Landscape with Trees by Joseph Basil Girard

Ecologies of Paper in the Early Modern World: Virtual Conference

Thu., Nov. 5, 2020 | 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Huntington Zoom event
Event Notes: 
Free with reservation
Add to Calendar 11/05/2020 09:00 AM 11/05/2020 01:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Ecologies of Paper in the Early Modern World: Virtual Conference Visit page - The Huntington - Huntington Zoom event

This 2-day conference explores the transmutation, preservation, and loss of paper as a cycle of archiving and forgetting that defined early modern artistic practice, economic transaction, and political statecraft. Speakers map paper's various guises, its ability to retain meanings associated with its material origins as well as its desire to conceal its former states or to encourage belief in a value beyond its material reality. Charting the journeys of early modern paper in drawing, print, and document, this program not only restructures our understanding of paper's importance in early modern artistic practice and political life but also reconstructs the governing roles of environment, place, and origin in modes of making and address.

Conference Schedule


9 a.m. (PST) - Welcome and Introduction: Steve Hindle, The Huntington
Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania
Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute

9:15 a.m. (PST) - Session 1: Documents and Foundations

Asheesh Kapur Siddique, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
“Documenting the Body of State: Paper, Early Modernity, and the Matter of the U.S. Constitution”

 Cheryl Finley, Cornell University and the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History & Curatorial Studies
“Paper, Print, and Activism”

 John Gagné, University of Sydney
“Toward a History of the Conservation of the Premodern Documentary Heritage”

10:30 a.m. (PST) - Break

10:45 a.m. (PST) - Session 2: Backgrounds and Foregrounds

Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University
“Overmarbling and Paper’s Disorderly Metamorphoses”

Iris Brahms, Freie Universität Berlin
“Blue Paper as Metaphor and Efficient Solution”

Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute
“The Matrix and The Mould: Counter-Histories of Reproduction”

Heather Wolfe, Folger Shakespeare Library
“Interpreting the Materiality of Paper through Digital Images”

12:15 p.m. (PST) - Closing Discussion:  Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania


9:15 a.m. (PST) - Session 3: Scarcity

Joshua Calhoun, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Transformation of a Plant; or, Rags Do Not Make Paper”

Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania
“Contriving Scarcity in Early Modern Art and Law”

10:15 a.m. (PST) - Break

10:30 a.m. (PST) - Session 4: The Paper Age

Esther Chadwick, The Courtauld Institute of Art
“Material Sinews of the Paper Age”

 Nina Dubin, University of Illinois-Chicago
“Rags to Riches: Paper Culture in the Age of Bubbles”

Richard Taws, University College London
“Laissez-passer: Afterimages of Revolutionary France”

11:45 a.m. (PST) - Break

12:30 p.m. (PST) - Closing Discussion:  Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute

Funding provided byThe Philip V. and Sara Lee Swan Endowment