Call for Papers
Societal Sidelines: Exclusion and Resilience in the Early Modern World
International Symposium at the University of Tokyo, Japan
July 13-14 2024
Paper proposals are now being accepted for ‘Societal Sidelines’ symposium, to be held this July in hybrid format at Kojima Hall, University of Tokyo. For full consideration, please submit your abstracts (350 words max.) to email@example.com by April 15th, 2024.
A limited amount of support towards partially offsetting travel costs can be provided to speakers who can demonstrate financial need. Please also note that this conference will take place in a hybrid format – those who cannot travel to Tokyo are warmly invited to participate via Zoom. If you would like to present online rather than in-person, please indicate this when submitting your abstract.
Recent oppression and violence across the world – from Sudan to Myanmar, Ukraine to Gaza have highlighted how easily social and economic lives can be dislocated. These kinds of situations have resulted in millions of men and women fleeing home as refugees. Given how topical the issues of refugee and minority rights are in the present day, this conference will address the history of human survival and resilience in the face of major disasters. How have persecuted communities managed, historically, to cope in hostile environments? We will do this by focusing on an earlier global age, when emerging states, with increasing military power, waged wars which persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, with far-reaching consequences.
We wish to organize an interdisciplinary meeting of scholars to explore these topics. Speakers may be specialized in early modern literature, or social, cultural, or economic history. Across the Humanities, there has been renewed interest in recent years in the study of ‘forgotten histories’ – the stories of the lives and livelihoods of those who may not feature in mainstream or official accounts. This symposium seeks to contribute to this scholarly turn by focusing on the experiences of minority groups in the early modern period. By ‘minority’, we mean those who defined themselves in opposition to the dominant practices of the societies in which they lived, due to linguistic, religious, racial, or other affiliations. What strategies did members of these groups employ in order to negotiate their financial and cultural survival? What can sources tell us about the adaptation – or lack thereof – of disadvantaged communities to hegemonic structures ? By considering the socio-economic practices of those on the ‘sidelines’ of society, we can gain a better understanding of how the early modern world operated as a whole.
Papers may address topics related to the following subject areas:
-informal trade via ‘black markets’/shadow economies outside of mainstream channels
- religious minorities
- the experiences of LGBTQ+ people
- the effects of state-run violence (e.g. the Thirty Wars’ Year, the Transatlantic slave trade, etc.) on personal and domestic practices
- coping strategies of disabled people
- debates on women’s education
- ‘native’ non-European knowledge and dealings with corporations such as the Dutch and British East India Companies
The geographical focus of this conference will be worldwide – we wish to encourage presenters to think about their subjects with a global perspective, and thus facilitate reflections on a wide range of different situations.
Note: for the purposes of this conference, the ‘early modern’ period will be broadly defined as the period from 1490 to 1800.