Conference announcement: ‘Moveable Types: People, Ideas and Objects: Cultural exchanges in Early Modern Europe’ (27-29 Nov)

‘Moveable Types’ is a three-day conference, held at the University of Kent,  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.

Abstracts should be sent to before 1st of August
2014 and should not be longer than 300 words. Please include affiliation and contact
information, as well as a short biographical note, on a separate document.
For more information please visit or e-mail

Conference Sponsors:

‘Moveable Types’ is supported by The Royal Historical Society, The University of Kent’s School of History, The Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (KIASH), and Text and Event in Early Modern Europe (TEEME).