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Call for Editors for the Journal of the Northern Renaissance

Astronomia, Flemish (detail)The Journal of the Northern Renaissance is seeking new recruits to its editorial team. Established in 2009, JNR is a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal dedicated to the study of both the cultural productions and the concept of the Northern Renaissance.

As several members of the current editorial team will be either moving on or taking up additional duties over the coming year, ear, we are looking for three new editors. For each of these roles (see below) previous editorial experience and/or knowledge of online publishing and coding would be valuable but is not necessarily required. Equally important will be a willingness to learn and to work together with fellow editors, and a passionate interest in the Northern Renaissance, reflected in both a research specialism and a broader curiosity about the wider field.

JNR’s remit includes literature, art and architectural history and material cultures, musicology, philosophy, politics, theology and the history of science. In recruiting new editors we hope to strengthen the journal’s interdisciplinary nature, and we would therefore welcome applications from across this range of disciplines. We would also especially welcome prospective editors from outside the UK, and those who are working on less-studied aspects of the Northern Renaissance.

These positions are, at present, unpaid: we all give our time voluntarily. However, they do offer an invaluable opportunity to develop useful skills and networks, to witness the peer reviewing and publishing process from within, and to broaden one’s engagement with the rich variety of contemporary scholarship on the Renaissance in the north and its manifold conceptualizations.

The roles we are seeking to fill are as follows:

(a) Associate/General Editor

The new editor will work with the current editor and associate editors to produce new issues, identify and approach peer reviewers, and determine the future direction of the journal. S/he will also help develop Polaris, a new JNR venture publishing shorter discussion pieces and polemics. We hope to recruit an associate editor who in 6-12 months’ time will be ready and willing to take over as General Editor, with overall responsibility for JNR. We would expect the new editor to already be an established scholar with a good publication record. An ability to network, and to engage with topics and scholars beyond one’s immediate research specialisms, would also be invaluable.

(b) Associate Editor (Reviews)

JNR publishes book and exhibition reviews on a rolling basis. We are looking for a new reviews editor who will take responsibility for soliciting books for review, identifying and contacting reviewers, and editing and posting reviews to the journal website as they are received.

(c) Assistant Editor

The assistant editor will aid the editorial team in preparing articles for online publication, and also contribute to the running of Polaris. The role would be ideally suited to a doctoral student.

To apply for one or more of these posts, please send a short CV (no more than 4 sides) to northernrenaissance@gmail.com, together with a brief covering letter or email (no more than 500 words) saying why you think you would be well suited to JNR, by 1 September 2015. Informal enquiries can also be addressed to us at this email address.

Conference Announcement: Reconsidering Donne


Lincoln College, Oxford

Reconsidering-Donne-poster-mediumAn international conference to consider past, present, and future critical trends in Donne Studies. Plenary Speakers: Achsah Guibbory (Barnard College, Columbia University), David Marno (University of California, Berkeley).

Proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of Donne are warmly invited. We are particularly interested in papers that reflect upon their own methodologies, or engage critically with the roles that have been, or should be, played by theory, religious history, rhetoric, form, genre, scholarly editions, biography, and book history. Please send proposals to peter.mccullough@lincoln.ox.ac.uk by 1 October 2014, and write to the same address for registration details.

There will be bursaries available for registered students.

For further news and announcements, see here.

Numbers Issue 6 Deadline Extended!

Trigonometrie 1612 FrontispieceOur deadline for submissions for Issue 6, Numbers in Early Modern Writing, has been extended to the 20 January 2013. We have had really interesting submissions from scholars in Europe and North America, but also inquiries about later submissions, and would hope that scholars take the opportunity to submit any potential article concerning Numbers in Renaissance and Early Modern culture.

