A one-day international conference, Words of Violence in Early Modern Italy, will be held at Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, on 11 December 2015, 9.00am-6.00pm. It will focus on written injurious words: humanist invectives, religious and political smear, slanderous libels and pasquinades. Social historians have engaged with the meanings and practices of verbal slur, gossip, and physically violent acts such as homicide, suicide, and punch-ups. This conference explores instead the conventions of written texts and how hurling textual insults was an effective (and affective) way to establish identity and gain consensus across diverse social echelons. The conference will qualify the type of violence unleashed by these slanderous texts and examine the connection between page and social context, as suggested by Judith Butler. In order to comprehend which words wound, one needs to understand the ritualization of linguistic injury and a sphere of practice that goes beyond the moment of utterance or the written page.
Welcome Remarks: Stefano U. Baldassarri (ISI Florence), Andrea Rizzi (CHE/The University of Melbourne), and Nick Eckstein (CHE/The University of Sydney)
John Gagne (CHE/The University of Sydney): Policing Words in the French States: Between Paris and Milan, 1494-1534
Eva Del Soldato (University of Pennsylvania): How to Destroy an Enemy: Bessarion against George of Trebizond
10.45-11.15 Coffee break
Catherine Kovesi (CHE/The University of Melbourne): Honeyed Poison and Blaspheming Feet: Blaming Women for Transgressive Dress in the Renaissance
Giovanni Tarantino (CHE/The University of Melbourne): Of ‘Concinism’ and violent language in eighteenth-century Italy: From the ‘teologia mamillare’ controversy to the exposure of the ‘sciocchissime chimere’ of Deists
12.45-2.15 Lunch break
Elizabeth Horodowich (New Mexico State University) and Andrea Rizzi (CHE/The University of Melbourne): Unmasking the Gondolier: Sex, Violence, and Freedom
Nick Eckstein (CHE/The University of Sydney): Violent Rage in Italy: Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern and Now
4.15-4.45pm Coffee break
Peter Howard (Monash University): Words of Violence and Renaissance Preaching
5.30-6.00pm Roundtable and Concluding Remarks
The conference is generously supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800 (CHE) and the International Studies Institute (ISI Florence).