CALL FOR PAPERS: IASEMS Conference 2015 - Humour in Shakespeare's Arcadia: Gender, Genre and Wordplay in Early Modern Comedy

Florence, 23rd April 2015

The 2015 Italian Association of Shakespearean and Early Modern Studies (IASEMS) Graduate Conference at The British Institute in Florence is a one-day interdisciplinary and bilingual English-Italian forum open to PhD students and researchers who have obtained their doctorates within the past 5 years. This year’s conference will focus on the theme of comedy in early modern texts, and on how humour is produced in language and plot, what purposes it serves and how it can be related to issues of gender and genre. From Mikhail Bakhtin’s emphasis on the comic body to more recent explorations of the way erotic desire can be displaced by humour, early modern texts offer endless examples of improvisatory, situational or physical humour (whether deriving from the Elizabethan clown tradition or from the comic counterparts in medieval miracle and mystery plays) as well as sophisticated scripted humour and parody of romantic clichés. As is well known, humour, or “comic relief” can also be found in non-comic texts, such as tragedies, romances, epic poetry or pamphlets, often causing disruption of generic expectations and blurring the lines of genre distinction. Proposals can therefore address, from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, the impact and the implications of humour or comedic infiltrations in a wide range of early modern English texts. 

Candidates are invited to send a description of their proposed contribution according to the following guidelines:
  • the candidate should provide name, institution, contact info, title and a short abstract of the proposed contribution (300 words for a 20-minute paper), explaining the content and intended structure of the paper, and including a short bibliography 
  • abstracts are to be submitted by Friday 31 October 2014 by email to 
  • all proposals will be blind-vetted. The list of selected papers will be available by the end of November 2014 
  • each finished contribution is to last no longer than 20 minutes and is to be presented in English (an exception will 
  • be made for Italian candidates of departments other than English, who can present papers in Italian): Candidates whose first language is not English will need to have their proposals and final papers checked by a mother-tongue speaker 
  • participants will be asked to present a final draft of the paper ten days before the Conference. Selected speakers who are IASEMS members can apply for a small grant 

For further information please contact Ilaria Natali (

The Halved Heart, Shakespeare and Friendship

17 – 19 April 2015

For men and women in Shakespeare’s England, friendship was a relation that spanned the exquisite virtue of amicitia perfecta and the everyday exchanges of neighbourliness and commerce. A friend might be ‘another self’, but it was essential to be wary of false friends or flatterers. The complex nature of early modern friendship was a rich source of inspiration for early modern dramatists. Globe Education at Shakespeare’s Globe is pleased to announce our spring  conference, The Halved Heart: Shakespeare and Friendship (Friday 17 – Sunday 19 April 2015), and we invite proposals for papers and panels.

Speakers may address the Renaissance fascination with the ethical demands of idealised friendship, or the pragmatic reality of instrumental alliances, as explored on stage. Papers might consider the theatre as a site of social promiscuity, where spectators could be instructed in the arts (and hazards) of friendship even as such relationships were enacted in the auditorium. Or they might examine the overlap between friendship and eroticism, and the points of conflict between friendship and other forms of social alliance such as marriage, or the relationship between monarch and subject.

The conference will conclude on Sunday 19 April with a staged reading by a company of Globe actors of The Faithful Friends (Anon., King’s Men, c.1614).

Proposals of no more than 300 words for papers (or panels of up to three papers) may be submitted to Dr Will Tosh on

The deadline for submissions is Friday 12 December 2014.
The conference is for scholars and students but is open to all members of the public who are interested in debates about early modern theatre and friendship.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Women on Trial

“Women on Trial”

Drawing on a wide range of historical and literary examples – from Anne Askew to Mary Stuart, A Warning for Fair Women to The Winter’s Tale – we ask what it meant to be a woman on trial in the early modern period. This session attends to the myriad ways in which women were placed ‘on trial’: by considering the idea of the woman as witness, litigant, and defendant; by imagining the role of the law in shaping female identity; and by examining contemporary literary portrayals of the plight of ‘women before the law’.

Scholarship on slander and defamation has already identified the central role women played in certain forms of litigation, while the figure of the woman on trial is a familiar dramatic spectacle, playing a central role in Webster’s The White Devil, Arden of Faversham, Thomas Tomkis’ Lingua, and the anonymous Swetnam, The Woman-Hater Arraigned by Women (pictured above). Nonetheless, the woman on trial is infrequently discussed in literary scholarship as a discrete category. We aim to assemble experts from a range of fields, pursuing a multiplicity of contexts (such as Inns of Court, ecclesiastical ‘bawdy’ courts, and witch trials) to interrogate this neglected history.

We invite proposals for papers considering how various treatments of ‘women on trial’ can help us better understand the legal, social, and emotional position of early modern women. Please email a 150-word abstract and 1-page CV to panel organisers Dr Derek Dunne and Dr Toria Johnson at, by May 15, 2015.

Symposium on Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess - two Bursaries available

Two Bursaries Available to attend the Symposium on Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess
Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
Saturday 4th July, 9.15am-6.15pm

Thanks to the generous financial support of the Society for Renaissance Studies, we are pleased to offer two bursaries for postgraduate or postdoctoral students wishing to attend the event. Each bursary is for £60, and waives the registration fee and provides assistance with travel/accommodation expenses.

If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please email Steve Orman at stating in a sentence or two how attending the symposium will benefit your research / programme of study. Please send emails before Friday 8th May.

Featuring a script in hand performance by professional actors of Middleton’s A Game at Chess in a converted church. Directed by Robert F. Ball.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Michelle O’Callaghan (University of Reading).

The event also features papers from Dr Alex Samson, Richard Eales, Dr Sarah Olive, Nora Williams, and concludes with a roundtable discussion.

Registration closes Friday 8th May.
For more information, contact Steve Orman:
Registration: Please register through the CCCU online shop:

Spaces are limited so early registration is encouraged.

Please see the conference website for the programme and further details: