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Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum V — Shaun Midanik & Hana Suckstorff

February 27, 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 fifth meeting for 2019-2020 will be held on Thursday, February 27th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Regent’s Room, Goldring Student Centre 206 (150 Charles Street West). Please note that this venue is different than our previous meetings this year.


Shaun Midanik Department of Art History, University of Toronto
“Virtual Pilgrimage: Simulating Sacred Space in Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia

Based on the pilgrimage site of La Verna where St. Francis supposedly received the stigmata, the illustrated book the Descrizione del Sacro monte della Vernia (1612) contains pictures of the sanctuary amid bizarre rock formations, vegetation and other natural phenomena. The author, Lino Moroni, encourages readers to look at the book “with engraved prints in copper first, and then with [the] inscription of words”. Moroni understands his work as a visual object, a substitute for viewing the site in person. This paper asks: how was the experience of seeing La Verna simulated in print? My approach is threefold. First, I examine the book’s introductory texts for how they present this pictorial simulacrum. The introductory material changed dramatically across print runs, with diverse meanings suggested in each of the three editions. Second, I analyze differences across numerous iterations of the Descrizione, such as the inclusion in the second edition of depictions of Christ and Francis on Plate S. These variations are evidence of diverse understandings of the virtual pilgrimage. Third, this paper looks at how the Descrizione emerges out of other media, examining how Moroni moved from medieval textual descriptions of pilgrimage sites and towards a new pictorially driven book.

Hana Suckstorff Department of History, University of Toronto
“Memory, Place, and Renegade Religious Identity in EM Naples”

In the 16th and 17th centuries, hundreds of renegades, Catholic converts to Islam, appeared before the Neapolitan inquisition for formal reconciliation. In adjudicating these cases, inquisitors sought to establish the renegade’s original Catholic identity by fixing the renegade to a Catholic homeland. This paper, based on a study of 100 cases from 1552-1642 from Naples’ diocesan archive, argues that this conflation of place and identity broke down around the turn of the century. Inquisitors were increasingly skeptical that a renegade’s place of origin made for a Catholic upbringing, and probed their memories of churches, masses, monks, and priestly vestments in their homelands for sensory clues about their childhood religious formation. This paper argues that the religious plurality of some renegade homelands (eg., the Balkans) and the exiling of Moriscos from Spain challenged earlier assumptions about place and identity, and demanded further sensory and spatial evidence to confirm Catholic identity.


February 27, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies


Goldring Student Centre – Victoria College – Regent’s Room (GSC206)
150 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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