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Shakespeare, Cervantes, More, Erasmus, Jonson: Commemorative CFPs for 2016 | The Scrivener

By December 27, 2015 No Comments

Welcome to The Scrivener. It’s Lindsay here this week with the latest news in early modern scholarship. Up this time, we have heaps of calls for papers and a couple of calls for manuscripts, as well as some interesting fellowship and internship opportunities. Read on for full details!

Calls for Papers

The four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death will, more than ever, focus attention on this question: where and to whom does Shakespeare belong? A conference on ‘Shakespeare in the North’ will take place on 2 June 2016 at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Much critical work has been done on Shakespeare’s global reach and ‘travels’, especially in relation to processes of colonisation and postcolonial emancipation. Through this work, Shakespeare has been shown to be ‘local’ to many environments across the globe, however problematically. Equally, thinking about Shakespeare’s role in, and appropriation and construction by the various, conflicted, diasporic, devolving and devolved communities of the British Isles has become a critical orthodoxy. Yet what of Shakespeare’s position in locations like ‘the north’ which, while not seeking independence or devolution through political means, retain a strong sense of being different and separate from official (privileged) strands of national culture? Abstracts are due by 1 January 2016, and more details can be found here.

Another conference commemorating the quatercentenary, ‘William Shakespeare: Past, Present and Future’, is scheduled to take place at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania from  8-9 April 2016. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, researchers are welcomed from various disciplines, including (but not limited to) literature, linguistics, culture, history, politics, law, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and cognitive sciences. More details can be found here. and 15 January 2016 is the deadline for submission of paper proposals.

The Institute for Research on the Renaissance, the Neo-Classical Age and the Enlightenment (IRCL) will celebrate the Shakespearean quatercentenary by organising a conference-festival focusing on Balcony Scenes on the early modern European stages, and, more specifically, on the probably most famous balcony scene of all: that of Romeo and Juliet. The event will combine scholarly contributions (in the mornings) and practical experiments of staging and interpretation (in the afternoons and evenings), which will take the form of short performances. This event will take place from 23-25 November 2016 at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, France. Full details can be found here, and abstracts are due by 15 January 2016.

Coinciding with the quatercentenary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes, SEDERI (Spanish and Portuguese Association for English Renaissance Studies) is organising its annual conference in collaboration with the English and Spanish departments of the University of Valladolid, Spain. This conference is the perfect opportunity to bring together scholars from both Spanish and English studies working on literary, historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of the early modern period. The organisers invite proposals for contributions that critically explore questions related to early modern Spanish and English literature, history and culture, language, Restoration English Studies, Early Modern Anglo-Spanish cross-cultural studies, and any aspect of the literary and cultural links between Cervantes and Shakespeare from their time to our own. Abstracts are due by 10 January 2016, and more information can be found here.

2016 isn’t just the Shakespeare quatercentenary. It’s also the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia and Desiderius Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum. Both of these works dealt freely with authoritative sources of western civilization and opened new pathways of thought on the eve of invasive religious and political changes. ‘Authority Revisited: Thomas More and Erasmus’ will take place from 30 November to 2 December 2016 at the University of Leuven, The Belgian city of Leuven is a most appropriate place to have this conference organized, since it was intimately involved in the genesis and the history of both works. The conference will be devoted to studying not only the reception and influence of Utopia and the Novum Instrumentum in (early) modern times, but also their precursors in classical antiquity, the patristic period, and the middle ages. Abstracts are due by 15 January 2016, and full details can be found here.

Another conference focusing on Utopia will be held at St. Thomas More College, University Of Saskatchewan, Canada from 22-24 September 2016. This conference seeks to address the varieties of utopia and utopianism that More’s work and those influenced by it have dared imagine. Proposals are invited on a range of topics that address More’s Utopia, its context, reception and influence, but also those that more broadly address the idea of utopias and utopianism in other political, philosophical, literary, social and historical contexts. More details are online here, and 8 January 2016 is the submission deadline.

2016 also marks the four-hundredth anniversary of the  publication of Ben Jonson’s 1616 Folio. To celebrate this anniversary, ‘”Dare to Tell”: Silence and Saying in Ben Jonson’ will take place from 1-3 April 2016 at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.  What does it mean to be called into question, to speak out or to stay silent, to have innocent thoughts, guilty looks, or culpable dreams? Jonson’s plays, comic and tragic, foreground the processes of imaginative interpretation that condition people’s actions, values and their very being. This conference will explore themes of publication and performance broadly conceived, and abstracts are due by 26 February 2016. The full call is available here.

On 20 April 2016, a symposium on ‘Disability and Shakespearean Theatre’ will be held at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. This symposium draws together growing research interest in disability studies and Shakespearean theatre. In discussing the depiction, treatment, and uses of disability in Shakespeare’s work (and that of his contemporaries) alongside analysis of the role of disability in staging of his plays, the organisers hope to encourage interaction between creative practitioners, historians, and literary scholars. Read more about it here, and submit your proposal by 15 January 2016.

The 4th annual ‘Othello’s Island’ conference–a multidisciplinary event focusing on medieval and Renaissance studies–will be held held in Nicosia, Cyprus from 17-20 March 2016, and abstracts are being accepted until 31 January 2016. You can read more about it here.

4 January 2016 is the deadline to submit an abstract for the 9th annual ‘Britain and the World Conference’, the annual conference of The British Scholar Society. Paper and panel proposals should focus on Britain’s interactions with the world from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the present. The conference is scheduled to take place from 23-25 June 2016 at Senate House, University of London, and full details are available here.

The University of Leeds, UK will be hosting a Northern Renaissance Seminar event entitled ‘Communication, Correspondence and Transmission in the Early Modern World’ from 12-13 May 2016. It is a commonplace that the advent of printing in Europe revolutionised communication and the transmission of ideas. This event seeks to complicate and move beyond the ‘printing revolution’ narrative to consider the messy and multiplicitous facets of communication, correspondence, and transmission in the early modern world. How was it conceptualised, theorised, or deployed as metaphor? What were its geographical, temporal, or linguistic limits? How might it be transgressive or disruptive, and who might try to circumscribe it? 15 January 2016 is the deadline to submit an abstract, and further particulars can be found here.

Early modern people understood collections of information as ‘treasuries’, both in a metaphorical and a material sense. Collecting and storing information created a useful cumulative repository for present and future reference. Moreover, collections were preserved in jewel houses or treasure rooms, their contents locked up in chests or boxes, thus reinforcing the idea that information was a valuable commodity to which access should be moderated. They were situated at the interface between past and future, particular documents and larger structures. They also raise questions of secrecy and access, value and materiality. A one-day workshop on ‘Treasuries of Knowledge: Collecting and Transmitting Information in the Early Modern Period’ will take place on 8 April 2016 in Cambridge, UK. More details are available here, and abstracts are due by 8 January 2016.

Private libraries have many of the qualities of an archive: they are testaments to and records of an era in terms of culture, philosophical thought, historical knowledge, architectural design, and so forth. In the case of personal libraries, collections can paint the broadest picture of what and (sometimes) when ideas were being read, internalized, and absorbed into an owner’s life and work. A conference on ‘Reading, Researching, and Using the Private Library’ asks contributors to consider how researchers, writers, and the general public can use the library as a tool for engaging with various fields of scholarship. Of particular interest to this conference are papers on personal libraries and libraries from the perspective of users. This event will take place at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada from 17-19 June 2016, and proposals are due by 15 January 2016. More information can be found here.

