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Med/Ren Art Forum, University of Melbourne, Monday 9 September

The next meeting of the Med/Ren Art Forum will be on Monday 9 September at the University of Melbourne. The chapter "Birth and death: from swaddling to shroud", from Paul Hills' "Veiled Presence: Body and Drapery from Giotto to Titian" (2018), is attached below. As always, the reading group is quite informal and all are welcome to join. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, or if you have any other queries, please contact Adam Bushby: adambushby@hotmail.com or Professor Anne Dunlop: anne.dunlop@unimelb.edu.au.

Date: Monday 9 September
Time: 6pm
Venue: Room 202, John Medley Building (Building 191), University of Melbourne



Dr Knox Peden

Monday 21 October, 6:15pm

Montesquieu’s Passion


Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws (1748) has long been recognized as a classic in the history of political thought for its case for a separation of powers, its approbative analysis of politics in England, and its influence on the founders of the American republic. Yet in the years following the Second World War scholars turned to the French nobleman with an approach that tethered his political ideas to the advent of capitalism. Representing different political tendencies, thinkers such as Louis Althusser, Albert Hirschman, and J.G.A. Pocock – a philosopher, an economist, and a historian – delivered interpretations of Montesquieu’s work that clustered around a range of related concepts: interests, principles, manners and morals, and, perhaps most crucially, passions. Their interpretations do not align, even as they connect in certain points. Notoriously discrepant in structure and content, The Spirit of the Laws has sustained divergent readings, among which the convergences are no less significant. My aim in this paper is two-fold; first, to assess these modern readings, using the treatment of ‘passion’ in Montesquieu’s thought as a thread; and second, to consider what work is done by staging Montesquieu as a thinker of epochal transition in a moment when the historical mutability of social arrangements had become a subject of heated political and academic debate. In effect, Montesquieu gives us an opportunity to think more generally about the uses of the early modern.


Dr Knox Peden is Senior Lecturer in the History of Philosophy (Gerry Higgins Lectureship) at the University of Melbourne. From 2020, he will be Senior Lecturer in Continental Philosophy at Flinders University. He is the author of Spinoza Contra Phenomenology: French Rationalism from Cavaillès to Deleuze (Stanford, 2014), as well as many articles on modern French thought, intellectual history, and historical theory. Oxford will publish his French Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, co-authored with Stephen Gaukroger, in 2020.

Monday 21 October, 6:15pm

McMahon Ball Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building

University of Melbourne




Marginalia and the Early Modern Woman Writer, 1530-1660.

PhD Scholarship

The research undertaken is part of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and will provide an ambitious new literary history of how early modern women read and wrote in the margins of their books, uncovering new texts, practices, writers and readers across 150 years. It aims to change the ways in which we understand reading and writing practice in the English Renaissance.

The PhD candidate will be trained in archival fieldwork, project management, writing, publication, seminar and conference organisation and other dissemination activities.

This project aims to provide the first literary history of early modern women's marginalia, uncovering a significant new field of textual practice for women in the English Renaissance. It will be the first examination of the scope, content and purpose of early modern women's marginalia, both written by women and annotating their texts, in order to make new discoveries about reading and writing in the period. The project's findings will shift our understanding about the practice of early modern marginal annotation, with implications for scholarship of the history of the book, early modern literary history and studies of women's writing. Its outcomes will be disseminated in print and open-access digital forms to enable further scholarship.




Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection

Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne

July 31st-December 8th 2019

Horizon lines: The ambitions of a print collection focuses on Northern and Italian Renaissance printmakers, such as Albrecht Dürer, and Dutch Republic prints, including Rembrandt, as well as the etching revival. The selected woodcuts, engravings and etchings present a variety of perspectives on the ambitions of the artists who created them, as well as their collectors and scholars.

The exhibition is staged as one of several activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Harold Wright and Sarah and William Holmes scholarships. The awards enable print scholars from Australia or New Zealand to examine prints at the British Museum. Taking its cue from the approaches of Harold Wright and the scholarships, the exhibition encourages considered looking, for the acquisition of knowledge and sheer enjoyment of prints.