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Spaces of Making and Thinking (RSA Panel) Call for Papers

March 14, 2017 at 12:00 am

Call for Papers: Spaces of Making and Thinking Due Today!

(link to PDF: RSACFP)

In the early modern period, conventional spaces enabled and limited a wide range of enterprises that required processes of thinking and making, including religious reflection, political theorizing, military engineering, medicinal intervention, scientific inquiry, literary composition, musical performance, artisanal production, business practices, and household management. Scholars have recently been revisiting these activities to consider the overlap between the processes of making and thinking in contradistinction to a prevailing historiographical emphasis on their strict separation. The series of panels proposed here seeks to build on such work by asking how early modern conceptions of space and place could allow for the interconnectedness of head and hand, or mind and body, in productions of all kinds. What activities did early modern spaces afford? How did spatial structure, atmosphere and environment, decoration, or location shape occupants and their practices in the studiolo, the forge, the workshop, the academy, the kitchen, the cloister, the council chamber, the home, the field, the ship, etc.? Could conventional spaces be redefined and adapted to accommodate changing activities, or were new kinds of spaces necessary?

With the sponsorship of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, we welcome proposals for papers to be presented as part of a series of panels on the theme of “Spaces of Making and Thinking” at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting in 2018 (New Orleans).  We propose that notions of space, making, and thinking be understood in broad terms, in order to invite wider interdisciplinary participation, although we also ask participants to consider and to explain the parameters they themselves set for these terms. Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The impact of religious, political, and social change on spaces of making and thinking
  • Artisanal workshops as places of knowledge production
  • Spaces of embodied cognition
  • The overlapping spaces of the liberal and mechanical arts
  • The scope and role of making in the university
  • Gendered spaces of making and thinking
  • Nature and the outdoors as spaces for epistemic activities
  • Making and thinking in the urban context
  • Thought occupying space in instruments of contemplation and imagination
  • The concealment or display of work and labour in privileged spaces of study
  • The body or mind as metaphor for spaces and buildings
  • How spaces of thinking and making transform over hours, days, months, years
  • Liminality and movement between spaces of thinking and spaces of making
  • Spaces of dilettante practitioners compared to those of professionals
  • The language of manual and mental working spaces
  • Collaboration and the expansion of spaces
  • Mobile spaces of material and immaterial production
  • Space and the health of practitioners
  • Light and darkness in the space of production

Please send paper proposals to Colin Murray ( and Tianna Uchacz (thu2102@columbia.edubefore 1 May 2017. All proposals must include a paper title (15 words max), an abstract (150 words max, see guidelines here), keywords, a brief cv (300 words max, NOT in prose form, see guidelines here), and any a/v needs. Please include your first, middle, and last name as well as your affiliation in your email.


March 14, 2017
12:00 am