Clerical Lives in Britain, c.1600-1800 – CALL FOR PAPERS

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Date / time: 1 June, 11:59 pm

University of Manchester

Clerical Lives in Britain, c.1600-1800 - CALL FOR PAPERS
British (English School), Portrait of an Unknown Clergyman. c. 1720/40. Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk. © The National Trust

Call for Papers, deadline – 1 June 2024

The Protestant clergy had a ubiquitous presence in early modern Britain and played a significant role in shaping its religious, cultural, social, and political landscape. We now know a considerable amount about the social background, education, recruitment, training, professionalisation, and responsibilities of the post-Reformation clergy. In recent years, the social lives of the early modern Protestant clergy have come into sharper focus with historians seeking to better understand this demographically diverse social cohort beyond the focus of ecclesiastical history.

This conference, held at the University of Manchester on 17 September 2024, joins this renewed historiographical focus on the clergy’s social lives and aims to broaden our purview of clerical experiences in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Whereas a wealth of research has examined the clergy and its changing social functions and roles during the tumult of the Reformation on the British Isles, this conference seeks to investigate clerical experience and behaviours in the later part of the early modern period with keynote speeches from

Professor Jacqueline Eales (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Professor Jon Stobart (Manchester Metropolitan University).

This conference therefore asks the following questions: how can we define the clergyman in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain? While scholars have explored their public lives as political agents and figureheads of the Protestant Churches in Britain (broadly defined) in great detail, what can we discover about their private lives away from the pulpits and the press? And how were these myriad lives represented in manuscript, print, and visual culture? We are particularly keen to receive proposals that focus on a greater range of historical actors in discussions of the clergy. We would also be interested in proposals from scholars who approach the clergy from a range of methodological and disciplinary approaches.

We invite papers on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Clerical autobiography and life-writing
  • Biographies of clergymen
  • Clerical wives, families, and dynasties
  • Clergymen’s domestic lives
  • Clergymen’s social lives
  • Clergymen’s political lives
  • Clergymen’s emotional lives
  • Clergymen’s material lives
  • Clergymen’s gendered lives
  • Clergymen’s recreational lives
  • Clergymen’s scientific lives
  • Clergymen’s cultural and artistic lives
  • Clergymen’s musical lives
  • Clergymen’s literary lives
  • Clergymen’s mobile lives
  • Clergymen’s precarious lives
  • Marginalised voices, e.g. curates and unbeneficed priests
  • Comparative lives, e.g. clergymen in Europe and America
  • Clergymen’s misdemeanours, e.g. intoxication
  • Digital histories of the clergy, e.g. the Clergy of the Church of England database

We welcome contributions from independent scholars, ECRs, and PhD students. Please send a 250-word abstract for papers of no more than 20 minutes and a short biography (max. 100 words) to Hannah Yip and Ben Jackson via no later than 1 June 2024. Alternatively, we would also welcome proposals for ‘lightning talks’ (10 minutes) to be incorporated into roundtable discussions. Please indicate your preferred format within your proposal.

NB. This conference will be held in person. Please get in touch if you need any particular arrangements to be made, or support provided, if you are interested in attending.