Articles are invited on, but not confined to, the following subject areas:

  • Ways of counting and things to count: inventories and accounts; time and tempo; feet and metre.
  • Numbers in print: reference tables, logarithms, cross-referencing, indices.
  • Books on arithmetic, double-entry book-keeping and merchants’ handbooks.
  • Ciphering and deciphering.
  • The use of zero and other mathematical symbols in literature and drama.
  • Dance, music and other numerical art forms.
  • Making a reckoning: performing numbers on stage.
  • Numbers in the material text: ways of using numerical books, and their owners.
  • Mystical numbers, kaballah, numerology.
  • Mathematical methodologies; measuring, mapping and quantifying.

This issue will be guest-edited by Dr Katherine Hunt and Rebecca Tomlin, organisers of a conference on the topic held at Birkbeck, University of London, in May 2013, from which some of the papers are expected to be taken. Potential contributors are advised to consult the notes on submissions procedure and style guidelines

Initial enquiries regarding possible contributions can be sent to northernrenaissance+numbers@gmail.com

Short-Term Vacancy: English Literature lectureship

The Department of English Language and Literature at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, invites applications for a one-semester position at the level of Lecturer or Assistant Professor in English Literature. Initially the appointment will run from February 1st to June 10th 2014, and the succesful candidate will be expected to teach three or four undergraduate courses, possibly including Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Criticism (second year), Shakespeare, and/or Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Literature (third year). There is a possibility that the contract may be extended by mutual agreement.

Minimum Requirements: PhD in English Literature, a good teaching and publication record, and a clearly defined research agenda.

The English Language and Literature Department currently consists of six full-time faculty members, teaching an undergraduate programme that covers British, Irish and postcolonial literature, and ranges from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day. We have particular research and teaching strengths in Victorian Literature, postcolonial literature and theory and the Renaissance.

Bilkent University was founded in 1984 with the fundamental aim of creating a center of excellence in higher education and research. The university is ranked 28th in the 2013 inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings and 39th in the THE 100 under 50 league table of the world’s best universities. It has also been named among the World’s Top 100 Universities in the THE Rankings for Engineering and Technology for 2013-14.

Bilkent will offer on-campus accommodation to the successful candidate.

Informal inquiries are welcome and should be addressed to Dr. Valerie Kennedy (kennedy@bilkent.edu.tr) or Dr. Patrick Hart (patrick.hart@bilkent.edu.tr).

Applications should be made by e-mail to Prof. Talat Halman (turkedeb@bilkent.edu.tr); they should include a covering letter, a CV, and a short statement of the applicant’s teaching philosophy, and should arrive by December 20th, 2013.

Contact: Prof. Talat Halman, Dean
Faculty of Humanities and Letters
Bilkent University 06800, Ankara TURKEY
Phone: +90-312-290-1457, Fax: +90-312-266-4934
E-mail: turkedeb@bilkent.edu.tr

Celebrating Professor Charles McKean: A New Platform for Scottish Renaissance Studies

CGDThe ambitiously entitled “A New Platform for Scottish Renaissance Studies” conference was recently held in Perth on October 26th and 27th 2013. The conference, organised by the University of Dundee and sponsored by a number of renowned cultural institutions, including Historic Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, presented some of the most recent academic research in the field of Scottish Renaissance Studies from senior academics, independent researchers and junior scholars. Instigated by the late Charles McKean, a distinguished Professor in Architectural History at the University of Dundee, the focus reflected his research interests, concentrating on the early modern built environment. Following his recent death, his students decided to recast the conference as a celebration of his contribution to the field and, indeed, it was a great tribute to the man who had inspired their own individual research interests. Professor McKean had insisted on reading and selecting every research paper so his academic concerns and influence continued to pervade the proceedings.

