Deadline Extended: EBBA’s 20th Anniversary: Back to the Future

deadline for submissions: 
December 2, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of California - Santa Barbara (Early Modern Center)
contact email: 

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invites paper proposals for its 2023 conference, “EBBA’s 20th Anniversary: Back to the Future.” This interdisciplinary conference celebrates the culmination and 20th anniversary of the English Broadside Ballad Archive ( It thus encourages thought about EBBA’s past, present, and future as well as the role of digital archives in general. It will be held at UCSB on February 24 and 25, 2023 and will include a grand “Night of Songs” (reception, dinner, and ballad singing) on the evening of the 24th.

Questions to be addressed include the challenges of making a digital archive, procuring grant funding, and the aesthetics of early modern broadside ballads as well as their role as a key component of lived popular culture in the early modern period (1500-1800). Even as we move to “close” the EBBA website, we seek to inquire about the nature of its survival, along with the making and life of all such digital websites. We also continue to ask whether such databases function as cultural artifacts (i.e., indicators of their historical moments) or as re-creations of the current imaginary. What are the lasting impacts and legacies of ballad culture as digitally re-created? If ballads and broadsides have the capacity to show trends of popular culture, do they also have the potential to challenge them? Papers should address such issues central to the study of early modern ballads and broadsides may address topics including (but not limited to):

  • ballad collections as (questionably) reliable sources of the past

  • ballad multimedia (text, art, and song), taken together or representative individually of a life history

  • the “problem” of women on the street

  • representations of transgressive genders and sexualities

  • marriage and sex

  • race and colonization 

  • representations of disability

  • depictions of non-Anglican religions/religious figures

  • the rise of the political broadside in both England and America

  • cosmopolitanism

  • digital archives (challenges in making and preserving them)

  • the limits of open access

  • the holy grail of grants (that is, how to apply for and get large university, private, and/or federally funded grants)

Proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers should be 300 words or less, with a one page CV, and must be submitted by Friday, December 2, at 5:00 p.m. PT using our online submission form: Please direct questions and concerns to