Appel à communication : « Forgery and Fabrication in Late Medieval and Early Modern Culture » (Gothenburg- Suède, 15-17 août 2019)

What is real and what is fake? And why does it matter? As soon as objects, texts and utterances (be they pragmatic or artistic) become imbued with a sense of authority or authenticity, there is a potential to produce other objects, texts and utterances which mimic and attempt to siphon off that authority and authenticity. In late medieval and early modern European culture (1400-1750), this potential was realized in new and unprecedented ways. Social, technological, and intellectual developments forever altered many activities which fall under the remit of forgery and fabrication, spurring lively debate about truth and falsity. The printing press transformed the production, distribution and marketing of texts and images. Heightened interest in classical antiquity changed how scholars interacted with and assigned value to artefacts originating in past cultures. Legal developments altered how artworks and documents were policed, and how authorship and authenticity were instantiated.

The conference « Faking it. Forgery and Fabrication in Late Medieval and Early Modern Culture », held in Gothenburg from the 15th to the 17th of August 2019, seeks to explore the many and varying ways in which legitimate forms of production spawned illegitimate ones in late medieval and early modern culture. The conference is hosted by The Early Modern Seminar at The University of Gothenburg. We welcome proposals on all types of cultural production stemming from all cultural ambits, provided that they are connected with the later medieval and early modern world.

Keynote speakers:
Patricia Pires Boulhosa (University of Cambridge)
Ingrid D. Rowland (University of Notre Dame)
Earle A. Havens (Johns Hopkins University)
Christoper S. Wood (NewYork University)
Görel Cavalli-Björkman (Prof. em. Nationalmuseum Stockholm)

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

– The terminology of spuriosity
– Developments in criticism as a response to forgery
– The fake as a foil to the authentic
– Connections between literary forgery and forgery in the visual arts
– The relationship between lying and forgery
– Grey areas: where production becomes fabrication
– Legal and economic perspectives on fabrication
– Fakes and fabrications in arts and sciences
– The personality cult of the forger

We invite abstracts of up to 250 words, accompanied by a title and a 50-word biographical statement, to be sent to Note that presentations must last no more than 20 minutes.

The deadline for submitting an abstract is the 30th of January, 2019.

Enquiries may be sent to the same address or made directly to Matilda Amundsen Bergström ( or Philip Lavender (

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