Singular Acts: The Role of the Individual in the Transformation of Collective Culture

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Date / time: 16 November, All day

The Warburg Institute

Singular Acts: The Role of the Individual in the Transformation of Collective Culture

The Warburg Institute will host its second Postgraduate Symposium on 16 November 2017. This year’s Symposium focuses on particular personalities who acted for or against historical and cultural change. The Early Modern period saw seismic shifts across all aspects of society, ranging from technological developments to new artistic techniques; to innovations in philosophical thought and religious doctrine and scientific discoveries; to social and political movements. This interdisciplinary conference will appraise the extent to which such transformations were triggered or repressed by the acts of individuals such as innovators, pioneers, reformers and censors.

Questions pertaining to specific individuals might include: What was the relationship of the individual to their societal context, and how did this affect their actions? What was the short and long term reception of their activities? Did their contribution come from a position of authority, or subvert it? More critical lines of enquiry might encompass: What factors determine a positive or negative perception of innovation? What are the methodological and historiographical implications of focusing on the individual in history? Did the notion of ‘individuality’ change in the period and does this differ to how it is perceived in the present day?

The Symposium will bring together speakers from different backgrounds in the humanities and draw on a variety of disciplinary tools and methodologies. We hope to engage with a wide range of topics represented by the global cultural interests of the Warburg Institute, within the chronological frame of the Late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. The Symposium will be multidisciplinary and will cover topics that fall into the unique classification system of the Warburg Library: Image, Word, Orientation and Action.

Attendance is free of charge.