The Birkbeck Early Modern Society’s 6th Student Conference | ‘Science, Magic and Religion’ [CALL FOR PAPERS]

Keynote speaker: Emeritus Professor Michael Hunter

Saturday 22 September 2012, 10.00-16.30

The Birkbeck Early Modern Society is pleased to announce its 6th annual student conference on the theme of ‘Science, Magic and Religion in the Early Modern Period’. This event is to mark the retirement of Professor Michael Hunter, specialist in the history of science in seventeenth-century England, particularly the work of Robert Boyle. Professor Hunter’s scholarly interests also include the history of the early Royal Society, visual culture, witchcraft and changing attitudes towards magic. Our conference theme reflects his work.

This conference provides an ideal forum to showcase student research as well as opportunities to develop presentation skills.
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for papers lasting 20-25 minutes (about 2,000-2,500 words). Please email your abstract to Dr Laura Jacobs, Secretary, Birkbeck Early Modern Society, by 5pm on Thursday 19 July, 2012.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Romance: Places, Times, Modes

School of English, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

21-22 September 2012

Romance has been one of the most resilient and protean of literary kinds, existing in its own right, moulding itself in other genres, and transforming itself in the long history of its aesthetic and cultural traffic from antiquity to early modern times, and between different cultures. Royal and popular, romance has absorbed, often at once, a plethora of discourses concerned with politics and privacy at crucial moments in European history and in its contacts with the worlds beyond Europe. This conference offers the chance to reassess the nature and importance of romance within the larger frame of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, comparative, and theoretical studies. The identification of new romances, the exploration of romance in contact with other genres and modes, and cultures other than English, and the larger reflections romance facilitate in the process of absorption and reconfiguration of places and times in which it is produced—all these are topics of considerable interest and value. At a further level, such imperatives have much to suggest about the processes by which the romance itself has undergone transformation and has transformed our understanding of its place in literary history, and beyond borders and countries. Contributions to this discussion are invited, covering as wide a range in terms of period, concept and approach as critical imagination can devise, to explore the imaginative suppleness and dynamic of romance across places, times, and modes.

Topics may include but are not limited to

Ethics and politics
Movement in time and space
Travel, sea, and geography
Contacts with the East; Islam
Sources and analogues
Crossovers with other genres
Cross-national / cross-ethnic contacts
Print and manuscript
The material book
Theories of romance
Gender and Sexuality
Romance and the arts
Translations and adaptations

A 200-word abstract, including contact information, should be sent to Goran Stanivukovic ( and Sergi Mainer (, School of English, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, before 1 June 2012.

‘Fame and Fortune: The Mirror for Magistrates, 1559-1946’

An International, Interdisciplinary Conference
14th-15th September 2012, Magdalen College, Oxford

Participants: Scott Lucas, Mike Pincombe, Liz Oakley-Brown, Jennifer Richards, Angus Vine, Jane Griffiths, Jessica Winston, Kavita Mudan Finn, Cathy Shrank, Paulina Kewes, Harriet Archer, Gillian Hubbard, Meredith Skura, Matthew Woodcock, Bart van Es, Tom Davies, Michelle O’Callaghan, Anthony Martin, Andrew Hadfield.

The first major conference on the Mirror for Magistrates, ‘Fame and Fortune’ will bring together scholars from around the world to explore what’s next for this rich and undervalued work. Broadening investigation into the Mirror’s development during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, papers will take in the intellectual and political contexts of the Mirror’s inception, the later editions which appropriated and reconfigured the original text, and the profound influence the collection had on prose fiction, verse historiography, tragedy and complaint. We will consider the impact of successive editorial strategies on our interpretation of the text, while a range of interdisciplinary critical approaches will extend the framework within which the Mirror has been analysed, and prompt new directions for research.

The Mirror for Magistrates (1559) looks like a collection of verse complaints by unfortunate figures from England’s past. These complaints catalogue the fates of kings and rebels, for whom ambition, envy and betrayal have led to violent deaths, and a tendency to moralise.

But the verses alternate with a prose narrative which describes how they came to be written and collected. William Baldwin, and the poets he enlisted to help him, run into problems as they try to reconstruct late medieval history from the chronicles they have to hand: who do we trust when sources disagree? Should a bad character’s complaint be badly written? Is it right to rebel against a corrupt ruler, and is it the poet’s business to get involved in politics? Cutting to the heart of early modern debates on tyranny, duty and free speech, and critiquing contemporary historiographical practice, the hubbub of voices must be kept at a safe fictional remove to avoid the censor, or worse.
Part encyclopaedia, part project blog, the text keeps the Mirror we are promised tantalisingly out of reach as Baldwin and his band of co-authors rampage through British history, bickering about art, impersonating headless corpses, and uncovering the risks we take when we surrender the written or spoken word to interpretation.
The 1559 Mirror grew as it was reprinted in expanding editions between 1563 and 1578, to satisfy huge popular demand. Meanwhile, John Higgins and Thomas Blenerhasset wrote prequels to Baldwin’s late medieval material, extending the scope of the project back into ancient British legend and capitalising on its commercial success. The texts were read by Spenser, Shakespeare, Harvey, and Jonson; they are named-checked in Bartholomew Fair, and underpin the plots of Cymbeline and King Lear, as well as inspiring countless imitations in poetry and prose, on and off the early modern stage. In 1610, Richard Niccols brought almost all of the disparate Mirrors together in the final early modern edition; Joseph Haslewood edited the collection in 1815. Most recently, Lily B. Campbell published critical editions of Baldwin, Higgins and Blenerhasset’s work in 1938 and 1946. Unwieldy and unconventional, the Mirror has always evaded firm definitions. This conference aims to celebrate its complexity, innovation and vast influence, which even today continue to surprise.
Please visit or to register or for more information.

Reevaluating the Literary Coterie, 1550-1825

We would like to invite you to a new seminar series ‘Reevaluating the Literary Coterie, 1550-1825’. We will meet at UCL on Wednesday evenings approximately fortnightly throughout Autumn 2012. We are grateful to the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchange and the UCL Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies for helping us organize, fund, and promote what should prove a fascinating set of discussions.

Papers will focus on: specific English language coteries active in Great Britain and Europe between 1550 and 1825; an examinations of the conditions and structures which lead to the creation, sustenance, and demise of coteries; and consideration of the viability of the coterie as a hermeneutic model useful to current criticism.

The series will comprise of four ninety-minute seminars with each session containing two chronologically-linked papers of thirty minutes, followed by thirty minutes of conversation.

We should have titles by the start of next week and for a list of dates and speakers please see our blog at:

And if you’ve got any questions about the series please email us on:

Staging the Restoration: Aphra Behn's The Rover

Monday 17 September, 18.30-20.00, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU

The astonishing Aphra Behn (1640-89) was one of the first professional
female writers. The Rover, her darkly comic play of cunning courtesans
and flirtatious fops, was hugely popular in its day; indeed, Charles II
was such a fan that he commissioned a private viewing. In July 2012 it
was staged within the Baroque apartments at Hampton Court Palace in a
contemporary style, to explore where historical and modern ideas of
beauty intersect and conflict.

Join the play’s producer, as well as historical theatre expert Tom
Betteridge and HRP’s Live Interpretation Manager Chris Gidlow, for
this unique panel discussion, as they explore how they staged The Rover
for the 21st century, and what it can tell us about its enduring themes
of sensuality, love and lust.

Tickets cost £12 and include a drinks reception. For further
information and booking, please call 0844 482 7799 or see our website at

Shakespeare’s Globe: Globe Education Teaching Associate

Globe Education is seeking a part-time teaching associate to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in its thriving higher education and postgraduate programme. The candidate should have a Ph.D. or be close to finishing one. The post is available from the 1st of October and interviews will be held the week of the 24th of September.

If you are interested in applying, please send a CV and cover letter, including the name of two referees to Robert Norman, by Wednesday the 19th of September.

