2017 Annual Conference at UMass, Boston

University of Massachusetts, Boston
Saturday, October 21, 2017

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

Organized by Lorenzo Buonnano and Shannon McHugh

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?


9:30-10:00            Check In and Coffee

10:00-10:30            Welcome Addresses

  • Touba Ghadessi, co-President of the New England Renaissance Conference
  • Lorenzo Buonanno (University of Massachusetts, Boston) and Shannon McHugh (University of Massachusetts, Boston)


10:30-12:00            Session 1. True and False Appearance

  • Lauren Jacobi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Monetary Deception and Troubled Signification in Early Modern Italy

  • Jessica Maratsos (American University of Paris)

Relic, Ruin, Reference: The Painting of Truth in the Early Cinquecento

  • Robert Lublin (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

Fashion, Fiction, and Friction among Shakespeare’s Aristocratic Women

Chair: Alexander Mueller (University of Massachusetts, Boston)


12:00-12:15            Coffee Break


12:15-1:00            Keynote Address

  • Patricia Emison (University of New Hampshire, Durham)

Did the Early Moderns Believe their Art?


1:00-2:00            Lunch Break


2:00-3:30            Session 2. Practice and Behavior

  • Anna Wainwright (University of New Hampshire, Durham)

Simula il viso pace: Deception and Widowed Grief in Castiglione and Ariosto

  • Michael Randall (Brandeis University)

Montaigne and Dodgy Judges: De l’utile et de l’honnête, III, 1.

  • Sanam Nader-Esfahani (Amherst College)

Seeing Through Dissimulation in Boccalini’s Ragguagli di Parnaso

Chair: Christopher Carlsmith (University of Massachusetts, Lowell)

3:30-4:00            Coffee Break

4:00-5:30            Session 3. Evidence, Expertise, and False History

  • Elizabeth Hart (University of Connecticut, Storrs)

Fiction as Forensic: Lancelot de Carle’s Verse Narrative on Anne Boleyn

  • Jeffrey Muller (Brown University)

Jesuit Fakes for Indigenous Legacy in Early Modern Mexico and Peru

  • Olivia Weisser (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

Deceit and Disease in Early Modern Medical Case

Chair: Stacey Sloboda (University of Massachusetts, Boston)


5:30-6:30            Roundtable and Concluding Remarks

  • Roundtable Participants: Matteo Casini (Suffolk University), Touba Ghadessi (Wheaton College), Elizabeth McCahill (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Katharina Piechocki (Harvard University), Sarah Ross (Boston College)

Moderator: Anne Proctor (Roger Williams University)

6:30-7:30            Cocktail Reception


Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/zNMeiT3ecMovo7ZF3



Getting there:

We encourage attendees to use public transportation.

Umass Boston is easily accessible on the MBTA Red Line, stop: JFK/UMASS. A free shuttle connects to the Campus Center and University Hall.

Limited parking (6$) is available under the Campus Center, and nearby in Lot D



The 2017 New England Renaissance Conference has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of:


The Katherine Frisone-Scott Italian Cultural Studies Fund, in Memory of John B. Frisone

The Heinz Bluhm Memorial Lecture Fund, Boston College

The Department of History, University of Massachusetts, Boston

The Department of the History of Art & Architecture, Boston University

The Master’s of Arts Program of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Art Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston

The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Massachusetts, Boston

The Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies



Contact: lorenzo.buonanno@umb.edu or shannon.mchugh@umb.edu