Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Country: United Kingdom

City: Cambridge

Abstr. due: 07.01.2015

Dates: 09.07.15 — 11.07.15

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology; Sociology;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: University of Cambridge


Across faiths and regions and throughout the world, the home was a centre for devotion in the early modern period. Holy books, prayer mats, candlesticks, inscriptions, icons, altars, figurines of saints and deities, paintings, prints and textiles all wove religion into the very fabric of the home. While research into religious practice during this period often focuses on institutions and public ceremonies, it is clear that the home played a profound role in shaping devotional experience, as a place for religious instruction, private prayer and contemplation, communal worship, and the performance of everyday rituals.

The ERC-funded research project Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home will be hosting this three-day international interdisciplinary conference in July 2015. The project team invites proposals for 20-minute papers that explore domestic devotions in the early modern world. Papers may consider this theme from a variety of perspectives, including material culture studies, art and architectural history, gender studies, theology, religious studies, economic and social history, literary studies, musicology, archaeology and anthropology. Topics may include, though are not limited to

  • Religion, ritual and belief in the home
  • The use of images, objects or books in private devotion
  • Daily life and life cycles
  • The relationships between collective (e.g. institutional or non-familial) devotion and private devotion
  • The role of the senses in spiritual experience
  • The production and ownership of religious objects found in the home
  • Gender, race or age and devotional life
  • Policing and regulating household religion
  • Encounters between different faiths and traditions in domestic context
  • Domestic devotional spaces
  • Music in domestic devotion
  • Devotional literature

Plenary speakers will be Debra Kaplan (Bar-Ilan University), Andrew Morrall (Bard Graduate Center) and Virginia Reinburg (Boston College).

Conference Web-Site: