Det är roligt att vara en del av det uppsving för forskning om renässansen som just nu råder i Sverige. Riksbankens Jubileumsfond satsar på projekt om tidigmodern tid, liksom Vitterhetsakademien och andra. Nätverket för renässansstudier växer och de nordiska konferenserna avlöser varandra. Kanske beror intresset för humanismens guldålder på att samhällsutvecklingen på 1500-talet påminner så mycket om vår egen: En explosion när det gäller informationsspridning (tryckerikonst då, sociala media nu), religionskrig, en bräcklig europeisk identitet, stora ekonomiska omvälvningar.
Såhär beskrevs den konferens vi själva precis arrangerade på Stockholms universitet ihop med Vitterhetsakademien, som grundades av en kvinna (Lovisa Ulrika 1753) och som leds av en kvinna (Preses Dr Gunnel Engwall):
Stockholm University and The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities just carried out a multidisciplinary Symposium in Stockholm, Sweden (June 7-9, 2012). The Symposium’s theme was Allusions and Reflections: Greek and Roman Mythology in Renaissance Europe. Gathering scholars from a variety of disciplines – from political, religious and art history to literature and architecture – the Symposium focused on the early modern period (ca 1450-1650) in Europe. Our intention was to enable and promote the exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge across disciplinary and national borders.
The research carried out internationally in various subject areas (language and literature, history, architecture, art history, etc.) that deal with the European Renaissance is extensive. Research in this area is a central focus at a number of prominent universities. In Scandinavia, a number of initiatives have recently been taken in this field: In Denmark, an international network called Renaissance: the Origins of Modernity intends to develop relations with Renaissance institutes and individual scholars abroad. In Norway, the Early Modern Research Group is a hub for an international community of researchers working within this field. In Sweden, initiatives have been taken at Stockholm University and at the University of Gotland to gather scholars in the field of early modern studies, to expand the existing research network and to make new contacts.
Through our Stockholm Renaissance Symposium in 2012, we hoped to bring together researchers from different parts of Scandinavia but also to establish a fruitful exchange with International researchers in this field by inviting participants from other countries. Our initiative might also be considered part of a series of cross-cultural Scandinavian conferences dedicated to the early modern age (with an immediate continuation in Copenhagen later in 2012).
As for the specific theme of the Symposium, we wanted to focus on recycling, recuperations and transformations of ancient mythology during the Renaissance in a number of areas all over Europe. By returning to the Classical world of themes and ideas, Renaissance poets and artists were able to express their aesthetic ideals. Ancient mythology offered them a full set of useful metaphors which could take on new meanings in a new cultural context. The Symposium gave us an opportunity to problematize this well-researched field: Why all these reflections and allusions? What happens if we go beyond the study of sources in order to analyze the functions, effects and consequences of this re-use and re-telling? Which arguments were most efficiently mobilized against mythology by the skeptical or religious intellectuals? We wanted to move beyond mythology as mere propaganda and ornaments – in order to develop an understanding of the ancient tales and fables as contemporary means to explain and comprehend the early modern world. These issues were also examined in a broad cultural context – the early modern systems as of art and literature – where new genres were being invented with reference to Classical literary and artistic forms. We uncovered and disseminated some groundbreaking insights, as well as explored the debates in the new sciences concerning this field.
As keynote speakers we had invited prominent international specialists such as Stephen Campbell (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), Angela Locatelli (Università Degli Studi di Bergamo), Olivier Millet (Sorbonne and CNRS, Paris) and Teresa Chevrolet (University of Geneva). Our idea was to alternate plenary lectures with 20 minute-presentations followed by discussions. In this way we could share experiences, discuss teaching and research issues related to the topic and define the current research front. The conference language was English.
Amoung the topics for the Conference you could find:
- The use of mythological characters and themes for moral and didactic purposes
- Renaissance ideals based on mythological themes
- Mythology celebrating the glory of monarchy
- Resistance to mythology
- Aspects of the history of the concept of mythology
- The anti-mythologizing of the concept of mythology
- Ancient mythology as a tool of Christian arguments
Organizers at Stockholm University, in close cooperation with The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, were:
– PhD Anna Carlstedt, French (Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages), – Professor Anders Cullhed, Literature (Department of Literature and History of Ideas), – Professor Peter Gillgren, Department of Art History, – Research Fellow Tzortzis Ikonomou, Italian (Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages), – Professor Erland Sellberg, History of Ideas (Department of Literature and History of Ideas), – Professor Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre, German (Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German).