Sunday, February 18, 2007

London in Text and History, 1400-1700

13-15 September 2007 at Jesus College, Oxford, UK
Organisers: Ian Archer (Oxford), Matthew Davies (Centre for Metropolitan History, London), Ian Gadd (Bath Spa), Tracey Hill (Bath Spa), Paulina Kewes (Oxford)

Plenary speakers: Caroline Barron, Paul Griffiths, Rob Hume, Mark Jenner, Mark Knights, Peter Lake and Peter Stallybrass


This conference will focus on the variety of metropolitan identities, and how these were constructed, represented, and contested by contemporaries through a variety of media, including text (broadly defined), visual culture, maps, architecture and performance.

Between 1400 and 1700, London expanded hugely in population; it was affected by religious and political upheaval; it emerged from the shadow of its near-neighbour European competitors to become a world metropolis; and its physical face was transformed by the dissolution and the Great Fire. Our concern, however, is not so much with what these political, economic, or religious changes were but rather how they were figured in a range of forms and genres: ballads, drama, civic shows, sermons, pamphlets, poems, urban chronicles, topographical guides, paintings, engravings, and maps.

Lively literatures exist for medieval and early modern London but they rarely engage with each other nor do studies of post-Restoration London connect with the pre-civil war period. Consequently, plenary speakers will range widely to set up the major areas of debate, while the panels will be designed to encompass broad time-spans and to facilitate exchange among scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, architecture and cartography. The conference will also reflect on the impact of some 10-15 yearsworth of unprecedented scholarly attention to London.

We would particularly welcome proposals for papers relating to the following topics:

Ideas and beliefs
* The idea of the City. How contemporaries understood the city in local, national, and international terms
* Citizenship. The shaping and contestation of notions of citizenshipin London
* History and civic memory. Chronography, chorography, and civic history. The ways Londonersidentities were informed by their sense of the citys past and by the associations of particular places
* Belief and the citizen. Perceptions of the place of religion in the life of the capital; responses to and interpretations of religious change and controversy

Places and people
* The urban landscape. Ideas of civic/communal/private space; perceptions of boundaries, streetscapes and neighbourhoods; the representation of Londons physical expansion
* Urban deviance. The shaping of languages of deviance by the metropolitan experience; the representation of disorder and criminality
* Visual London. The changing ways in which the city was represented to itself and to others in maps, prints, and paintings
* Inclusion and exclusion: the problem of the stranger. Representations of aliensand foreigners; newcomers and the problem of marginality
* Londons business and commerce. The perception and representation of economic change and the citys position in relation to other cities; consumerism; financial and productive network

Texts and art
* Literary London. The ways in which writings about London were both shaped by and shaped the identities of Londoners
* Civic entertainments. Lord Mayors Shows, royal entries: pageantry, display, and politics
* Communication and information. Licit and illicit communication; the production and consumption of advertising and propaganda; gossip and civic reputation
* Readers, writers and the circulation of texts. Reading communities in the city; the creation of cultural networks

Proposals for papers (300 words max) should be sent by email to or by 1st March 2007.


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