The Early Modern Parish (RSA 2020)

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Scott Oldenburg
contact email: 

The Early Modern Parish

The parish was a fundamental unit of social organization in the early modern period. It was a significant administrative unit for local governance as well as a site for the resolution of disputes. It was a focal point for religious practice and sometimes arguments over right religion. A given parish might encourage community or inspire resentment among parishioners. Work by Katherine L. French, Beat Kümin, Peter Lake, Natalie Mears, Alec Ryrie, and Robert Whiting (to name only a very few scholars) all attest to the continuing relevance of the parish in early modern studies. I am seeking papers on the pre- and/or early modern parish from any relevant discipline for a proposed session (or possibly multiple sessions) at the Renaissance Society of America, 2020 in Philadelphia, PA.


Topics might include (but are by no means limited to):

• community and/or conflict within a particular parish

• gender dynamics within a particular parish (or parishes)

• the parish as an instrument of bureaucratic control (or site of subversion)

• ritual within a particular parish

• the literary world of a parish

• parish funeral monuments as literature

• class dynamics in a specific parish

• disputes over religion at the parish level

• the role of the laity in the parish

• parish guilds

• microhistorical work on a particular parish

• change from medieval to early modern within the parish


Those interested in presenting should send the following to Scott Oldenburg ( by August 1, 2019: 1) abstract of 100-150 words, 2) cv, 3) a/v needs, 4) other accommodations needed. Graduate students please indicate expected year of completion.