Keynote speakers:  Mark Greengrass, Margaret Ezell, and Richard Serjeantson

Royal Society, London.   8-10 July, 2010

Presented in conjunction with the 350

th anniversary of the Royal Society

The seventeenth century in Europe was an age of turmoil.  As wars, revolutions, and exploration redrew the boundaries of the physical world, a tumult of new ideas shifted the boundaries of the intellectual world.  In poetry and in polemics, men and women involved in philosophy, theology, politics, and science created a dynamic knowledge economy.

Ideas were the currency of this economy – but how did writers, thinkers, and agents choose the forms in which that currency should circulate?  This conference takes up that question, investigating the relationship between the circulation of ideas and the forms in which they circulated.




Possible panel topics might include:

Science and medicine in circulation

Literary communities/coteries

the Republic of Letters

Authorship and identity

History of the book

History of reading and reception

Scribal publication


Ciphers and codes

Gender and knowledge

We welcome proposals for either full panels or individual papers.

Individual paper proposals should be 300 words long.  For full panel proposals, please send all paper abstracts with an additional 200-word description of panel itself.

Proposals should be e-mailed to all three conference organizers (Ruth Connolly, Felicity Henderson, and Carol Pal) by 7 January, 2010.

Dr. Ruth Connolly:

Concerns about censorship and secrecy – or conversely a perceived need for publicity – influenced how ideas in these fields are communicated.  How were particular categories of content (scientific, satirical, literary, theological, or political) linked to particular material forms?  The circulation of ideas involved networks of intelligencers, scribes, printers, publishers, and booksellers.  How did particular coteries and networks circulate their arguments?  How does this collaborative aspect affect how modern scholarship construes their significance?  Ideas might circulate in manuscript or in print; in Latin, or in the vernacular. How were individual writers thinking about the effects or consequences of these choices?  How might the language, form, and medium of these texts influence the reception of the content?

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Dr. Felicity Henderson:

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Dr. Carol Pal:

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See the conference website at: