Knowing Nature in the Medieval & Early Modern Worlds
24-25 October, 2014, University of Maryland

The Graduate Field Committee in Medieval & Early Modern Studies at University of Maryland, College Park–an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students–is excited to announce this year’s conference, Knowing Nature in the Medieval & Early Modern Worlds.

Nature, according to the critic Raymond Williams, is quite possibly “the most difficult word in the English language.” The genealogy of nature’s complexities—semantic, philological, epistemological, ontological—are the subject of this two-day conference that seeks to bring into dialogue historians of science, philosophy, art, and literature. How did early writers and artists and other thinkers know and encounter nature? What practices made nature legible? What ethics were thought to arise out of the environment? This event considers a wide variety of cultural productions in the medieval and early modern periods. By what metaphors and strategies did pre-modern people represent the sensible world of matter? This event considers a wide variety of cultural productions in the medieval and early modern periods, seeking to rethink the relation between fields of knowledge and to bridge the widening gap between the humanities and the sciences in our own universities.

 The conference will take place October 24-25, 2014.