Exploring Entangled Histories: Britain and Europe in the Age of the Thirty Years’ War, c.1590-1650

On his deathbed, Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt famously declared that the “silver sea” around the “precious stone” of England served “in the office of a wall / Or as a moat defensive to a house.” But the seas that separate the British Isles from the European Continent have long been bridges as well as walls, connective tissue as well as defensive moats. Four hundred years after the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War, and two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, this conference inverts Gaunt’s prophetic inspiration to consider the entangled histories of the British Isles and the European Continent from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. Paying particular attention to the transnational movement of people, texts, objects, cultural forms, information, and ideas, invited speakers will examine how European entanglements shaped individual and collective experience, and influenced the course of early modern political, social, literary, and artistic history.


OrganizerAlastair Bellany is Professor of History at Rutgers University and author, with Thomas Cogswell, of The Murder of King James I (2015). His research focuses primarily on the political culture of early modern England, in particular the histories of media, popular politics, and the image of the early Stuart court.


SpeakersJoad Raymond (Queen Mary University of London) will deliver the keynote lecture on Thursday evening, Stronger In: Britain as Centre and as Periphery in European News. On Friday and Saturday, the following speakers will address a number of related themes: Thomas Cogswell (University of California, Riverside), Helmer Helmers (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Brendan Kane (University of Connecticut), Noah Millstone (University of Birmingham), Rupali Mishra (Auburn University), Steve Murdoch (University of St. Andrews), Carmen Nocentelli (University of New Mexico), Jane Ohlmeyer (Trinity College Dublin), Jason Peacey (University College London), Nigel Smith (Princeton University), Malcolm Smuts(University of Massachusetts, Boston), and Scott Sowerby (Northwestern University).


The provisional program with the speakers’ abstracts is here.


ScheduleThursday evening, Friday, and Saturday, 12 – 14 April 2018.


The hospitality fee is $25, and the registration form may be found here: https://www.folger.edu/exploring-entangled-histories-britain-and-europe-in-the-age-of-the-thirty-years-war-c1590-1650s


Please send a message to institute@folger.edu if you are interested in taking advantage of the negotiated room rate of $189/night.