Moveable Types: People, Ideas, and Objects Cultural exchanges in early modern Europe

Country: United Kingdom

City: Kent

Abstr. due: 01.08.2014

Dates: 27.11.14 — 29.11.14

Area Of Sciences: Sociology; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: University of Kent, School of History


Moveable Types is a three day conference which aims to re-examine the processes of cultural exchange in early modern Europe. Traditional historiography has tended to focus on a bilateral transfer of cultures, which, however meaningful, also lift out individual moments of cultural exchange from the environment which made such encounters not only possible, but also significant. By considering cultural exchange in discrete, isolated moments, one runs the risk of oversimplifying the complex networks of cultural exchange in Europe, and thereby skewing European history into a nation-centred perspective.

Recent scholarship such as histoire croisée, entangled histories, cultural translation and actor network theory (ANT) are, meanwhile, looking at such processes in their entirety, as a noisy hubbub rather than a dialogue between binaries (writer and reader, buyer and seller, one nation and another). These approaches explore a network of different elements and characters, all of which are given equal agency in shaping each others' views of the world.

This conference will explore the implications of these recent developments in scholarship by inviting papers with an interdisciplinary approach to cultural exchange in the early modern period. The objective is thus to question the binaries of traditional scholarship, and to suggest new ways of considering the cultural connections that were being formed, broken and reformed in this period.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

– Andrew Pettegree (University of St Andrews);

– Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford);

– Gilles Bertrand (Université Pierre Mendès France, Grenoble);

– Ruth Ahnert (Queen Mary, University of London).


We invite papers on the following topics:

― literary translation and adaptation;

― exchange of ideas (scientific, humanist, technological, artistic);

― epistolary networks;

― theory of cultural exchange or cultural networks;

― paths of ambassadors, sailors, traders, book pedlars and other travellers;

― news, gossip and news books;

― spaces of cultural exchange: cities, fairs, universities, theatres;

― the making, trading, and consumption of consumer items;

― any other paper relating to early modern cultural exchange.


Conference Web-Site: