Travel has a long and intimate history with philosophy. Travel also has a long and intimate relationship with fiction. Sometimes travel fiction acts as ‘thought experiments’, experiments that we can run through in our heads.
This talk explores a 1666 fiction travelogue, Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World. In the novel, a virtuous young lady is kidnapped and travels by boat through the North Pole into a new world. I argue this is no mere piece of science fiction. Instead, this travelogue acts as a distinctly philosophical thought experiment, exploring the philosophy of science, utopias, and what it means to be real.
Organized by Laura Rosenthal (Professor of English, University of Maryland)
& Scott Trudell (Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland)
The Intermedia Restoration is a one-day conference that takes the interdisciplinary conversation in media history back to an especially vibrant intersection: the English Restoration, c. 1660-1700. This period of media novelty upon media novelty included newspapers, novels, still life, landscape painting, opera, and a newly cosmopolitan stage featuring female actors. The dynamic interactions across Restoration media were crucial to what made them appear to be so “new.”
One of the landmark publications in recent scholarship on the history and theory of media was Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey Pingree’s New Media, 1740–1915 (MIT Press, 2003) – a book that “challenges the notion that to study new media is to study exclusively today’s new media.” This book was intended to expand media studies backward in time, and yet, fourteen years later, it emblematizes what has become a cut-off point. Scholars of media continue to conceive of the mid-eighteenth century at the early limit of a genealogy that stretches to our own, late capitalist experiences of oversaturation in new media cultures. The Enlightenment and Industrialization have retained a firm hold at the origin of the narratives we write about the modern and contemporary media concept.
“The Intermedia Restoration” aims to expand and enrich these narratives by addressing the following questions: What theoretical and methodological shifts do we need to better understand this period’s media ecology? How might we reimagine the concept of the seventeenth-century “baroque” in fresh, interdisciplinary ways? What new histories of religion and politics can we connect to media interplay? How can transnational histories of slavery and colonization be more fully integrated into our conceptions of Restoration aesthetics and media cultures? How might we think through the period’s failures and breakdowns in media interactivity? How might we use the concept of intermediation to rethink continuity and change in the periods preceding and succeeding the Restoration?
The conference will serve as the basis for a special issue of the journal Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, to be published in the 2018-19 academic year and guest edited by Scott Trudell. The event is sponsored by the University of Maryland Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of English, and Department of Art History.
William Germano, Dean and Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at The Cooper Union: “Operatic Shakespeare, or the Restoration Road Not Taken”
Stuart Sherman, Professor of English at Fordham University: “Unknown to All the Rest”: Restoration Prologues and Epilogues as Intermedial Crux”
Amanda Eubanks Winkler, Associate Professor of Music History and Cultures at Syracuse University: “The Intermediality of Dramatick Opera”
Sharon J. Harris, Ph.D. candidate in English at Fordham University: “Domesticating the English Masque through Its Music on the Late Restoration Stage”
Franklin Hildy, Professor of Theatre History at the University of Maryland: “‘The Triumph of Isabella’ and ‘The Triumph of London’: Pageantry, Art and Message in the 17th Century.”
Katherine Hunt, Career Development Fellow in English Literature at Oxford University: “Kinetic epistemologies and the form of the book in Restoration playing cards”
Erin Keating, Assistant Professor of English, Film and Theatre at the University of Manitoba: “Paratextual Community: Secret History and Sociability in the Restoration Court”
Stephanie Koscak, Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University: “Playing Cards and Political Legerdemain: Communications Networks and the Representation of Conspiracy”
Eric Nils Lindquist, Librarian for history, American studies, classics, and religion at the University of Maryland: “Manuscript, Print, and Two Exclusion Crises”
Joseph Arthur Mann, Scholar in Residence at St. Gregory’s University: “A History of Hidden Monarchical Manipulation: The Themes and Strategies of Late-Stuart Music Propaganda”
Elizabeth Massey, Ph.D. student in Musicology at the University of Maryland: “Music Making English Identity”
Nicholas Smolenski, Ph.D. student in Musicology at Duke University: “Caroline Propaganda in Restoration England: Thomas Tomkins’s Musica Deo sacra”
Rajani Sudan, Professor of English at Dedman College, “Amboyna Burl: Dryden and the Ecology of Disaster”
Thomas Ward, Associate Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy: “Pindarique Waveforms ~ Abraham Cowley’s Irregular Verse in Print, Manuscript, and Music”
Keynote Speaker: Eileen Hunt Botting – University of Notre Dame
Women have had a far deeper and more extensive influence on the history than is commonly realised. Far from confining their interests to questions of gender and domestic matters, women have been writing on all aspects of philosophy for as long as such a discipline can be identified. Indeed, it is often surprising just how much high quality philosophical and political thought women have produced throughout history given that so few of the writers are known outside of a few specialist departments.
Across history, women’s writing is now being recovered not as marginal but as theoretically important in its own right. Amongst the many names one could list, we might think of Hildegard von Bingen and Christine de Pizan from the Middle Ages; Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Mary Astell in the Early Modern Period; Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, as well as Olympe de Gouges and Sophie de Grouchy, in the revolutionary period of the Enlightenment; to say nothing of Mary Prince, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth amongst the numerous slave and abolitionist writings of the nineteenth century.
In spite of the many difficulties women have had in making their voices heard philosophically – women did not have access to the highest levels of education, they often had to confine themselves to safe subjects to avoid social censure, they frequently found it necessary to write anonymously or to destroy one’s work, and they were in any case not normally taken seriously – their work far was more influential in their own time than we often realise today, and it still has the potential to speak to us in our own time through its influence on contemporary debates and issues.
The purpose of this conference is both to raise awareness of the rich historical tradition of women’s philosophy as well as to help make the connection with current social, moral, political and philosophical debate by bringing neglected women writers, past and present, into dialogue with today’s discourses.
We invite submissions for papers on any related theme, including but not limited to those named above. We are also interested in papers focused on women writing from a non-Western tradition, or under conditions of social or political oppression today. Presentations may address any area of philosophy, or of social, moral and political thinking more widely conceived. Some suggested topics include women philosophers on education, social reform, or revolution.