The Folger Institute has asked us to circulate the following conference announcement, which might be of particular interest to Early Americanists and Atlantic World specialists:
The Worlds of William Penn (1644-1718)
November 19-20, 2015
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
The Rutgers British Studies Center invites proposals for “The Worlds of William Penn,” a two-day conference that will revisit the contexts and controversies that made Penn’s life and times so compelling and offer new perspectives on the early modern Atlantic world that shaped him and that he in turn did so much to shape.
Although we are interested in Penn as a figure who participated in a wide array of events in the early modern world, we especially hope to use his life and career as a window onto broader contexts for the making of the British Atlantic world. At the height of his public career, between 1685 and 1688, William Penn was one of the best-known Dissenters in England, confidante of King James II, and governor of a bustling American colony. At its depths, he was imprisoned on suspicion of Jacobite plotting, and served time in debtors’ prison. But between the late 1660s, when he burst onto the public scene as a young agitator for popular liberties, and the second decade of the eighteenth century, when declining health removed him from political life, William Penn played an outsized role in English politics, the development of Quakerism, the articulation of religious liberty as a fundamental component of legitimate government, and the launching and governance of a major American colony.
We welcome proposals for papers that take up the complex world in which Penn operated,and that reflect on the ongoing legacies of the early modern world to broader questions and concerns across a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary domains. Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
· Anglo-American political thought
· Quakerism and Dissent
· Gender, law, religion, and society
· Literature and the Restoration stage
· Colonization and plantation: Ireland and America
· Immigration, trade, and the flow of people and goods
· Science and natural philosophy
· Cities and urban life
· Empire, enslavement, and encounters with indigenous populations
· Conflict, violence, persecution, martyrdom
· Material and visual culture and the folkways of early modern life
Proposals should include a one-page abstract describing the paper as well as a short curriculum vitae, and should be submitted as email attachments (PDF or MSWord, please) to [log in to unmask] no later than April 30, 2015. Please direct any questions to Andrew Murphy, the conference’s convenor, at [log in to unmask].
Funds may be available to help defray costs for graduate student presenters.