Events

Past Event

Barnard MedRen Conference: Truth and Truthiness

December 1, 2018
8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Barnard Hall

Truth and Truthiness:

Belief, Authenticity, Rhetoric, and Spin in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018
BARNARD HALL
 

The capacity of language both to communicate truth and to manipulate perceptions of it was as vexed a problem for the Middle Ages and Renaissance as it is today. From Augustine to Erasmus, enthusiasm for the study of rhetoric was accompanied by profound concern about its capacity to mask the difference between authenticity and deceit, revelation and heresy, truth and truthiness. Even the claim of authenticity or transparency could become, some thinkers argued, a deliberate form of manipulation or “spin.” In our current era when public figures aim to create effects of immediacy and authenticity, this conference looks at the history of debates about rhetoric and, more generally, about the presentation of transparency and truthfulness. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this conference considers the role of the verbal arts in the history of literature, law, politics, theology, and historiography, but also broadens the scope of rhetoric to include such topics as the rhetoric of the visual arts and the language of the new science to produce effects of objective access to “things themselves.” Plenary speakers will be Lorna Hutson (University of Oxford) and Dyan Elliott (Northwestern University).

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM

Saturday, December 1, 2018


All sessions held in Barnard Hall, 3009 Broadway, NYC

 

8-9     Registration and Breakfast 

 
9-10   Plenary I: Held Lecture Hall

Dyan Elliott, Northwestern University

  • The Art of Misdirection: Clerical Perspectives on Sodomy in the High Middle Ages

(Introduction: Joel Kaye, Barnard College)

 

10:15-11:45  

Session A  SIGNS OF THE TIMES  Held Lecture Hall

Kathy Eden, Columbia University

  • Signs of the Times in Petrarch’s Sources of Truth

Kira von Ostenfeld-Suske, Huntington Library

  • Humanist History, Truth, and Polemics: The Artes Historicae of Philip II’s Official Historians

Sarah H. Beckjord, Boston College

  • Performing “Spin” in the Comentarios reales

 

Session B TRUE STORIES Barnard Hall 302

Kathleen Loysen, Montclair State University

  • True Stories: Constructing Images of Authority in the French Renaissance Tale

Alani Hicks-Bartlett, New York University

  • “Charlemagne’s Lie(s) and the Deterioration of Truth in Orlando furioso: Ariosto’s Renegotiation of the Chanson de Roland, Pulci, and Boiardo

Marian Rothstein, Carthage College (professor emerita)

  • The Conundrum of Annius of Viterbo’s Forgeries for France

 

12-1  Lunch: James Room

 

1-2  Plenary II  Held Lecture Hall

Lorna Hutson, University of Oxford

  • England’s Insular Imaginings

(Introduction: Rachel Eisendrath, Barnard College)

 

2:15-3:45  

Session C PLAYING GAMES WITH WORDS Held Lecture Hall

Chair: Peter Platt, Barnard College

Joel Kaye, Barnard College

  • A Great Philosopher Plays the Shell Game

Jenny Mann, Cornell University

  • Can a Fiction Pretend to Lie?: More’s Utopia, the Liar’s Paradox, and the Imitation Game

Jeff Dolven, Princeton University

  • The Devices of Sundry Gentlemen

 

Session D WHAT DO YOU KNOW: THE PERFORMANCE OF KNOWLEDGE AND PROBLEMS OF EPISTEMOLOGY Barnard Hall 302

Lauren Robertson, Columbia University

  • Hamlet’s “Experiment”: Knowledge, Performance, and the Play-Within

Katie Lindeman, Tel Aviv University

  • Constructing the Catholic True Man: Masculinity, Authenticity, and Medieval Inquisition

Jake Purcell, Columbia University

  • Anti-Skepticism and Merovingian Epistemology

 

Session E  THE TRUTHINESS OF THE BODY

Barnard Hall 409

Chair: Gregory Bryda

Laura Levine, New York University

  • Judicial Procedure as counter-magic in Malleus Maleficarum

Jessica Maratsos, Cambridge University

  • Fractured Body/Fragmented Presence: Rosso Fiorentino in Rome

Seth Stewart Williams, Barnard College

  • Equivocal Bodies: English Recusants, Gesture, and Dance


 

4-5:30    

Session F THE AUTHENTICITY EFFECT Held Lecture Hall

Chair: Christopher Baswell, Barnard College

Karen Sullivan, Bard College

  • Medieval Sincerity and the ‘Reality Effect’: Did Troubadours Love Their Ladies?

Lauren Mancia, Brooklyn College

  • Credo: Did Medieval Monks Really Believe?

Deborah Fraioli, Simmons University (professor emerita)

  • The Correspondence of Abelard and Heloise: The Story that Lies Within

 

Session G MAPPING POWER Barnard Hall 302

Ryan E. Gregg, Webster University

  • The Rhetoric of City Views: Anton van den Wyngaerde’s Genoa as Argument for Charles V’s Hegemony

Jessica Maier, Mount Holyoke College

  • News, Real and Fake, from the front: Mapping the Great Siege of Malta

Juan Carlos Garzon Mantilla, Columbia University

  • “Ancient Cosmographers Varied and Erred”: Early Modern Global Literacy Debated from the New World


 

5:30-6:30

Wine and Cheese Reception
 

Questions? 
Contact Rachel Eisendrath, reisendr@barnard.edu

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