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Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum IV — Angela Zhang & Rebecca Legrand

January 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum (EMIGF) is a monthly event hosted by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) at the University of Toronto. EMIGF is a platform for PhD candidates, post-docs, fellows, and recent graduates to deliver papers in an informal setting. Our mandate is to provide junior and emerging scholars with the opportunity to present work in progress, and to facilitate dialogue on current topics in early modern research across the disciplines. EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond. Our fourth meeting for 2019-2020 will be held on Thursday, January 16th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Victoria University Common Room, Burwash Hall (89 Charles Street West, rear entrance).


Angela Zhang York University
“She Keeps the House: Slave Labour in Quattrocento Florence”

The legalization of the importation of slaves in 1362 in Florence created a specific class of foreigners that laboured in the domestic market. Slavery in Florence, mostly female, occurred in the intersections of the domestic and public world. My paper will explore how Florentines understood foreign bodies in the households and within larger communal institutions. Slaves were rented out commonly as wet-nurses and domestic labourers for the profit of their owners, something that places them both inside and outside their immediate household. I will analyze how Florentines used to mark otherness regarding their slaves, especially the gendered language of foreign sexuality and attraction. I will also discuss how Florentines also tried to assimilate these foreign bodies through processes of Christianization and domestication. Through my paper and wider project, I hope to shed light on how the racialization process of slaves in Florence was linked to the ideas of assimilation.

Rebecca Legrand Department of French, University of Toronto, in a Joint Educational Placement Agreement with the Département de Lettres Modernes of the University of Lille (France)
“Sensory Perceptions in Travel Literature in the Renaissance”

In the XVIth century, the discovery of the New World was accompanied by an increasing richness in linguistic expression and a better knowledge of the human body. In this communication, I will study some of the uses and functions of the five senses in French travel narratives in New France (Brazil, Florida, Canada). More specifically, I will focus on the narratives of Jacques Cartier, Andre Thevet, Jean de Lery, Rene de Laudonniere, Nicolas LeChalleux, and Marc Lescarbot (from 1545 to 1617). I will examine the lexicon of perception, comparing dictionaries and determining basic or metaphoric uses of the vocabulary in order to have a better understanding of those texts. Why the authors choose one term instead of another? What factors may have influenced them? Can we see a lexical evolution between the beginning and the end of the century?


January 16, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Victoria University Common Room (Rear Entrance Burwash Hall)
89 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S1K7 Canada
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