The Opportune Moment and the Early Modern Theatre of Politics

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Date / time: 12 November, 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Birkbeck, University of London

The Opportune Moment and the Early Modern Theatre of Politics

An initiative of the Grasping Kairos Research Network
hosted by the London Renaissance Seminar

Keynote: Professor Neil Rhodes, University of St Andrews

This seminar will be the first meeting of Grasping Kairos, an international research network which investigates the history of the opportune moment (kairos/ occasio) in literature, theory, art, religion and philosophy. This seminar will focus on the uses, and the idea, of the opportune moment in the political theatre / theatrical politics of the European Renaissance.

Although in many ways lost to contemporary conceptualisations of temporality, kairos/occasio was an essential part of the Renaissance world-view. Writers from Machiavelli to Shakespeare reiterated the importance of recognising and properly seizing kairos or ‘occasion’ in order to achieve desired ends – whether personal or political. The need to be attentive to this moment could justify normally immoral actions, and so kairos was associated with moral flexibility, deviousness and cunning, both in the political and theatrical worlds.

Papers will address:
• How does kairos/occasio shape political and performative spheres in the period?
• How do discourses of kairos/occasio outside politics or theatre impact its representation in those respective worlds?
• What is the relationship between the idea of kairos/occasio in political and in theatrical discourses?
• What performative strategies employ concepts of kairos/occasio in the early modern period?
• How is kairos/occasio visualised on the early modern stage?
• In what ways is the concept of the opportune moment used to confirm or destabilise identity?
• How does the idea or representation of kairos/occasio change across this time period?

For more information, please visit the Grasping Kairos website