The papers presented adopted a variety of approaches, relying on documentary and visual evidence, such as inventories or architectural source books and paintings or drawn reconstructions of historic buildings. Architecture was not solely considered from a stylistic perspective and exploration of the history of interiors (furnishings and plasterwork, in particular) further enhanced understanding of the diversity of influences at work during this transitional period. Indeed, the notion of a “Scottish Renaissance Architecture” was also subject to discussion and question. With buildings taking the form of both tower houses and classical country piles, it was acknowledged that an overall style was somewhat difficult to pinpoint. Several contributions to the conference assessed the importance of patrons (including the Stuart monarchs and wealthy aristocrats, like the Strathmores or the Lauderdales) to the way buildings were conceived, designed, executed and used. The baronial style or the revival of the Château form, for which Charles McKean had a special interest, as testified by his book, The Scottish Chateau, published in 2001, as well as his watercolour reconstructions, should not be considered as solely exemplifying the architecture of the Scottish Renaissance. Similarly, the term of “architect” proved misleading, since frequently the designers of buildings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, according to the definition of an architect supplied by Vitruvius in the first century BC, were actually wrights or master masons.

CGD2This re-evaluation of concepts and notions continued with an appraisal of the very nature of the Scottish Renaissance. Viewed from the perspective of emergent ideas and models derived from Antiquity, these characteristics were difficult to reconcile with the Scottish context. Instead, the notion of a continuum with the medieval period was proposed as more pertinent to Scotland’s architecture. The influence of the Continent and, in particular, of Italy, France and the Low Countries was discussed – the Scots had well-established trade links and access to the most up-to-date printed sources. Although Italy and France provided the obvious background for the Scottish Renaissance, the Low Countries were within easy reach by sea and also offered contact with new building materials and source-books. Scotland’s tower houses, it was reasoned, were not a specifically Scottish invention but definitely set the nation within the context of the Northern European Renaissance since their dominant features of verticality and solidity were also present in continental castles like Vincennes.

The quest for authenticity, evoked in the various conservation and restoration projects carried out by Historic Scotland, showed how eager institutions were to render Scottish history accessible to the wider public and, as part of the conference programme, two field trips were organised, to Megginch Castle and to Huntingtower Castle. Although the conference attendees were easily guided through the history of Megginch, which has remained in the hands of the Drummond family since the 1660s, it was somewhat more difficult to account for the development of Huntingtower, an ancient building composed of two juxtaposed towers subsequently joined by an additional range.

The conference made an important contribution to our developing understanding of Scottish renaissance buildings, interiors and architects, drawing together scholars from a range of backgrounds – academia, architectural practice and conservation – and providing a platform for some stimulating debate. It is to be hoped that Professor McKean’s legacy will continue beyond this event, inspiring further interdisciplinary enquiry into the nature of the Scottish Renaissance.

Clarisse Godard Desmarest, Université de Picardie Jules Verne

Celebrate Open Access Week with the Journal of the Northern Renaissance

This week (21 to 27 October 2013) is the 6th International Open Access Week, which celebrates the possibilities of free access to original peer-reviewed research in academia today. The Journal of the Northern Renaissance is very proud of its Open Access policies, and we believe that even a relatively modest academic outlet such as ours can illustrate the potential of OA publication. We would like to think that JNR is a good example of how the traditional academic journal format can succeed without the need to charge weighty subscription fees. Not only is what we publish free to read, but we also do not charge author fees, and all the articles we publish are peer reviewed. This ensures that you are reading some of the most dynamic, careful and independent research undertaken in all areas of the Renaissance in Northern Europe, freely published for all.

You can read an excellent discussion of the benefits of Open Access in an article published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper this week, ‘Open access: six myths to put to rest‘, by Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication.  We especially direct you to point five:

As early as 2004, Thomson Scientific found that in every field of the sciences “there was at least one open access title that ranked at or near the top of its field” in citation impact. Of course the number of high-quality and high-impact open access journals has only grown since then. It’s not surprising that open access journals can be first-rate: the quality of a scholarly journal is a function of its authors, editors, and referees, not its business model or access policy.

