Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shaping Strangers in Early Modern English Travel Writing, 1500–1700

Proposed session for the RSA meeting in Venice, 2010

Early modern English professional and educational travellers were fascinated by the variety of foreigners they encountered abroad, whether in the Mediterranean islands, the vast domains of the Ottoman Empire, Persia, or the Mughal Empire. The ways in which they depicted foreign peoples, their practices of every day life, religious rituals and outward appearance, sheds light on the categorizations of religious and ethnic identities available in the early modern period, and how these were connected to then current world views and cultural knowledge systems. The organizers welcome proposals from graduate students as well as more senior scholars of early modern history and literature for papers at the Renaissance Society of America Annual meeting, to be held in Venice on 8-10 April 2010.

Possible topics include:
- signs of ethnicity in outward appearance
- representations of religious practices and rituals
- ideas about foreign customs and every day life
- depictions of minorities and majorities
- The impact of climate and geography on people

Please send a brief abstract (max. 200 words), specification of audio-visual requirements, and contact data (email and academic addresses) as well as a short CV, to the organizers, Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg, ( and Dr Chloë Houston ( with the subject line "Venice RSA", by Friday, April 11th. Accepted proposals will be announced by early May. It is hoped to edit selected papers into a collection of articles.


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