Call for paper: Anunal Meeting of Renaissance Society of America, 22-24 March 2012 , Washington DC, USA.
Panel: Veil and Veiling in Europe, 1450-1650: Revisiting
From St. Paulís letter to the Corinthians and Tertullianís ĎOn the Veiling Virginsí to the decrees of the Council of Trent, the veil, and the custom of veiling womenís hair, has historically been the premise of discourse regarding gender and religious identity in early and medieval Christian societies. However, the significance and function of the veil became far more complicated in early modern Europe than in previous centuries as early modern European society experienced a crisis of order. Both religious and civic leaders reinforced the need for women to cover their heads and emphasized the veil, including its fabric, style, and colour, as an indicator of womenís different social statuses and, most importantly, their personal and familial honour or shame. Because social norms necessitated that every woman own some form of headcovering, the act of veiling, the refusal to don a veil, or even the way that a woman chose to wear the veil could reveal her regional or ethnic identity, political affiliation, or religious confession.
By using multiple disciplines and sources, it is possible for scholars to put forth a variety of questions about early modern veiling practices, including: 1) How did early modern Europeans define, or redefine, the veil? 2) How has the tradition of veiling challenged during the movements of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation? 3) What were the contemporary religious accounts of veiling womenís hair? 4) How did women consider the necessity to veil themselves? 5) Because the custom of veiling could vary from place to place, to what extent could women negotiate their right of expressing themselves under the legislation of local government and religious authority? 6) What were the consumption patterns of headcoverings, in general? Above all, the session aims to question how we can reconsider the female experience vis-ŗ-vis the veil and the practice of veiling in early modern Europe. Therefore, we would like to invite papers that focus on fresh materials, new angles, or special cases regarding the object of the veil and the custom of veiling. Given that this was a global issue in the early modern world, papers concerning Asia and the Middle East are also welcome and will be presented as contrasting examples.
Please e-mail a short CV and a 150-word draft to both Mary Kovel (University of Arizona) firstname.lastname@example.org and Chia-hua Yeh (Queen Mary, University of London) email@example.com by the 25th of May, 2011.
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