Enemies in the Early Modern World 1453-1789: Conflict, Culture and Control Back

From Luther’s insistence that the Pope is the antichrist, to Cortes’s justification of the conquest of Mexico on the grounds of Aztec human sacrifice, from the expulsion of Jewish people from the Iberian peninsula following the Reconquista to the subjugation and enslavement of human lives to fuel the trans-Atlantic slave trade, from Dutch trials for homosexuality in the 1730s, to accusations of witchcraft during the British Civil Wars, the conflicts and exploitations of the Early Modern World were often fueled and ‘justified’ by a belief in an enemy. Such belief systems would inspire textual, visual and auditory polemic, and propel physical action, thereby ‘othering’ people of a different religion, ethnicity, culture, dynastic allegiance, gender and sexuality into imagined enemies, justifying the need to control and inflict violence upon them.

This conference (27th – 28th March, 2021), open to researchers of history, literature, visual culture, politics, theology, philosophy and archaeology etc, will explore the processes by which individuals, communities, and countries were fashioned into the role of the enemy, as well as the dreadful consequences, such as war and persecution. By moving from the local to the national, from the national to the global, and through an interdisciplinary vantage point, we aim to reconstruct the construction of enemies in the Early Modern World.

We invite papers from researchers at every stage of their academic journeys, and PhD students and Early Career Researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this conference will be completely online via a TBD conferencing platform.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof Jyotsna Singh (Michigan State University); Dr Helmer Helmers (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences); Prof Diane Purkiss (Keble College, University of Oxford); Prof Adrian Streete (Glasgow University); Prof Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania).

Plenary Talks From Dr Matthew Rowley (University of Leicester) and Dr Min Wild (University of Plymouth).

Papers might explore:

Rivalries between Europe’s dynastic states
Confessional Conflict Justifications for, and arguments against processes of colonization
Representations of different ethnicities and nationalities
Scapegoating of the ‘Other’ and minority groups.
Discourses on non-heteronormative relationships
Encounters during exploration and globalization War and its representations
The status, and treatment of refugees and prisoners
Justifications for Persecution
Archetypes of evil in literature and visual culture.
Political polemic and propaganda
Debates surrounding Toleration
Economic and familial rivalries
Rebellion against perceived tyranny
As we at the University of Edinburgh are a Scottish University, we will be creating special panels on the broad theme ‘The Creation of the Enemy in Early Modern Scotland’. These might explore for example, religion and witchcraft as well as political loyally/disloyalty.

Please indicate in your application if you wish to be part of the ‘The Creation of the Enemy in Early Modern Scotland’ panels. Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to early.modern.enemies@gmail.com along with a brief bio of circa 100 words addressed to Thom Pritchard and Eleonora Calviello by the 30th September 2020.