Cultures of Things in Early Modern Antwerp (New York, 27-29 March 14)

CFP/Appel à contribution

New York, RSA, March 27 – 29, 2014

Cultures of Things in Early Modern Antwerp: Values, Identities, and Transformations

In the past years there has been a growing interest in the circulation of precious objects in the early modern world. Taking these recent studies on early modern cultures of making, collecting, and representation as its point of departure, this panel focuses on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Antwerp as the site of a particularly rich and diverse ‘culture of precious things’, including tapestries, gold- and silverware, glass works, jewelry, books, prints, musical and mathematical instruments, and paintings. In the course of the sixteenth century Antwerp developed into an emporium of foreign trade and a center of artists’ knowledge and expertise. With the arrival of new artifacts (both local and foreign) new types of specialty markets (panden) emerged. Collections and images of collections reflected and reinforced an increased preoccupation with the values and identities of various crafts and arts. Papers may focus, among other topics, on the making, collecting, and circulation of precious objects, whether individually or as groups; on strategies of describing and representing Antwerp’s culture of things; on competing and shared interests between different craftsmen and artisans, creators of images and creators of things, or artisans, merchants, and consumers. How did Antwerp’s luxury industries respond to and shape collecting desires, connoisseurship, and taste? How did merchants’ and artists’ abilities to ‘imitate what is foreign’ (Guicciardini) affect notions of ingenuity, innovation, knowledge, and skill?

Please send a brief abstract (maximum 150 words), keywords, and a 300-word CV to Christine Goettler:  christine.goettler(at) The submission deadline is 27 May 2013.