Lecturer to discuss 'Renaissance Animal Things'
Erica Fudge of the University of Strathclyde in Scotland will present a special lecture, "Renaissance Animal Things," on Monday, Nov. 5 from 4-5 p.m. in the Reading Room of the Renaissance Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Using ideas from animal studies theory, Fudge considers whether animal things - particularly leather and civet - can ever have agency: that is, whether they are simply inert objects or potentially powerful moving forces in culture. The paper will trace the ways in which these things made and unmade meaning in English Renaissance culture using current ideas from sensory studies, Renaissance theology and natural history. "Renaissance Animal Things" moves from dog-skin gloves to animal-based perfumes and ends up with King Lear, a play in which furred gowns hide all and men are forced to smell their way to Dover, encountering Bruno Latour, Jacob and Esau, and deer along the way.
Fudge is professor of English studies at the University of Strathclyde. Her work in animal studies is in three key areas: Renaissance studies, human-animal interactions in contemporary culture and the impact of animals on historiography. She has written on a range of aspects of early modern culture including the place and meaning of laughter; urination and self-control; bestiality; bear baiting; meat eating; faces, and is currently spending much of her time worrying about early 17th-century cows. As well as this, she will soon be embarking on a small collaborative project with a zooarchaeologist to consider whether it is possible to retrieve an understanding of the health care domestic working animals received in the early modern period. Fudge is also the director of the British Animal Studies Network.
Light refreshments to follow the talk.
The Renaissance Center is located at 650 East Pleasant St. in Amherst and can be reached at 577-3600.