Conference
March 29, 2013


Keynote speaker: Professor C. Stephen Jaeger, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Call for papers: New York University’s Medieval and Renaissance Center invites proposals for papers that address the topic of charisma in any of its multiple forms and cultural sites: from an attribute of an individual person–whether a god-given grace or personally cultivated aura–to a feature of a work of art that affords it the power to uplift or dazzle a beholder; and from the elite productions and practices of church and state–such as Gothic cathedrals and royal regalia and processions–to such cult objects of religion and secular art as icons, relics, stones, pilgrimage shrines, weapons, and portraits; and to such quasi-historical and literary characters as Lancelot of the Lake, Don Quixote, Mephistopheles, and Helen of Troy. In approaching the topic of charisma, papers might touch on such phenomena as charm, enchantment, adoration, favor, grace, aura, enthusiasm, inspiration, magic of body and speech, fame, notoriety, fascination, glorification, elegance, divinity, embodiment, post-embodiment, sensuality, beauty, glamour, the elite, the heroic, and the supernatural. While recent conferences and publications on the topic of charisma have focused on charismatic preaching and religious institutions, this conference aims to explore charisma as a quality or force that charms, persuades, enchants, and transforms, a force that may appear as a magical quality of human personalities, of works of art, of animals, and even of objects: in short, charisma no longer strictly in the sense of Max Weber’s studies of charismatic leadership, but in addition, charisma as it asserts itself in aesthetics, psychology, and anthropology.

Papers from every sub-discipline of Medieval and Renaissance Studies are welcome. Please send abstracts (250 words maximum) to Martha Rust (at by September 15, 2012.

The Medieval and Renaissance Center will be able to offer assistance with travel and accommodation to conference participants living outside New York City.

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