External News and Events

Call for papers - Renaissance Skin 1st Annual Conference – ‘The Porous Skin in Early Modern Europe’

Posted on Friday, 17th March 2017

This interdisciplinary conference aims to consider the porousness of the early modern body as physiologically, emotionally, and socially constituted, depicted in art, debated in print and played out in a dizzying array of social practices.

Historical focus on skin has often been highly anthropocentric; but bodies were not just human; nor were the porous properties of skin defined by medicine alone. As flesh it was eaten, as fur it was worn, as leather it was worked. We invite papers which consider the relationship of human, animal and matter and investigate the variety of ways porousness was understood. In considering the broad dimensions of porous bodies, and the many reasons these ideas changed, this conference investigates boundaries between nature and culture, animal and artifice, human and other.

We invite proposals for panels or 20-minute papers addressing all aspects of the porous body, including but not limited to: skin as a surface – porousness, hair, nails, leather, shells, fur, complexion; skin as a net – excretion, accretion, incretion; treating skin – bleeding, lancing, leeching, cosmetics, skin diseases; using skin – leather, fur, dress, craft; thinking skin – metaphors and analogies, gender, beauty, subjectivity, senses and sensation, complexion, purity, cultural contact, and sociability; living with skin – skin diseases, skin variation, animal skin, human skin.

Selected participants may be invited to submit essays to a conference volume planned for 2018.

Confirmed keynotes speakers: Thomas W. Laqueur and Anita Guerrini.

Conference dates: 30 November – 1 December 2017

Conference location: King’s College London

Contact details for further information:
Hannah Murphy and Evelyn Welch at

Deadline for applications: 30 May 2017