CFP: Early Modern Emissaries (7/1/06; collection)

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Early Modern Emissaries (1550-1700)

           We invite papers for a proposed collection on early modern
emissaries and their role in England's expansionary ventures and
encounters across the globe. The messenger figure offers an interesting focal
point for the discussion of transnational exchange and intercourse,
particularly the ways in which s/he embodies the processes of representation
communication within the world of the literary / cultural text, itself an
'emissary,' striving to communicate and re-present certain perceptions of the
'real.' Drawing attention to the limits and licenses of communication, the
emissary is a reminder of the alien quality of foreign language and the
symbolic power of performative gestures and rituals.
        Contributions to this collection may address the literary and cultural
productions and representations of ambassadors, factors, traders,
translators, spies, middlemen, merchants, missionaries, and other agents, who
served as complex conduits for the global 'transport' of goods, religious
ideologies, and socio-cultural practices, throughout the early modern period.
Papers may take up the multiple ways in which the emissary became enmeshed in
emerging discourses of racial, religious, gender, and class differences.
They may consider how the emissary's role might have contributed to an
idealized progressive vision of a borderless world or, conversely, permeated
dissolved borders and boundaries between peoples only to further
specific group interests. While papers may study specific kinds of cross-
cultural activity (e.g. translation, missionary endeavors, diplomacy), or
specific areas of the world (e.g. Ireland, the Mediterranean, the Levant, the
New World, or Asia), we are especially interested in writing that examines the
connections and interplay of discourses from multiple domains, or
constructions of alterity that emerge from encounters with "otherness" of more
one kind.
     We welcome a range of theoretical approaches and methodologies, and are
open to work on different genres, including drama, travelogues, epistles,
ethnographies etc. This collection would be of interest to scholars working on
early modern travel and trade, the construction of racial and
cultural difference, and the dynamics of cross-cultural and protocolonial
encounters in the period.
     While we prefer complete papers (5000-10,000 words), detailed abstracts
will also be considered. Please send papers in MLA format, abstracts, and
inquires to Brinda Charry ( and and
Gitanjali Shahani ( by July 1st 2006.

Brinda Charry
Assistant Professor,
English Department
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03435.

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Received on Sun Mar 12 2006 - 18:17:58 EST