We could not agree more, so this is a very good time to thank our readers, authors, and, especially, our peer reviewers, who give so generously of their time and expertise and remain anonymous and unrenumerated. They all help us make JNR into a journal that we are proud to publish. Our next Issue 5 will be published in early November, bringing yet more excellent research to you.

More so, being online and unbound by the limits and expenses of paper publication, JNR is able to publish content at all points: see, for instance our rolling publication of book and exhibition reviews.  In the future, we plan on expanding the possibilities allowed by the internet (watch this space…), but at the moment do follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Why don’t you celebrate Open Access this week by rereading the content on the Journal, following our social media, and spreading the word about the great potential of this model of publication. If you wish to get in touch and discuss Open Access publishing, please write a comment below or email us here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sebastiaan, Patrick, Elizabeth, Catriona and Alex.

Conference Announcement: A New Platform for Scottish Renaissance Studies

A conference in honour of Professor Charles McKean‌

Sat 26th – Sun 27th Oct 2013
Perth Concert Hall Complex & the Royal George Hotel, Perth

This conference is by way of a celebration of the contribution of Professor Charles McKean to the field of Scottish Renaissance Studies, on the occasion of his retirement from the University of Dundee.

The purpose of the conference is to set a new platform for research by bringing together the last decade of Scottish Renaissance research into a coherent whole. In addition to the five  papers sessions there will be two site visits, one to the privately owned Megginch Castle on the Carse of Gowrie and the other to Huntingtower to the west of Perth, ancient paternal seat of the earls of Gowrie which Historic Scotland has recently reinterpreted.

There will also be a champagne reception and celebratory dinner on the Saturday night which it is hoped all delegates will attend.


Society for Court Studies Conference Announcement and Call for Papers


The Society for Court Studies is pleased to announce a two-day conference on the theme of royal ‘heirs and spares’ in early modern Europe, to be held in Oxford on 19-20 September 2013. The focus of the conference will be on heirs to the throne or those who might have been considered ‘extras’, security in case of the death of the heir. Too often the focus of historical research has been on those in the primary seat of power and authority, and rarely on those hovering in the wings, waiting for their big entrance. In many cases, this cue never came, and these heirs have been virtually written out of history, certainly in the public consciousness. Sometimes these heirs and their siblings were in the process of being prepared for rule, but in others their training was oddly ignored. Some spent much of their time chaffing at the restraints on their power—in court intrigues, or even open rebellion—while others focused their energies elsewhere, in patronage of the arts, building projects, or religious devotion. As historiographical emphasis of courts and court cultures shifts away from solely monolithic monarch-centred models towards a multi-polar system, this conference aims to focus not on the sun but its satellites.

We invite proposals for papers of twenty minutes in length on a broad spectrum of topics relating to royal heirs and second sons (or indeed daughters) in the early modern period. The focus of the conference will primarily be on the 16th to 18th centuries in France and Britain, but we are open to proposals that stretch these parameters, chronologically or geographically. We are also keen to stress interdisciplinarity, so suggest papers focusing on aspects of the heirs’ and spares’ literary, artistic, and musical representation and its public reception. Themes to consider include the education of heirs or of younger royal children; their households and finances; their position in court politics; the manner in which they were perceived by the wider public (their ‘image’); their role as patrons of the arts or military leaders; their place in royal ceremonial (baptisms, weddings, funerals), or in royal dynasticism, as marriage partners in international diplomacy, and so on. Royal families in their widest sense will also be considered, thus inclusive of illegitimate offspring.

The event will be held at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, with keynote speakers tentatively including Glenn Richardson (on Henri II of France as the ‘spare’ of Francis I), and Anne Somerset (on Princess Anne of York, the future Queen Anne), among others.

Please submit paper proposals (300 words), for papers (to be given in English), by June 1st to Dr Jonathan Spangler and Dr Catriona Murray at heirsandspares@hotmail.com. Further details will be posted on the Society for Court Studies Website http://www.courtstudies.org/.

