“Visualizing revolt and punishment in early modern times: conflict- and contact-zones between different visual cultures and policies”

We would like to remind you of our up-coming conference, which will take place at the
Mahindra Humanities Center,
Barker Centre, R. 133, Harvard University

from April 25 to April 27, 2014.

Our conference will feature interdisciplinary talks covering an impressive geographical extension of early modern visual media.

The event is funded by Volkswagenstiftung, Germany, and is aimed at scholars as well as students.

logo volkswagenstiftung


Fri. 25 12:00 Malte Griesse   Welcome and Introduction
        Byzantium and Muscovy
  12:30 Galina Tirnanic Oakland University Visualizing Punishment in Byzantium: Disseminating Memories of Quelled Revolts Before the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  13:15 Valerie Kivelson University of Michigan Visualizing Violence in Muscovite Imperial Expansion in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
  14:00 Discussion    
  15:00 Coffee Break    
        East and West
  15:30 Gleb Kazakov Bielefeld University Portraying Russian Rebels and Tsars in Western Media
  16:15 Nancy Kollmann Stanford University Truth and Legitimacy in Adam Olearius’ “Punishments.”
  17:00 Femenias, Blenda B. CUA, Washington Violence against the Body in the Drawings of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala
  17:45 Discussion    
Sat. 26       England and France
  09:00 Stefania Gargioni Berlin/Kent Punishment and Regicide: Iconographical Accounts of Ravaillac’s Public Execution in early Seventeenth-century England
  09:45 Monika Barget University of Konstanz
“The agreeable contrast”: British caricatures of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion
  10:30 Julius Ruff Marquette University, Milwaukee Myth-Making in Eighteenth-Century France: Visual Representations of Banditry
  11:15 Discussion    
  12:15 Lunch Break    
        Turks in European Theater
  13:30 Daniel Vitkus San Diego Turkish Torture: Staging Atrocity and Fortitude in English Renaissance Drama
  14:15 Christiane Ackermann Harvard/ Tübingen Revolt on stage: The role of ‘the Turk’ in pre-modern German drama
  15:00 Discussion    
  16:00 Coffee Break    
        Central Europe
  16:30 Malte Griesse Harvard/Konstanz Image and Text in Propaganda during the Upper Austrian Peasant War 1626
  17:15 Daniel Juette Harvard Defenestration: A ritual punishment and its visual representations in early modern Europe
  18:00 Discussion    
Sun. 27       The Low Countries
  09:00 David Freedberg Columbia Visualizing Revolt and Punishment in the 16th century Netherlands
  09:45 Angela Vanhaelen McGill, Montréal The Aftermath of Revolt: Painters as Peaceful Soldiers
  10:30 David de Boer University of Konstanz
Depicting Death True to Life: Violence in Dutch Print and Painting
  11:15 Coffee Break    
  11:30 Discussion    
  12:30 Final Discussion    


Hollaendischer  Druck_Gunpowder Plot_1605_BLOG

© Het Geheugen van Nederland/Koninklijke Bibliotheek – Nationale bibliotheek van Nederland, 2003

In most of early modern Europe visual representations of punishment played an important part in governments’ strategies to reinvigorate social hierarchies and to reestablish public order after the traumatizing experience of socio-political upheaval and revolt. Scenarios of punishment and executions of ringleaders were not only staged publicly, they were also disseminated in print, both through text and image. Thereby the authorities hoped to reach a much broader public, including the illiterate majority of the population, and to enforce a policy of damnatio memoriae with regard to the very events of revolt. These events were often depicted and painted abroad, beyond the range of the concerned authorities. Representations of both revolts and punishment often showed extremely violent acts, sometimes in an affirmative and sometimes in a denunciatory way.

But visual cultures varied considerably across more or less clear-cut or floating confessional, political, social and other boundaries. On the workshop we want to explore different visual cultures from the perspective of such boundaries. In an interdisciplinary endeavor we try to retrace zones of encounter between differing visual codes in representing revolts and related acts of violence. Only when it came to dissonances in the basic evaluations of images and a subsequent feeling of estrangement were early modern people pushed to articulate and make explicit what was otherwise taken for granted and cannot be traced in sources. In this way the confrontation of divergent modes of visual representation and the voiced experiences of irritation can shed light on both the literary “syntaxes” and the visual “codes” of representation.


© Het Geheugen van Nederland/Koninklijke Bibliotheek – Nationale bibliotheek van Nederland, 2003

You are welcome to download an extended rationale and the full schedule as PDF documents.

For further information, please write to Dr. Malte Griesse at maltegriesse@fas.harvard.edu.

Gunpowder_Heads Exposed_1605_BLOG

© Het Geheugen van Nederland/Koninklijke Bibliotheek – Nationale bibliotheek van Nederland, 2003

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