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Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies is a research initiative between Art History at the University of Manchester and at the University of Melbourne.

Saint Augustine
A depiction of Saint Augustine.

The Foreign Bodies research group's aim is to explore how images and objects in the early modern period (1400 - 1700) constructed the foreign, the exotic, the other.

Defining foreignness - who belongs and who doesn't - is a contemporary issue, but the problem is not new.

Saint Augustine (d. 430) argued that it was inconceivable that the Antipodes could be inhabited by humans since it would have been impossible for the descendants of Adam and Eve to have travelled to the other side of the world.

However, in 1537, faced with 'newly discovered' peoples of the Americas, Pope Paul III proclaimed that they were in fact human beings just like Europeans.