Writing Religious Conflict and Community in the Southwest, 1500–1800
Friday 21st April 2023
Proposals are invited for a day conference at the University of Exeter on religious identity, community and conflict in the southwest of England from 1500-1800, and their representation in written and printed texts. Proposals are welcome focusing on any religious group in the period (including conformists, Puritans, Protestant Nonconformists/Dissenters, Catholics, freethinkers, Jews and Muslims) and the relationships between them, and on any kind or genre of writing, but papers should have a clear link to the southwest region.
Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):
- Devotional, polemical, didactic and narrative modes of religious writing, and their dissemination via manuscript circulation and the printed book trade.
- The role of religion in political upheavals in the southwest, such as the Prayer Book Rebellion/Western Rising of 1549, the Civil Wars, and the Glorious Revolution.
- The shaping and practice of conformist/‘Anglican’ religion by writers including theologians such as Richard Hooker and poets such as Robert Herrick.
- Texts emerging from or responding to Dissenters in the southwest including Presbyterians, Independents/Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Unitarians and Methodists.
- The Exeter Arian controversy and the split between ‘orthodox’ and ‘rational’ Dissent.
- Jewish communities in the southwest, including the Ottolenghi Affair of the 1730s.
- Encounters with the Islamic world (e.g. via travel writing and captivity narratives).
Within this religiously plural and contested region, individuals and religious groups expressed their convictions and communal identities as well as their relationships and conflicts with others through a wide variety of written genres. These texts include poems, sermons, prophecies, pamphlets, letters, travel writing, captivity narratives, diaries, memoirs, and spiritual autobiographies. We welcome exploration of such texts from a variety of methodological approaches, including approaches derived from history, literary studies, bibliography, theology, network analysis and more. We anticipate these discussions providing unique insights into the construction of shared identities and collective memories, and the ways in which these play out in local histories of community and conflict. An edited collection of selected papers from the conference is also envisaged for publication.
Please send a biography (100 words), along with a CV, title and brief abstract (250 words) of a 20 minute paper, or for panels (3 x 20 minute papers) to email@example.com by 13th January 2023. Early expressions of interest welcome. Remote participation may be possible for participants unable to travel to Exeter – please get in touch if this would be of interest. Modest travel bursaries (on request via e-mail) are available for postgraduate students whose papers are accepted.
Organised by Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter’ (ReConEx) in association with the International John Bunyan Society with the endorsement of the Ecclesiastical History Society.
Dr David Parry, Department of English and Creative Writing, University of Exeter