CFP: [Renaissance] New Worlds, New Publics (02/01/08; 09/25/08-09/27/08)

full name / name of organization: 
David Boruchoff
contact email: 

New Worlds, New Publics: Re(con)figuring Association and the Impact of
European Expansion, 1500-1700

The Newberry Library, Chicago
September 25-27, 2008

This symposium and the publication to follow from it are funded by the
interdisciplinary project on Making Publics: Media, Markets and
Association in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700. Supported by a Major
Collaborative Research Initiative grant from the Social Science and
Humanities Research Council of Canada, this project examines the various
forces that shaped the emergence and evolution of “publics”: open-
membership groups that coalesced around practices, interests, ideas,
values and forms of publication or performance in the early modern period.

Accounts of the cultural, intellectual, social and spiritual
transformations of early modern Europe have often weighed the role of new
media, technologies, techniques and markets, while ignoring the impact
that new geographic discoveries had on the Old World beyond the purview
of politics and economics. These discoveries not only expanded the
horizons of European thought but, more essentially, called into question
the certainties of classical and religious teachings. The result was a
twofold opportunity fraught with practical concerns and constraints: the
challenge to go beyond the known, looking outward, and to look again
inward with new eyes and new expectations.

This symposium proposes to examine the effects that these various
processes had upon publics in Europe and in the new domains of European
expansion and influence. How did racial, ethnic and cultural differences
impact upon traditional concerns, modes of thought, institutions,
practices or forms of association? Did “positionality,” one’s physical
location, affect the publics found there? For example, how did Puritan
publics in Europe differ from those in America? Did the publics of
Spanish Creoles in America differ from those of Peninsular Spaniards?
Were the roles of science and the arts the same in European publics at
home and abroad? And more generally: how was the creation and evolution
of publics informed by European discoveries in Africa, Asia, America and
elsewhere in the early modern period? How did these new publics differ,
especially in the eyes of their members, from traditional bodies such as
guilds, universities, congregations or parliaments?

The symposium will consist of a keynote address and four plenary
sessions, with twenty to thirty 30-minute papers, between Thursday and
Saturday, 25-27 September 2008. It is likely that some financial support
will be available to help defray the travel and lodging expenses of those
chosen to give papers.

Proposals (1-page abstracts + brief CVs) and inquiries should be sent to
the symposium director, Professor David A. Boruchoff (McGill University)
at: Proposers are encouraged to consult the
Making Publics website ( The deadline for
receipt of proposals is 1 February 2008.

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Received on Mon Oct 29 2007 - 09:13:15 EST