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Michel Serres famously figured time as a handkerchief, using the cloth’s crumples to describe a topology of “nearness and rifts” wherein disparate points unexpectedly fold onto and away from each other.[1] Serres’ metaphorics, which tilts at the recovery of lived experience and ambiguous time, rhymes suggestively with medieval life and thought. Not only did medieval subjects repeatedly invoke fictive veils and cloths in their discussions of time, but their lives were thronged by textiles which sutured historical gaps and proposed new futures.

Nearness | Rift: Art and Time in the Textiles of Medieval Britain will gather a multidisciplinary group of scholars to address a range of historiographical and methodological problems implicit in the study of textiles, and to discuss new case studies from medieval Britain. The colloquium will take place on April 16, 2016 at the University of Chicago. The colloquium is organized by Luke A. Fidler and generously supported by a variety of constituencies.

Final event poster - 2

[1] Michel Serres and Bruno Latour, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time, trans. Roxanne Lapidus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995), 60.

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