CFP: Worlding Early Modern France, RSA 2018, New Orleans

Session title: Worlding Early Modern France

Session keywords: Material culture, the global turn, ancien-régime France, court culture, cross-cultural encounters, transcultural aesthetics.

Discipline: History/Art History

Chair: Dr Robert Wellington (Australian National University)

Panel abstract:

The early modern age (1500-1700) was, perhaps, the first truly global period in human history. As many recent studies have shown, migration and global movement are not just modern phenomena. Indeed, scholars of early modern history, art and visual culture have cogently argued that studies of the historical movement of people, objects, and cultural ideas are vital to understanding and reconciling the myriad cultural perspectives of our own societies. The resistance to ‘globalisation’ in the academy—with its implicit cultural homogeneity—raises the question of how people, objects, images and ideas operate in communities that aspire to celebrate and maintain cultural diversity. Surveys that promise a ‘global’ or ‘world’ history run the risk of subsuming all cultures to a single simplistic narrative that fails to engage with the complex and varied epistemologies that are evident in different cultures.This has led scholars to call for a ‘worlding’ of history, to support pluralities of local, national and international discourse, to accommodate a variety of worldviews.

This session responds to this call, inviting proposals for papers that reveal complex networks of cultural exchange between France, her colonies, and other cultures in the early modern world. Papers that address this theme with a focus on the following issues are especially welcome: Embassies, emissaries and ambassadorial gifts to and from the French Court; the movement of people and things across international borders; the individual agents and bureaucratic mechanisms of that process; local and international trade networks; the complex ‘lives’ of objects as they move into new cultural contexts; centres and peripheries of power in the francophone world; and the cultural agency of slaves and occupied people in French colonies.

Proposals, to be submitted by email to by Friday, May 26, must include the following:

  • a paper title (15-word maximum)
  • abstract (150-word maximum) abstract guidelines
  • keywords
  • a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum). Prose bios will not be accepted. CV guidelines and models
  • first, middle, and last name; affiliation; and email address