Thomas Harriot Seminar 2012

The Thomas Harriot Seminar (THS) exists to promote the study of the life and times of the Elizabethan mathematician and natural philosopher Thomas Harriot (1560-1621). The THS meets biennially in Durham (in December) and features papers both on the work of Harriot himself, and on various aspects of the history of sixteenth- and early-seventeenth century science and mathematics (including the history of navigation) and the discovery and colonisation of the New World. It publishes an occasional newsletter, and a series of Occasional Papers (details of how to purchase these are available on the website).

The next Thomas Harriot Seminar will be held at St Chad's College, University of Durham on the 15-17 December 2012. Speakers will include: Matteo Valleriani, Adam Mosley, Alexander Marr, Jim Bennett, Philip M. Sanders, Makiko Okamura, Jackie Stedall, and Robert Goulding.

The 2012 Thomas Harriot Lecture (by Professor Lesley Cormack of the University of Alberta), organised and hosted by Oriel College, Oxford, will be on the 31 May. More details of both events can be found on the website.

If you have any news items relating to Thomas Harriot, or you would like to hear more about the Seminar and its activities, please contact the Vice-Chairman of the Seminar, Dr Stephen Clucas (

Call for Papers: Popes and the Papacy in early modern English culture

An interdisciplinary conference
The University of Sussex, June 24th – 26th 2013

Confirmed speakers include Peter Lake, Susannah Monta and Alison Shell

Proposals are welcome for individual papers or panels on any subject associated with the theme of the conference. Topics may include:

· Anti- Catholic satire
· Pre-Reformation culture
· Literary representations of Popes and the Papacy
· Lives of the Popes
· English Cardinals
· Religious controversy
· Recusant culture
· Papal Bulls
· Excommunication
· Diplomacy/Ambassadors/Nuncios/Correspondence
· Architecture
· Ecclesiology
· Theology

300 word proposals for papers and panels should be sent to Paul Quinn ( by March 1st 2013. Papers should last for 20 minutes. Panels should include three papers.

Unsealed - The Letters of Bess of Hardwick

Now at The National Archives, from 27 November 2012 to the end of February 2013.

The correspondence of Bess of Hardwick (Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury) will be explored in a new exhibition at The National Archives – ‘Unsealed: The Letters of Bess of Hardwick’.

One of Elizabethan England's most famous figures, Bess of Hardwick was an influential matriarch and dynast, lady at Elizabeth I's court, and the builder of great stately homes like Hardwick Hall. All of the Elizabethan world populated her letters: dukes and spies, queens and servants, friends and lovers. She wrote hundreds of letters throughout her life - they were her lifeline to her travelling children and husbands, to the court at London and news from the world at large. This travelling exhibition, on loan from Hardwick Hall, features images and letter facsimiles that bring Bess and her correspondents to life, and visitors can explore Bess’s world through a series of podcasts on food, fashion and gossip.

To mark the launch of the exhibition Dr Alison Wiggins will be giving a free talk on the letters at The National Archives on 29 November at 14:00, where there will also be the chance to see some of Bess’s original letters.

Unsealed: The Letters of Bess of Hardwick can be seen at The National Archives from Tuesday 27 November 2012 to the end of February 2013, and is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and supported by the National Trust and the University of Glasgow.

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8876 3444.

Dr. Katy Mair
Medieval and Early Modern Team
Advice and Records Knowledge
The National Archives
020 8392 5330 (ext. 2787)

Forum for European Philosophy Event: European Provocations, Rousseau and the State of War

Tuesday 11 December, 6.30 – 8pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Chris Bertram, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Bristol

Chair: Kristina Musholt, LSE Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method and Deputy Director of the Forum for European Philosophy

Rousseau’s fragment Principles of the Right of War has recently been reconstructed from various manuscript sources and we now have a coherent text expressing his views about war and so-called 'just war' theory. Here, as elsewhere, Rousseau suspects that the moral principles enunciated by philosophers and legal theorists are just rationalizations for amour propre, power and violence. This lecture will argue that in the light of recent wars and ‘humanitarian interventions’, Rousseau’s text is as relevant as ever.

