Call for Papers: SRS 10th Biennial Conference

Difficult Pasts

Since its inception as a period of historical enquiry, the Renaissance has been packaged as the rebirth of European civilisation following the long period of decline after the fall of the Roman Empire. While this narrative mischaracterises both the Renaissance and the rich tapestry that was medieval Europe, and has been largely discredited, the assumptions underpinning this founding myth of Western civilisation have shaped and continue to shape the development of Renaissance and early modern studies. For some time now, our disciplines have been reassessing and grappling with the implications of their frames of reference. Current debates over de-centring and decolonising research and teaching testify to the challenges of recovering controversial pasts and departing from a reading of history and culture in terms of a narrative of continued progress. By engaging with the complexity of a shared global past, scholars, heritage professionals, and community activists can attract negative publicity and resistance from those unwilling to explore how difficult pasts impact our present and future. This interdisciplinary conference offers a broad platform for evaluating and developing the trajectory of Renaissance and early modern Studies.

We invite researchers across the many fields of Renaissance and Early Modern studies — for instance, Art History, English and Comparative Literature, History, Music — as well as museum and gallery practitioners, curators, educators, and creative practitioners to submit proposals. Topics can include (but are not limited to):

  • Collective trauma
  • Colonialism
  • Decolonising and relabelling
  • Difficult spaces
  • Disability
  • The ethics of the archive
  • Environment and pollution
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Memory and forgetting
  • Monuments
  • Nostalgia and erasure
  • Oppression and exclusion
  • Power and disempowerment
  • Race
  • Religious conflict
  • Sensory experience and synaesthetic corruption
  • Silence and omission
  • Slavery
  • Squalor and sanitation
  • Trade
  • Travel, forced migration, and exile
  • Urban topography and memorialising trauma
  • Violence, abuse, and torture
  • War

As per previous SRS conferences, there will also be an Open Strand, which allows submissions that are not connected to the conference's core theme. We welcome proposals for panels, roundtables, lightning papers, seminars, or individual papers. If submitting a seminar proposal, please read the guidance on what is expected of seminar leaders and how we anticipate the seminar will be planned and conducted. It is anticipated that each parallel session will last ninety minutes. For panels, individual papers should last no more than twenty minutes, to allow approximately thirty minutes at the end for questions; shorter ‘lightning’ papers will also be considered. In addition to contact’s name and contact email, proposals should comprise the following:

Panels (including lightning papers): individual abstracts of 150-200 words for each paper and a brief overview of the panel’s scope of 150-200 words; full list of speakers.
Roundtables: outline of up to 300 words; full list of speakers and brief biography of not more than 150 words per speaker to show how the speaker’s expertise connects to the proposed roundtable.
Seminars: outline of up to 300 words; list of seminar leader(s) and brief biography of not more than 150 words per leader, detailing how their expertise connects to the proposed seminar.
Individual papers: abstract of 150-200 words.

'Linked' panels will also be considered: please submit the proposal as one document, providing information for each panel [abstracts, speakers etc] listed under the panel's subheading.

Our understanding of ‘Renaissance’ is broad and includes the full range of Early Modern Studies: we welcome applications from scholars at all stages of their careers, from those who are conducting research beyond academic institutions, in all disciplinary backgrounds, and across a wide chronological and geographical spectrum; we also prize bold, innovative, and provocative approaches to research. SRS supports the principle that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all, and is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

While we anticipate the majority of the conference to be delivered in-person, all plenary sessions will be livestreamed to remote delegates. Unfortunately, it is not possible to stream the in-person parallel sessions, but we will do our best to accommodate remote participation through having one session per each parallel session delivered online. Please indicate on your proposal whether you would need your session to be delivered online or in-person.

The deadline for submissions to be submitted via the website is Tuesday, 1 September 2022, 11.59pm BST. We anticipate communicating decisions on submissions by Monday 31 October 2022.

This form does not auto-save, and will time-out after 30 minutes. Please cut and paste your text.

Your full name

(if applicable)

.pdf, .doc, .docx or .txt. 8MB maximum file size.

Please use the following format as your filename: surname_forename_rensoc23

File name:

File size:

Please state whether you plan to attend the conference in-person or online. We are unable to stream in-person parallel sessions but will stream plenary sessions and parallel sessions where speakers need to present remotely.

Please note: you do not need to be a member of the SRS to submit a proposal and membership status will not inform the decision made on your submission.