Annual Conference

University of Massachusetts, Boston
Saturday, October 21, 2017

“Deceit, Deception, and Dishonesty in the Early Modern Era”

Organized by Lorenzo Buonnano and Shannon McHugh

Call For Papers and Panels

In The Prince (1513), Macchiavelli advised that in politics it is better to seem than to be. Venetian statesman Fra Paolo Sarpi, wary of his stance against the Roman church, confided that “I never speak falsehoods, but I do not tell the truth to everyone.” Similarly, Torquato Accetto, secretary to the dukes of Naples, noted in Della dissimulazione onesta (1641) that it was possible “to give truth a small rest” without, however, resorting to untruths. Where is the boundary between acceptable—or desirable—deception, and that which is unacceptable? How does this negotiation manifest itself across different situations, mediums, and modes of expression? What does the 21st century have to learn from understanding the notions of deceit and dishonesty of the early modern era, whether in the arts or in politics?

The conference welcomes papers presenting original research on a broad range of areas related to this topic across a variety of national traditions. Paper topics might address, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Artistic and literary forgeries
  • Counterfeit currency and materials
  • Plagiarism and imitation in the arts and letters
  • Iconography, personification, or allegorical representation of concepts such as Truth, Falsehood, Calumny, Deceit in the arts and literature
  • Illusionism, fantasy, and invention in the visual arts and in literature
  • Narratives of idealized pasts or golden ages, and the construction, omission, or falsification of local or national histories

We encourage the submission of individual papers, as well as of assembled panels, especially those of an interdisciplinary nature.

For individual papers: please send 300-word (max) abstract and CV.

For assembled panels: please send panel title as well as abstract and CV for each participant.

Lorenzo Buonanno,
Shannon McHugh,

Submissions must be received by: May 31, 2017

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