(image source: Oxford University)
The University of Oxford's Centre for Global History organizes a conference on violence in early modernity.
Organisation:This conference brings global approaches to the history of violence, reassessing the nature of violence during the early modern period. Using violence and the restraint of violence as a unifying theme, participants are encouraged to make trans-national comparisons and connections across the early modern world.An abstract of 400 words, accompanied by a short (two-page) CV, should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 December 2016.
The history of violence and its restraint has been crucial to definitions of ‘Western civilization’ and the modern world, often by contrasting them with barbaric predecessors and the cultures that they claim to have tamed. Yet, evidence for the restraint of violence varies according to one’s viewpoint: the sharp decline of homicide in seventeenth-century Europe, for example, diverges from the simultaneous rise in violence of Atlantic colonial societies. As histories of violence and restraint are usually written from national and nationalist perspectives, this conference brings global approaches to the study of violence in order to probe historical assumptions about the limits of violence and its decline during the early modern period. It thereby also questions narratives of the inexorable rise of the nation-state alongside historical periodization of the ‘early modern’ and ‘modern.’
Recent historical approaches to violence, shaped by the cultural turn, have tended to focus on inter-personal violence and its patterns in civil society. This conference will integrate warfare and other crucial forms of large-scale violence with recent scholarship on the history of collective and inter-individual violence. By examining large-scale, organized violence alongside broader social and cultural patterns, this conference will explore the boundaries between ‘war’ and ‘violence’, as well as how they relate to ideas of morality, social order, law, and political legitimacy in the early modern world. We encourage scholars to address contemporary perceptions of violence and its restraint, framing analysis through thematic, rather than geographic, approaches.
Given that we are encouraging scholars to probe assumptions about historical periods, our definition of ‘early modern’ is purposefully flexible.
Confirmed speakers include: Wayne Lee, Alan McFarlane, Stuart Carroll, Pratyay Nath, Brian Sandberg, Cecile Vidal, Lauren Benton, Adam Clulow, Simon Layton, Richard Reid, and James Belich.
We welcome papers that address:
- Global comparisons and indicators of violence
- Definitions of organized violence and crime, such as banditry and piracy
- Linkages between organized, collective and interpersonal violence
- Law’s penetration into oceanic, battlefield, domestic, and/or other novel arenas
- The nature of extra-territorial violence
- Actual practices of violence
- Toleration and restraint of violence
- Methods of measurement, used by contemporaries and/or historians, in assessing what is or was appropriate
We particularly welcome papers on violence in regions not covered by confirmed speakers, such as China, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Africa.
Peter H. Wilson, Chichele Professor of the History of War, University of Oxford
Marie Houllemare, Institut Universitaire de France, Université d’Amiens (CHSSC)
Erica Charters, Oxford Centre for Global History Centre, University of Oxford