Farah Karim-Cooper Head of Research & Courses, Globe Education
020 7902 1439

Northern Renaissance Seminar: ‘Disability and the Renaissance’

Leeds Trinity University College, 8 September 2012

Proposals for 20-minute papers are invited on the ways in which disability can be conceptualised in/through/by the Renaissance. This seminar is particularly intended to register some of the ways that recent developments in disability theory might be applicable to scholarship on Renaissance literature and culture; to the modern tradition of Renaissance scholarship; or, indeed, might struggle to gain purchase upon the types of material and textual resources available to scholars. To that end, papers which focus on the experience or conceptualisation of disability itself, rather than disability as allegory/metaphor for the human condition in general, will be preferred.

We recognise that this is not an established field within Renaissance studies and we therefore welcome exploratory and open-ended engagements and investigations. Topics may include, but are certainly not restricted to:

  • The visibility and invisibility of disability: embodiment, Bedlam beggars, Bedlam and other sites/institutions, taxonomic practices, non-standard bodies, normativity.
  • Resistance, conformity, subversion, transgression.
  • The mind and mental disability.
  • Representations: staging, portraying, discussing disability.
  • Models of disability – how do the social and medical models bear on the Renaissance? Does the Renaissance offer further ways of modelling disability?
  • Identity, difference, abjection.
  • Technologies, adaptation, support.
  • The impact of earlier traditions: e.g. Classical formulations of disability; folklore.
  • Intersections: childhood; gender; ethnicity; class
  • Medical, legal, moral, theological and spiritual understandings/engagements.

We invite proposals (250 words) for papers addressing these questions. Comparative, interdisciplinary, and performance-oriented approaches are welcome, as are submissions from postgraduate students and early career researchers. Please send your proposals or any queries to Susan Anderson:

Deadline for proposals: 30th June 2012

Female Fury and the Masculine Spirit of Vengeance: Revenge and Gender from Classical to Early Modern Literature


Professor Alison Findlay
Professor Edith Hall

5-6 September 2012, University of Bristol, UK

Revenge is often thought of as a quintessentially masculine activity, set in a martial world of blood feuds and patriarchal codes of honour. However, the quest for vengeance can also be portrayed as intensifying passionate feelings traditionallythought of as feminine. In such instances revenge does not confirm a man’s heroic valour, but is a potentially emasculating force, dangerous to his reason, self-mastery, and gender identity. Such alternative ways of viewing revenge are also relevant when the avenger is a woman. To what extent is revenge deemed to be natural or unnatural to a woman, and what is its effect upon her psyche and perceived gender?Does the same impulse which effeminizes a man make a woman dangerously masculine? And how should we view the indirect ways that women influence retribution, such as through mourning, cursing, or goading? Are these an important means of female agency, or do they suggest women’s exclusion from active revenge, reinforcing traditional gender roles? Are certain acts of violence interpreted differently if the perpetrator is a man or woman, father or mother, son or daughter?

This conference aims to explore these questions, reevaluating the complex and varied ways that gender impacts the performance and interpretation of revenge. Proposed papers may take up any intersection of revenge and gender in texts from Classical to early modern literature, and can focus on individual texts and periods ortake an interdisciplinary or cross-temporal approach. Topics may include, but are not limited to: the ways in which revenge bolsters, threatens or transfigures an individual’s gender identity and/or role within the family; how individual acts of vengeance reinforce or undermine homosocial or female bonds; personifications of revenge; how the relationship between gender and revenge are reconfigured in a text’s translation, reception, and reinterpretation over time; the ethical, cultural and social implications for the ways in which revenge is gendered.

We invite proposals (250 words) for papers addressing these questions. Submissions from postgraduate students, and early career researchers are welcomed. Pre-formed panel proposals will also be considered. Abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract. Please send your proposals or any queries to Lesel Dawson:

Deadline for proposals: 31 May, 2012.

The Reformation Studies Colloquium 2012

To be held at St. Chad's College, Durham, 4-6 September 2012.

Deadline for submissions: 31 May 2012

The plenary speakers will be Euan Cameron (Union Theological Seminary, New York), Peter Marshall (University of Warwick) and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

We invite proposals for 20-minute communications on any theme related to Reformation studies. Please send proposals (c. 200 words) by email to