CFP: Early Modern Publics (11/8/06; 3/9/06-3/10/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Jeffrey P. Hehmeyer
contact email: 

Call for Papers

"Making Publics: Media, Markets, and Association in Early Modern
Europe, 1500-1800"

An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by
the Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara

March 9-10. 2007

What were early modern publics? How were they formed? What needs did
they serve for those who participated in them? And how did they
relate to the emergence of a cultural formation that we recognize as
distinctly early modern? These are among the questions we seek to
address in this conference.

We invite paper proposals from a wide range of disciplinary
perspectives that either examine particular instances of publics and
their formation or address the broader, more theoretical issues raised
by this wide-spread and under-studied phenomenon. If new media and
the markets through which their products were made available led to
new forms of voluntary association and identity, as they surely did,
how can we best describe the workings of that process and what
significance should we ascribe to it? How, in short, did the publics
for playgoing, for natural history, for madrigal singing, for
antiquarian scholarship, for amateur drawing, for geographical
learning, and for dozens of other voluntary activities come into
being? And what does it mean for a society when such groups grow and

This conference is being organized in conjunction with the
collaborative and interdisciplinary "Making Publics" project centered
at McGill University and funded by the Canadian Social Science and
Humanities Research Council ( The limit
dates of the McGill project are 1500-1700. Given the mission of the
Early Modern Center at UC Santa Barbara, we are extending the second
of those dates to 1800. This not only opens the way for the inclusion
of specifically eighteenth-century publics, but also invites
consideration of the relation between the multiple publics we examine
and the Habermasian "public sphere" that has long been a focus of
intense attention in eighteenth-century studies. Is the existence of
multiple publics a precondition for the emergence of a public sphere?
Or have they some more complex relation to one another?

Keynote speakers currently include David Harris Sacks, History, Reed College.

Abstracts and c.v.'s should be sent to by
November 8, 2006. We hope to complete the program and notify
applicants no later than December 1, 2006. Proposals for fifteen to
twenty-minute papers should be 300 words or less.

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Received on Sat Oct 14 2006 - 20:53:39 EDT