Circulating Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Europe: Networks, Knowledge and Forms |

by Jessica C. Murphy

Circulating Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Europe: Networks, Knowledge, and Forms

Keynote speakers: Mark Greengrass, Margaret Ezell, and Richard Serjeantson

Presented in conjunction with the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society at the Royal Society, 6-9, Carlton House Terrace, London. 8-10 July, 2010

The seventeenth century in Europe was an age of turmoil. As wars, revolutions, and exploration redrew the boundaries of the physical world, a tumult of new ideas shifted the boundaries of the intellectual world. In poetry and in polemics, men and women involved in philosophy, theology, politics, and science created a dynamic knowledge economy.

Ideas were the currency of this economy – but how did writers, thinkers, and agents choose the forms in which that currency should circulate? This conference takes up that question, investigating the relationship between the circulation of ideas and the forms in which they circulated.

Forms. Ideas might circulate in manuscript or in print; in Latin, or in the vernacular. How were individual writers thinking about the effects or consequences of these choices? How might the language, form, and medium of these texts influence the reception of the content?

Networks. The circulation of ideas involved networks of intelligencers, scribes, printers, publishers, and booksellers. How did particular coteries and networks circulate their arguments? How does this collaborative aspect affect how modern scholarship construes their significance?

Knowledge. Concerns about censorship and secrecy – or conversely a perceived need for publicity – influenced how ideas in these fields are communicated. How were particular categories of content (scientific, satirical, literary, theological, or political) linked to particular material forms?

Possible panel topics might include:

• Science and medicine in circulation

• Literary communities/coteries

• the Republic of Letters

• Authorship and identity

• History of the book

• History of reading and reception

• Scribal publication

• Censorship

• Ciphers and codes

• Gender and knowledge

We welcome proposals for either full panels or individual papers.

Individual paper proposals should be 300 words long. For full panel proposals, please send all paper abstracts with an additional 300-word description of panel itself.

Proposals should be e-mailed to all three conference organizers (Ruth Connolly, Felicity Henderson, and Carol Pal) by 7 January, 2010.

Dr. Ruth Connolly:

Dr. Felicity Henderson:

Dr. Carol Pal:

See the conference website at: More details will be posted as available.

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