CALL FOR PAPERS: Changing Histories - Rethinking the Early Modern History Play

King’s College London, hosted by the London Shakespeare Centre, 4th–5th July 2019

Confirmed plenary speakers: Tracey Hill (Bath Spa University); Paulina Kewes (University of Oxford); and Emma Smith (University of Oxford)

CFP deadline: 31 January 2019

Detail from ‘A True Chronology of all the Kings of England from Brute’ (c.1635)















Critical accounts of the early modern “history play” have tended to use the classification of plays in Shakespeare’s First Folio to define the genre and align it with the dramatization of medieval English monarchical history. However, early modern dramatists, audiences, publishers, and readers looked far beyond these parameters. If our definition of the “history play” is expanded to incorporate a wider range of histories (including material that was believed to be historical), then the genre explodes both geographically and temporally. It would include, for example, classical history, biblical history, pre-Christian British history, European and Middle Eastern history, and recent history. This approach to the genre closely reflects how history was actually used, debated, and dramatized during the period, and draws attention to the connections and shared influences between plays engaging with very different historical subjects. It encourages a close examination of repertory patterns and evidence for lost plays (which have been overlooked in discussions of the history play) and raises crucial issues of reception, such as whether the agency for defining “history” ultimately lay with the individual spectators and readers of the plays. King Lear as an account of the lived past would appear very differently to a playgoer reliant on plays and ballads for their understanding for the past than it would to a reader of Camden’s sceptical Britannia.

Starting from this expanded definition of the “history play”, Changing Histories seeks to explore the application of the term “history” during the period, interrogate enduring critical views of historical drama, and examine the interconnections between texts representing a range of different pasts. One of the conference’s main objectives is to open up new critical approaches to early modern historical drama and encourage a productive exchange between theatre scholars and historians. As the list of possible approaches and topics below demonstrates, the conference welcomes an exciting and expansive range of responses.

We invite papers that examine history plays and/or ideas of history and historiography through a variety of approaches, including (but not limited to):
  • The connections between history plays and non-dramatic texts, such as the influence of historiographical developments on the stage
  • Intersections of history, myth, and fiction
  • The influence of drama on perceptions of history
  • The history play as part of theatrical repertories and as a print genre
  • The dramaturgy of staging the past
  • Representations of the past in masques, royal entertainments, and civic pageants, and their influence on commercial drama
  • The role of stationers in defining the history play
  • The use of “lost plays” to reappraise the genre in repertory, print, and critical discourse
  • Responses of early modern audiences and readers to historical drama and the question of who defined “the past”
  • The popular and critical reception of the history play and the dominance of Shakespeare
  • The usefulness of genre classifications and their problems

To apply, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short biography to the conference organizers, Dr Kim Gilchrist (University of Roehampton) and Dr Amy Lidster (King’s College London) at changinghistories@gmail.com by 31 January 2019.

A number of postgraduate and ECR bursaries will be available for covering conference registration fees and travel expenses. If you would like to apply, please submit an additional statement (of about 200–300 words), outlining how your research fits with the aims of the conference. We would particularly like to encourage BAME speakers and those who live outside the London area to apply.

Changing Histories is generously supported by grants from the British Shakespeare Association, the Society for Renaissance Studies, and the London Shakespeare Centre. Find us online at https://changinghistories.wordpress.com and @EarlyModernClio 





CALL FOR PAPERS: 13th International Margaret Cavendish Society Conference

The Thirteenth International Margaret Cavendish Society Conference 6-9 June 2019, Trondheim, Norway

HOST: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
THEME: Natures, Pictures: Cavendish and Early Modern Science, Technology, and Creativity

The society welcomes proposals for 20-minute papers on topics related directly or indirectly to the theme, or on any aspects of Cavendish, her work, her family (including William Cavendish, Jane Cavendish, and Elizabeth Cavendish) and her contemporaries, influences, and responses to her work. In particular, we invite panel proposals on the work of Anne Conway and other early modern women scientists and philosophers.

Papers may explore, but are not limited to, the following disciplines:
  • art history
  • social history
  • book history
  • digital humanities
  • the history of science
  • political theory
  • literature
  • ecocriticism
  • gender studies
  • philosophy
  • translation studies
  • pedagogical approaches


The 2019 conference will feature invited speaker Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World (2014):

Siri Hustvedt is the author of a book of poems, four collections of essays, six novels, and a work of nonfiction. In 2012 she was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. Her most recent novel The Blazing World was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Los Angeles Book Prize for Fiction 2014. Hustvedt has a PhD in English from Columbia University and is a lecturer in psychiatry at the Dewitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry in the Psychiatry Department of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.


Abstracts of 150 to 200 words should be emailed to Lara Dodds (LDodds@english.mssate.edu) and Lisa Walters (walterl@hope.ac.uk) together with a brief CV by December 1st, 2018.

For more information, or to register for the conference, please visit the website of the Margaret Cavendish Society

CALL FOR PAPERS: Othello's Island 2019: The 7th Annual Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Event Date: 15 Apr 2019 to 18 Apr 2019.   Nicosia, Cyprus

A collaboration between the Centre for Visual Arts and Research, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Cyprus, the University of Kent and the University of Sheffield.

Founded in 2012, Othello's Island is an annual conference looking at Medieval, Renaissance and early modern history, literature, art and other culture, held at the Centre for Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) in Nicosia, Cyprus. It brings together a wide range of academics and research students, from all over the world, to discuss their work in what we describe as a multi-disciplinary event.

​Sometimes the themes of different papers can seem very diverse, but a multi-disciplinary approach means that we encourage participants to listen to a wide range of papers, in different discipline areas, in the belief that this can lead to new, sometimes remarkable, insights.

The Centre for Visual Arts and Research (CVAR), is located in the centre of the old town of Nicosia, capital of Cyprus. In its medieval streets, surrounded by the huge Venetian walls, you will find lovely museums, shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as medieval and renaissance buildings, harking back to the medieval and renaissance period, when Cyprus was ruled by the French Lusignan royal family. Perhaps most notable of the house was the last Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, whose portrait was painted by Giorgione, Titian and other Renaissance artists.

For 2019 we are basing the conference around three themes. These are:
  • Medieval and Byzantine literature, art, architecture, culture and history
  • Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • Early modern women writers

We also welcome proposals for ‘wild card’ papers outside of the above categories. If your proposed paper does not fit into any of the above categories, you are still welcome to submit.

​​​CALL FOR PAPERS - DEADLINE 31 JANUARY 2019

If you would like to submit a paper for possible presentation at the conference please send an abstract and a brief CV (resumé) by e'mail to arrive not later than 31 January 2019.

The abstract should include:

Your full name
Your institutional affiliation (if any)
Your e'mail address
The title of your proposed paper
Your abstract (must be in English and not longer than 300 words long).

​In general we will try to let you know if your paper has been accepted not later than 28 February 2019. If you require a decision before 28 February 2019 ​on whether your paper will be included in the colloquium, please indicate this in your e'mail. Usually this will be because you need to make a funding application or other arrangements.

Papers can only be presented in person. We are sorry, we do not allow proxy or Skype-style presentations.

​All proposals and any questions should be sent to Dr Michael Paraskos with the subject line Othello 2019.  You are also advised to visit our website at www.othellosisland.org for more information.