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Friday Workshop: Sarah Beam

October 14, 2016 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm



We generally associate the historical periods of the Reformation(s) and the Renaissance with the spread of Christian spiritual interiority and the celebration of human achievement in the arts and in government. These centuries also mark the rise of judicial torture as a regular practice in European criminal trials. Torture flourished in the fertile ground created by the return of Roman law, temporal political centralization, and religious strife during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This paper focuses on the intriguing example of the republic of Geneva where torture peaked during the decades when French humanist refugees flooded the city and John Calvin initiated his Protestant reform movement.


Sara Beam is a historian of early modern Francophone Europe and an associate professor at the University of Victoria. Her book, Laughing Matters: Farce and the Making of Absolutism in France (Cornell, 2007), examines the intersection of censorship and farcical satire during the French Wars of Religion and its aftermath. Her current project investigates the rise and fall of judicial torture in Western Europe. She is currently a fellow at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria College working on a manuscript entitled “The Violence of Godly Justice: Torture in the Republic of Geneva, 1550-1750”.


October 14, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Northrop Frye, Room 205
73 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7 Canada
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