Shakespeare and his Contemporaries

The IASEMS Graduate Conference at the British Institute of Florence

Call for Papers

The 2020 IASEMS Graduate Conference at The British Institute in Florence is a one-day interdisciplinary and bilingual English-Italian forum open to PhD students and researchers who have obtained their doctorate within the past 5 years. This year’s conference will focus on ‘infection’ and ‘toxicity’ in early modern English language, literature and culture. We welcome papers adopting a variety of approaches to different textual typologies; the aim of the Conference is to explore the ways in which ideas and paradigms related to infection and toxicity function at both a material and a metaphorical level in early modern linguistic,

literary and cultural production.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

⎯ Toxicity and poison in drama: tragedy, dark comedy, comedy, allegorical drama

⎯ Infectious/toxic words and rhetoric in political and religious treatises, controversies, libels

⎯ Virulence and invectives (e.g. Martin Marprelate tracts)

⎯ The rhetoric of satire, classical models

⎯ Ideas of toxicity and infection in early modern English idioms, proverbs, maxims

⎯ The toxic/infectious figure in popular tradition: shrews and witches (both male and female)

⎯ Allegorical characters in early modern narrative (e.g. The Pilgrim’s Progress)

⎯ Cautionary tales and pamphlets

⎯ Poetry, popular ballads, exemplary tales; the poisonous power of slander; the Italian legacy

(Boccaccio-Chaucer, Cinzio, Bandello …)

⎯ Poisoning substances: harmful and healing purposes

⎯ Infection and toxicity in humour theory

⎯ Metaphors of contagion

Candidates are invited to send a description of their proposed contribution according to the following


– the candidate should provide name, institution, contact info, title and a short abstract of the proposed contribution (300 words for a maximum 20-minute paper), explaining the content and intended structure of the paper; please include both a short bibliography and a short biographical note;

– abstracts are to be submitted by Tuesday 10 December 2019 by email to giuliana.iannaccaro@unimi.it and lucabaratta85@gmail.com;

– the list of selected papers will be available by Friday 10 January 2020;

– each finished contribution should not exceed 20 minutes and is to be presented in English (an exception will be made for Italian candidates of departments other than English, who can give their papers in Italian);

– candidates whose first language is not English will need to have their proposals and final papers checked by a mother-tongue speaker;

– participants will be asked to present a final draft of the paper ten days before the Conference.

Selected speakers who are IASEMS members can apply for a small grant (http://www.iasems.org/?page_id=2). For further information please contact Luca Baratta





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