CfP: Self and State: Exile in the Early Modern World
Wednesday 24 March and Thursday 25 March 2021
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Keynote Speakers: Professor Peter Burke (University of Cambridge)
Professor Juliette Cherbuliez (University of Minnesota)
Invited Speakers: Dr Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary, University of London)
Professor Julian Swann (Birkbeck, University of London) Dr Helena Taylor (University of Exeter)
We are seeking proposals for 20-minute papers for our upcoming conference at the University of Cambridge. This two-day interdisciplinary conference draws together researchers on early modern exile. The early modern period (c.1500-1800) was an age marked by the displacement and forced migration of social groups and individuals around the world. In recent decades, scholars have paid closer attention to migration and mobility to uncover how movement in space and transnational connections affected early modern lives. Exile, however, remains a neglected part of this story.
Too often, exile has been considered merely as one of the consequences of broader religious or political events, rather than a phenomenon worthy of study in its own right. This conference aims to highlight not just human movement in general, but particularly those features that set exile apart from other forms of migration. The coerced relocation of political and religious exiles during this period at once transformed the places in which they sought refuge, and those they left behind. The exilic experience could foster forms of cosmopolitanism and tolerance, but also cultures of suspicion and mistrust, as exiles found their loyalties interrogated both in their former countries and their new homes. Such tensions worked to reshape regional, national, political, and religious identifications, while calling into question notions of individual identity and selfhood. These broad considerations give rise to the twin themes of our conference: self and state.
The key concepts of the self and the state were interrogated, constructed, and reinvented through the actions and writings of exiles and exile communities, as well as the ways in which governments responded to them. The conference encourages speakers to consider how these concepts influenced the political, religious, and practical realities of involuntary relocation, as well as (auto)biographical and fictional literatures of exile.
Papers at the conference might encompass any of the following (non-exhaustive) themes: