Bodies of Water: Negotiating Urban and Rural Environment in Early Modern Europe – Cambridge Workshop

Date / time: 15 July, 12:00 am

Bodies of Water: Negotiating Urban and Rural Environment in Early Modern Europe - Cambridge Workshop


Call for Papers, deadline – 15 July 2022

This workshop aims to bring together scholars from early modern social, cultural, and environmental history, as well as intellectual historians and historians of science and material culture, to talk about water across different settings and geopolitical contexts in Europe between 1450 and 1700. The focus will be on early modern communities, their social and political institutions, and how they interacted with water.

We are interested in papers that address questions such as:

  • Who, if anyone, controlled water resources?
  • How was water distributed, and did it mirror social differences and hierarchies?
  • How did water infrastructures emerge from and were affected by conflicts between local and central authorities in the early modern period?
  • To what extent did this process bear political dimensions?
  • How did local communities across different geographical contexts contribute to reconfiguring these dynamics?
  • Whether natural or artificial, waterways could also serve for the disposal of waste. How was thisactivity regulated, and by whom?
  • Which was the status of public baths and spas? Could they be privately owned, or should they be considered a public asset?

By offering a lively and challenging setting for international scholars at all stages of their careers to share ideas and present work in progress, the goal of the event is to generate innovative, interdisciplinary research on the richness and diversity of water history. Considering the current environmental crisis and water inequality, the focus on water as a disputed asset is particularly topical and will hopefully raise broader questions relevant to the present.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, which will be followed by a Q&A. Please submit an abstract of not more than 250 words by 15 July 2022 to the organisers: Lavinia Maddaluno (, Davide Martino ( and Giacomo Savani (