Calls for Manuscripts

Death is an enigma. No less so in literature—where, most famously, it is Hamlet’s ‘undiscovered country’. Indeed, the very boundary between life and death is itself reminiscent of the boundary between the fictional and the real. Consider, for example, death in the theatre, where dying on stage has so much potential for drawing attention to the illusory nature of theatre. Indeed, what does it mean that a “death” on stage can itself draw attention to the very artificiality of the stage, except that one death inevitably entails another? The death of illusion. The loss of innocence. Or consider Macbeth, speaking of his queen’s death and imagining his own imminent demise: ‘Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more’. The play itself only manages to outlive its namesake by 47 lines before it, too, is “heard no more.” Perhaps the “always-already” inevitability of death in tragedy is why it remains such a compelling theatrical mode. Chapters are being sought for an edited volume entitled ‘Narrating Death: The Limit of Literature’. You can read the full call  here and should plan to submit either a proposal or full chapter to the editors by 15 January 2016.

The next forum for Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal will be published in October of 2016, and it will focus on women and science. Topics to be considered may include any subject that addresses the activity of women in science (including medicine), natural philosophy, or natural history broadly conceived. Forum pieces may consider, for example, women as scientists in any field, the influence of women as patrons of scientists and academies, or the scientific study of gender. Proposals on other related topics are welcome. Completed essays of 3000-3500 words are due by 15 January 2016, and further information can be found here.

The Shakespeare Newsletter will celebrate its 65th anniversary of publication in 2016, and also in 2016 it will celebrate the second anniversary of SNL’s new online presence, ‘In the Glassy Margents.’ This blog–designed to offer Shakespeareans reviews of new plays and films, recently-published books, etc.–serves as a supplement to the print journal, which has just adopted a publication schedule of two 60-page issues per year. SNL editor Thomas J. Moretti offers some background: ‘Our purpose “in the glassy margents” is to plot new terrain for reports, reviews, scholarship, and reflections on topics not readily covered by or accessible within well established news websites. The editorial board will ensure that each contribution demonstrates knowledge of early modern literature, culture, and/or contemporary performance. Whenever seminal books and performances are covered, reviewers will themselves hail from somewhere along the margins when possible: new scholars, retired professors, unaffiliated enthusiasts, Ph.D. candidates, and adjunct scholars’. The best way to get the flavor of the new SNL initiative is to access the site here.


The Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, invites applications by 7 January 2016 for up to four Early Career Fellowships. Opening its doors in 1737, Göttingen quickly established itself as one of Europe’s leading Enlightenment universities. Named after one of the most important and versatile representatives of the Göttingen Enlightenment, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg is an interdisciplinary research institute with a strong focus not only on the Enlightenment(s), but also on ‘bridges’ between the human and natural sciences and the history of political thought. For the period March 2016 to July 2017, early career scholars are invited to join one of the research groups for the study of either: ‘Globalising the Enlightenment: Knowledge, Culture, Travel, Exchange and Collections’ (1 Fellowship); ‘European Intellectual History / History of Political Thought’ (2 Fellowships); or ‘Primate Cognition: Philosophical, Linguistic, and Historical Perspectives’ (1 Fellowship). Further information is available here.

A ‘Women in the Humanities Visiting Fellowship’ at the University of Oxford (£1,500) is available to scholars working on women’s lives, identities and representations in the humanities (broadly defined). The fellowship is intended to cover some of the costs associated with undertaking research in Oxford and can be taken up at any time between 25 April 2016 until 21 June 2018. The Fellowships are open to those who hold permanent faculty positions and are working on women’s lives, identities and representation in the humanities, and each visiting fellow must have a named host or collaborator, who is a current postholder (an academic in a permanent academic post) at Oxford University. More information can be found here, and applications are due by 15 January 2016.


Up to four paid Education Research Internships are being offered to work with the Education Department at Shakespeare’s Globe. This is a fixed-term part-time post open to students on postgraduate (MA or PhD) courses in Shakespeare Studies, Renaissance Studies or a similar discipline. Interns will work with the Head of Higher Education and Research, the Research Fellow and Research Co-ordinator to provide dramaturgical assistance to Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse productions and support in-house research projects. 4 January 2016 is the application deadline, and more details can be found here.


Author Lindsay

Lindsay Ann Reid is a regular contributor to The Scrivener and Early Modern and Open Access. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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