Conference Announcement and Call for Papers


Sponsored by the AHRC in its support of The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, this is a conference which will reassess the ‘place’ of preaching in Early Modern Europe in all its aspects.

Plenary Lecture: Brian Cummings (York)

Confirmed Speakers: Hugh Adlington (Birmingham); David Colclough (Queen Mary); Joshua Eckhardt (Virginia Commonwealth); Katrin Ettenhuber (Cambridge); Lori Anne Ferrell (Claremont); Kenneth Fincham (Kent); Erica Longfellow (Oxford); Mary Ann Lund (Leicester); Peter McCullough (Oxford); Charlotte Methuen (Glasgow); Mary Morrissey (Reading); Jean-Louis Quantin (Sorbonne); Emma Rhatigan (Sheffield); Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes); Sebastiaan Verweij (Oxford); Philip West (Oxford)

All further conference details – including graduate bursaries to attend the conference – and information on booking will be posted on this site later: http://www.cems-oxford.org/donne

Call for Papers
The organisers welcome proposals (250-500 word abstracts) for further papers on any of the following aspects of sermon culture in Early Modern Europe: Roman Catholic preaching; architectural settings and auditories of preaching; sermons in manuscript and print; performance and delivery; sermon hearing, note taking, and commonplacing; production and reception of patristic and other theological works; rhetoric; and more.

Please send your proposals to Professor Peter McCullough and Dr Sebastiaan Verweij: peter.mccullough@lincoln.ox.ac.uk / sebastiaan.verweij@ell.ox.ac.uk


An Art Historian Walks into a Journal . . .

Copyright The Captain Christie Crawfurd English Civil War Collection / Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationIt was with a sense of nervous anticipation that I accepted an invitation to join the editorial team at JNR.

Having carried out some research into the role of the Reviews Editor my nerves were not exactly calmed. One article on the subject, from the Library Quarterly, advised that “occupying the position of book review editor makes one vulnerable to all sorts of attacks.” Reading on, I learned of the threat of the disgruntled author, who feels their work has been unfairly assessed or, even worse, ignored altogether; and of the hazards of the temperamental reviewer who takes umbrage at harsh editing. Was I ready for such a position? Could I cope with the demands of maintaining this careful balance between prima donna authors and volatile reviewers? Well, the answer was yes. And, as yet, I have still to encounter the wrath of either – although I do have a copy of Marla Johnson’s A Book Review Editor’s Apologia at hand, should the need arise.

My arrival at JNR also augurs the development and extension of the Journal’s art historical focus, starting shortly with a series of exhibition reviews. Since both the words and images of the Northern Renaissance were shaped by the shifting political, social, religious and intellectual conditions of early modern Europe, it is hoped that this additional emphasis will encourage cross-disciplinary connections and promote a reassessment of just what that monolithic term, “renaissance culture”, actually involved. If you have any ideas for book, film, performance or exhibition reviews, would like to volunteer your services as a reviewer or simply want to get in touch, please do submit a comment below or e-mail me.

Catriona Murray (Associate Editor, Reviews).

Welcome to brand new JNR

Welcome to the new website of JNR. We hope you like it here.

Since the inception of our journal in 2009 we have kindly been hosted by the University of Stirling, but it was time for us to move on, and to refresh our presence on the internet. What you see now is a completely new website which is powered 100% from renewable energy, at Hostpapa.

We are very pleased with our new website, not least because it was lovingly crafted by ourselves. That is, coded and designed by a group of academics with little prior knowledge of building a WordPress theme from scratch. For those of you that might be contemplating your own Open Access e-journal, we would gladly speak to you about the joys and dismal depths of taking matters of web design and hosting entirely into your own hands.

Whether you are a reader, a JNR author or a book reviewer, or are perhaps only casually passing by, please let us know what you think of the new website by dropping us a comment below or emailing us here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sebastiaan, Patrick, Elizabeth, and Catriona.