Center/Clark Core Program, 2004-05:
Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression
by Susan McClary, Musicology, UCLA
seventeenth century witnessed significant transformations in conceptions
of the self: following the waning of the Renaissance and prior to
the period of consolidation we call the Enlightenment, many fundamental
aspects of human behaviorideals of bodily deportment, modes
of channeling the passions, constructions of gender and the erotic,
expressions of religious devotion, ways of experiencing timechanged
radically. Some of these changes were explicitly acknowledged in verbal
texts, such as Descartes's accounts of psychology, but others left
their most vivid traces in cultural mediathe visual and plastic
arts, literature, theater, music, dancethat do not always explain
their motivations in words. They manifest themselves rather through
explorations of affective extremes, violations of traditional stylistic
principles, transgressions against officially condoned behaviors.
Yet many disciplines today continue to demand verbal confirmation
as evidence for historical arguments, thereby neglecting some of the
most profound changes in European subjectivities.
yearlong program of 2004-05 will explore these transformations across
a range of arts and disciplines. A series of interdisciplinary conferences
and seminars will focus on the following topics:
The emergence of different and even mutually antagonistic ways
of rendering and experiencing time.
Divine Love: Images of mystical union that bring the erotic
into religious experience and representation.
Expression and the Law: Attempts at codifying and policing
new forms or procedures.
Genders and Sexualities: Phenomena such as theatrical cross-dressing,
castrati, suggestions of same-sex eroticism.
Images from William
Salmon, Polygraphice; or, The Arts of
Drawing, Engraving, Etching . . . (London, 1673).
Clark Library holdings.