Sharing Space in the Early Modern World (1450-1750) – Call For Papers

Sharing Space in the Early Modern World (1450-1750)
University of Oxford, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)
24-25 June, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Professor David Luebke (University of Oregon)

Space has established itself as a useful analytical category for understanding early modern mentalities. ‘Space’ can be real or imagined. It can denote a physical location, such as a church or a home, or embody an abstract geographical or political understanding, such as the nation or the empire. In all these guises, ‘space’ is not just a geographical phenomenon, but a reflection of social, political, and cultural relationships that are historically contingent. Geographical notions of space weredefined by cartographers or explorers. In local contexts space was given meaning by those who used it, its meanings actively constructed and manipulated.

This conference adds to current research by focusing specifically on spaces that were shared and formed sites of exchange between different groups. It welcomes papers that consider different types of spaces – sacred and profane, urban and rural, public and private, as well as the different groups that encountered each other within these spaces – different religious groups, ethnicities, genders. Examples of such shared spaces include sacred spaces shared by multiple confessions, inns and taverns, where men and women interacted with one another, courts where foreign ambassadors were received or border towns which were frequented by different nationalities and ethnicities.

Papers might consider, but are not limited to:

  • How were shared spaces regulated? How did the meaning of a shared space change at different times?
  • How was the meaning of a space changed by those who used it?
  • How did the experience of shared spaces inform social relationships outside of them?
  • What strategies did individuals or groups use to legitimise their use of the space?
  • How did understandings of geographical space affect the use of local spaces?
  • How did material and visual cultures define the uses of a shared space?

This conference intends to place these questions in a transnational and interdisciplinary context and therefore we are particularly keen to accept proposals from those working on non-European spaces and those outside of the field of history.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers. Papers from postgraduates are particularly welcome. Postgraduate and early career researcher bursaries are available. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to by 11 March, 2016.

Organisers: Róisín Watson, Martin Christ.