In recent years, the new importance attributed to the biographies of objects and their global circulation has drawn increasing attention to the phenomenon of their physical transportation – in other words, to the complex set and modes of actions required to move an object from the point of creation to its final destination.
Inspired by this growing body of scholarship, this workshop aims to develop new tools to perceive, measure or interpret the movement of things, by looking specifically at the way physical transportation has been described, inspected, and dissected in the early modern sources.
The materials under scrutiny here may take different forms, from diaries, letters, and other prosopographical accounts recording movement in its making; to archival materials that track unusual patterns of transportation; to letters, treatises, and even guides or handbooks reporting ex post facto descriptions of mobility.
This workshop intends to probe this vast collection of sources in order to tease out how mobility was described and conceptualized, surveyed, and explored in the long early modern period (approximately from 1350 to 1800), before the rise of modern logistics.
In short, it is interested in the narrative potential of mobility: in how describing movement “makes a good story.”
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
a). Episodes of transportation recorded in archival materials, with special regard to the logistical demands and expenses encountered by artists in moving objects from the artistic workshop to the final destination;
b). Diaries and letters of artists and patrons describing physical transportation of objects;
c). Written sources that emphasize the miraculous, divine components of transportation;
d). 18th century popularization of movement in the so-called “circulation narrative” or “IT narratives”, which tells the story of inanimated objects exchange and moved from place to place;
e). Treatises and technical accounts describing the logistical operations of transportation.
Time and place
The workshop will take place on May 31st and June 1st 2023 at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, Viale XXX Aprile 33, 00153 Rome.
ECRs are especially invited to present their research for discussion. Please submit an abstract of max 300 words along with your CV to email@example.com.
Deadline for submission is November 1st 2022.
Travel expenses and participation will be covered.