Communication, Correspondence and Transmission in the Early Modern World, CFP

Northern Renaissance Seminar

University of Leeds

Communication, Correspondence and Transmission

in the Early Modern World

12-13 May 2016

Call for Papers


It is a commonplace that the advent of printing in Europe revolutionised communication and the transmission of ideas. This Northern Renaissance Seminar event seeks to complicate and move beyond the “printing revolution” narrative to consider the messy and multiplicitous facets of communication, correspondence and transmission in the early modern world. How was it conceptualised, theorised or deployed as metaphor? What were its geographical, temporal or linguistic limits? How might it be transgressive or disruptive, and who might try to circumscribe it? We welcome contributions from a range of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, archaeology, languages, and drama.

We are delighted to announce Dr Sara Barker (University of Leeds) as the event’s keynote speaker.

Proposals are now being invited for 20-minute papers.  Topics to consider may include, but are not limited to:

  • Guides to written or spoken communication
  • Reading and interpreting private correspondence
  • Transmission of knowledge and circulation of news
  • Swift and delayed communications
  • Visual and other non-verbal communication
  • Transmission of ideas and physical texts across geographical boundaries
  • Transmission of narratives between texts
  • The dedicatory epistle
  • The body as communicative
  • Secret communication and manuscript coteries
  • Transmission of disease and infection, real and metaphorical
  • Poetry as correspondence
  • Geographical and cultural isolation from communication
  • Disordered, dysfluent or unclear communication
  • Accents and languages
  • Miscommunication and mistranslation


Please email proposals of no more than 300 words to by Friday 15th January 2016.  All queries should also be directed to this address.  Please also include biographical information detailing your name, research area, institution and level of study (if applicable).

Sessions will be held on the afternoon of Thursday 12th May and during the day on Friday 13th May. The conference will also include opportunities to visit the Royal Armouries and see the early modern treasures of Special Collections at the Brotherton Library.

Further details will be available on the conference website: