According to Jean-Claude Schmitt, “the dead have no existence other than that which the living imagine for them” – and sometimes, the living not only force them to exist in their memory but also to persist materially. By keeping the mortal remains above the earth, by dividing them, manipulating them and moving them to different places, the deceased are assigned a very active role within the world of the living. The title of this workshop includes, however, also a second “species” of migrating bodily fragments, namely body parts that are imagined to be moving by themselves. We are not sure whether the movement of real, physical body parts can reasonably be linked with the stories of actively wandering body parts as they can be found in hagiography, secular badges and popular literature of the time, but from our perspective it seems worthwhile to think about it, the more so as for some years now there has been developing a broad area of research on objects that move and migrate. Within our workshop the following perspectives on body parts in pre-modern Europe might be addressed:
- the reasons why body parts were moved
- the way in which they were moved
- how they were visualized
- the nature of the transport media, both visual and material
- the benefits of body parts transcending space and time
- which body parts could be imagined to be moving
We welcome paper proposals from a variety of fields, including art history, history, archaeology, philosophy, cultural history, visual culture, and medieval literature. Please submit an abstract (with a maximum of 2.500 characters) plus a brief CV along with your contact information in one PDF document by January 10, 2014 to Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Historisches Seminar, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 München; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).