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The Project

The aim of this website is to provide information on the Australian Research Council funded project ‘Reading the Signs: disaster, apocalypse and demonology in European print culture, 1450–1700’, awarded to Professor Charles Zika, Professor Susan Broomhall and Dr Jenny Spinks for 2009–2012.

Violent religious conflict, apocalyptic speculation and heightened fears of diabolical threat were critical themes in the stories and images of natural disaster that rolled off German, French, Dutch, Austrian and Swiss presses in the first two centuries of print. In this project, we aim to provide a systematic and comparative study of the representation, meaning, impact and control of such disasters in early modern European culture; and to assess the resilience of religious frameworks in a period when views of nature were becoming more secular.

Over the next several years, we will be working on a planned collaborative exhibition project with the National Gallery of Victoria on the themes of disaster and death, a symposium, and a range of publications. Please see the News and Events page for details as they become available.

This website was built to complement a larger website on prints and rare books held in the Baillieu Collection at the University of Melbourne. Some of these prints and books will be included in the forthcoming exhibition to be developed under the ‘Reading the Signs’ project. They are under conservation, and will be examined and written about by students and staff at the University of Melbourne. Both websites have been built by a group of Information Systems students who have completed the site as part of their final assessment for their degree. The group members are Julie Vongchanh, Zhuo Li, Ze-Yi Ng, Michihiko Nozue, Chloe Street and Daniel Yap.