Podcasts of most FEP events are available online after the event. They can be accessed at

All events are free and open to all without registration
For further information contact Juliana Cardinale: 020 7955 7539

Forum for European Philosophy
Cowdray House, Room G.05, European Institute
London School of Economics, WC2A 2AE

Call for Papers: Women and Maps in Early Modernity

Abstracts are invited for papers about "Women and Maps in Early Modernity," for a possible SSEMW Co-Sponsored Session at the American Historical Association's annual meeting in Washington DC in January 2014.

We seek papers from a range of disciplines -- including, but not limited to, history, art history, literary studies, and historical geography -- which address the nexus between early modern women and maps/cartography in any geographical region or culture, during the time period c. 1400-1700. Paper topics might consider women as:

- Explorers contributing data from which maps are made
- map illustrators
- printers/publishers/sellers of maps
- navigators/users of maps
- writers on the topic of cartography

Abstracts (400-500 words) for papers 20 minutes in length should be submitted by January 10, 2013, by email, to Allyson Poska ( and Erika Gaffney (

Call for Papers: Women and Curiosity in Early Modern Europe

International conference, 21-22 June 2013

Paris, France
University Paris Ouest Nanterre (Quarto, CREA370)
and University Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 (Épistémè, PRISMES EA4398)

The multiplication of cabinets of curiosities and the obsession with novelty are evidence of the development of a “culture of curiosity” in the early modern period. While curiosity had long been considered as an intellectual vice, associated with hybris and the original sin, and described by Augustine as “lust of the eyes”, it became a virtue in the 17th century. One of the main reasons for this transformation was the continued efforts of natural philosophers to demonstrate that curiosity was morally acceptable in order to legitimize their scientific endeavour. Francis Bacon and his followers thus insisted on the code of conduct of natural philosophers, the usefulness of the knowledge they were seeking and the discrepancy between their own research and occult sciences. All of them championed the “good curiosity” of the natural philosophers, as opposed to the “bad curiosity” of men and women interested in magic, and in trivial and superficial matters.

If there was indeed a “rehabilitation of curiosity” in the early modern period, did it have any impact on women’s desire for knowledge? The emergence of women philosophers at the time (Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Lady Ranelagh, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Catherine of Sweden, Damaris Masham, Mary Astell, Catherine Trotter, etc.) may indicate that their curiosity was now considered as legitimate and morally acceptable – or at least that it was tolerated. Yet it has been suggested that the new status of curiosity in the early modern period led instead to an even stronger distrust for women, who were both prone to curiosity and curiosities themselves. The June 2013 conference on “Women and Curiosity” aims at assessing the impact of the alledged “rehabilitation of curiosity” on women in the early modern period, by analysing discourses on women as enquirers and objects of curiosity. Iconographic and fictional representations of curious women and female curiosity might also give an insight into the relations between women and curiosity in the early modern period (for example, Cesare Ripa’s allegory of curiosity as “a huge, wild-haired, winged woman” inIconologia (1593), or representations of emblematic curious women such as Eve, Dinah, Pandora, etc.). The origins of these discourses and representations, as well as their premises, might also be investigated: to what extent did the condemnation of women’s curiosity reveal a fear of disorder and transgression? Did it betray male anxiety about female sexuality or about the mystery of birth? Was it justified by medical interpretations of curiosity, such as a specific humoural condition?

Women’s own conception of curiosity / curiosities in the early modern period might also be of interest, especially as it is rarely studied. The conference on “Women and Curiosity” will thus give us the opportunity to focus on what women themselves wrote about curiosity in their treatises, fictional works, translations, and correspondences. Did women writers consider curiosity as intrinsically female? How did they react to male discourses on women as enquirers and objects of curiosity? What representations of curiosity did they give in their texts?

Please send an abstract for 25-minute papers and a biographical note to Sandrine Parageau ( or Line Cottegnies ( by 30 January, 2013.

Research Awards in Rome 2013-14

The British School at Rome

The British School at Rome is a centre of interdisciplinary research excellence in the Mediterranean supporting the full range of arts, humanities and social sciences. Our highly competitive and prestigious awards have provided many leading scholars with a critical base for their subsequent careers.

Applications are invited for a number of residencies, for research on the archaeology, history, art history, society and culture of Italy from prehistory to the modern period. These awards offer accommodation in our residence, food, 24-hour access to our historic library collection and, in some instances, a research grant; they are tenable for three or nine months.

Further details (including eligibility criteria) and applications forms are available.

For any further information, please contact Gill Clark at
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 15 January 2013