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CONFERENCE: Charming Intentions – Occultism – Magic and the History of Art

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This two-day graduate conference will investigate the intersections between visual culture and the occult tradition, ranging from the material culture of ‘primitive’ animism, through medieval and Renaissance depictions of witchcraft and demonology, to the contemporary fascination with the supernatural in popular culture.

The conference aims to provide a stimulating arena for the presentation of innovative research in this field as well as to offer a vibrant and thought-provoking forum for scholarly discussion and exchange. We welcome papers from current and recent graduate students from all disciplines, provided their research engages with material, visual or symbolic aspects of magic and occultism.

Acceptable topics include, but are by no means limited to, the following areas:

* The sacred and the profane;

* The material culture of magic, ritual and sacrifice;

* Objects of totemic, apotropaeic or fetishistic character;

* Aspects of mysticism in Jewish, Christian and Islamic art and architecture;

* Satanism, witchcraft and demonology; * Sacred geometry, numerology and cosmology;

* The arcane sciences (including astrology, alchemy and the tarot game);

* Art-theoretical discussions of the spiritual, the sublime, the marvellous, the numinous and the uncanny;

* Artistic investigations of myth, fantasy and utopia;

* Visual aspects of occult movements such as Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Mesmerism, Spiritism and New Age Spirituality;

* The supernatural and the spiritual in modern and contemporary art; * Occultism and magic in contemporary popular culture.

N.B.: Presentations should not exceed a maximum of 20 minutes and will be followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. The sessions will be chaired by senior scholars within the University of Cambridge’s History of Art Department. We also hope to publish selected conference papers in a book of proceedings.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to:

 charming.intentions@gmail.com

alongside a CV of 1-2 pages.

Deadline for submission is the 30th of September 2012.

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and successful applicants will be notified about acceptance of their papers before the 15th of October 2012.

Early applications are strongly encouraged.

The Conference Committee

Josefine Baark, PhD Candidate, Homerton College Gabriel Byng, PhD Candidate, Clare College Imma Ramos, PhD Candidate, Pembroke College Daniel Zamani, PhD Candidate, Trinity College.

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CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

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Day 1: Monday, 3 December 2012

09.30 – 10.00 Registration at

History of Art Department’s Graduate Centre on 4A Trumpington Street

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10.00 – 10.05 Welcome address (Daniel Zamani & Dr Alexander Marr)

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10.05 – 11.00 Keynote Lecture

Dr Urszula Szulakowska (University of Leeds)

The Sexualisation of the Virgin Mary: Hieratic Religious Art in an Alchemical Context

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11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break

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11.30 – 1.00 Panel 1: The Christian Middle Ages Convenor: Dr Anna Gannon

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Emily Goetsch (University of Edinburgh)

Demonising the Other”: Spanish Apocalyptic Images of Evil as a Way of Promoting Christianity in Tenth-Century Beatus Manuscripts

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Orsolya Mednyanzky (Tufts University, Medford)

Protecting the Sacred Script: A Cross in Glory in a Late Medieval Armenian Gospel Book

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Monika Winiarczyk (University of Glasgow)

‘Homo Signorum’: Looking to God or Looking to the Stars? The Role of Astrology in Medieval Christianity

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1.00 – 2.00 Lunch Break

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2.00 – 3.30 Panel 2: Islam and Hinduism Convenor: Rachel Parikh

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Anja R. Dreiser (University of Bamberg)

Magic Mirrors from the Islamic World

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Alexandra Plesa (Leiden University)

Pots That Bless: Pious Inscriptions on Samanid Pottery in Dutch Collections

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Shandra E. Lamaute (University of Edinburgh)

A Printed Islamic Amulet

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Imma Ramos (University of Cambridge)

Impurity, Auspiciousness and Power: The Tantric Transformations of Lajja Gauri at Kamakhya

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3.30 – 4.00 Coffee Break

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4.00 – 5.00 Panel 3: Early Modern Europe I Convenor: Prof. Jean Michel Massing

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Liliana Leopardi (Hobert and William Smith Colleges, NY)

Renaissance Magic Precious and Semi-Precious Stones: the Fetish as a

path to Pyschological Integrity

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Nikola Piperkov (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Et procul in tenuem ex oculis euanuit auram: Natural Magic and Divine Word in Giambologna’s Statue of Mercury

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Day 2: Tuesday, 4 December 2012

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10.00 – 11.00 Panel 4: Early Modern Europe II Convenor: Dr Alexander Marr

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Alexandra Marraccini (University of Chicago)

Open Secrets: Alchemical-Hermetic Iconography in the Ripley Scrolls

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Marthe Kretzschmar (Technische Universitaet Hamburg)

Waxwork. Aby Warburg’s “Bildzauber” between materiality and resemblance

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11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break

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11.30 – 1.00 Panel 5: Great Britain Convenor: Josefine Baark

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Stephanie Churms (Aberystwyth University)

Drawn by the Magician’s Wand”: The Occult Culture of Revolutionary Caricature

Lauren Greer (University of Saint-Thomas, MN)

Glamour: A Dissection of John Anster Fitzgerald’s Fairyland

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Heather Carroll (University of Edinburgh)

Art not without ambition’: Lady Melbourne, the Duchess of Devonshire and Mrs. Damer as The Three Witches from Macbeth

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1.00 – 2.00 Lunch Break

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2.00 – 3.30 Panel 6: Surrealism Convenor: Dr Karolina Watras

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Daniel Zamani (University of Cambridge)

Alchemy & Empowerment in Victor Brauner’s Appropriation of the Tarot Magician

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Kristina Rapacki (Courtauld Institute, London)

Deicide, Regicide, Suicide: Bataille, Acephale and the Sovereign

Victoria Camblin (University of Cambridge)

Ritual and the Wagnerism of Acéphale (1936-1939)

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3.30 – 4.00 Coffee Break

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4.00 – 5.30 Panel 7: The 20 th Century Convenor: Elizabeth Upper

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Adele Gardener (University of Bristol)

Art, Invocation and Alchemy: The Tarot Paintings of Lady Frieda Harris

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Lisa Hanstein (Art-Historical Institute, Florence)

Unseen Spirits? Occult Aspects of Italian Futurist Art & Theory

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Judith Noble (Arts University College, Bournemouth)

Ritual and Invocation: Occultism in the Films of Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger

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5.30 – 5.35 Closing Remarks (Gabriel Byng)

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5.35 – 7.00 Wine reception

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Close of conference

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