Update: the date has been changed from Sept 6 to Sept 13, 2013.
Teaching to Hate in Early Modern Europe: The Propagation of Hatred through Vernacular Print, 1450-1800.
Call for Papers
Friday 13 September 2013
Queen Mary, University of London (United Kingdom)
International One-day Conference
A Joint Collaboration between the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and Queen Mary, University of London
The invention of the printing press in the middle of the fifteenth century revolutionised the production and dissemination of ideas across Europe. Previously limited to handfuls of manuscripts copies, books and pamphlets could now be produced in hundreds and thousands of copies. Moreover, the development of vernacular literacy amongst the laity between 1450 and 1800 meant that there was a new and expanding readership. The impact of typographical printing on the social, religious and intellectual development of Europe – and more particularly its role in the Enlightenment – has been widely acknowledged by historians and even by contemporary observers. As early as the early seventeenth century, the English statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon could write that typographical printing, alongside gunpowder and the compass had “changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world”.
A far less studied aspect of the printing revolution in early modern Europe has been the appearance of “hate literature” printed vernacular languages that aimed at reaching new audiences and spreading fear and hatred against religious, sexual and ethnic dissenters. Medieval treatises and polemics had been written in Latin by churchmen and with a readership limited to fellow churchmen. With the invention of the printing press, however, an ever growing number of polemical works were written and published in the vernacular and aimed at a new kind of reader: the increasingly literate laymen of Europe’s burgeoning towns. These works, which would today be categorised as “hate literature”, deliberately sought to instigate or sustain moral panics directed against marginal groups: Jews, Muslims, different Christian denominations, alleged witches and homosexuals. Martin Luther’s notorious antisemitic treatise Von den Jüden und jren Lügen is probably the most famous example of this literature but there existed a great number of others workes across Europe. Examples include works such as the Centinela contra judios of Friar Francisco de Torrejoncillo (first published in 1674, with at least twelve editions) or Manuel Sanz’s Tratado breve contra la secta mahometana (1603) in Spain and Henry Holland’s A Treatise against Witchcraft (1590) or Andrew Marvell’s An Account of the growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government (1677) in England.
This one-day conference seeks to gather scholars whose research is on countries and kingdoms from across early modern Europe to examine the following questions: How important was vernacular “hate literature” in early modern Europe? How did authors seek to inspire hatred and fear amongst a lay audience with a limited education? How much did such
works owe to medieval polemics? Why were certain groups specifically targeted? Are there similarities between “hate literature” produced in different regions? Who read such works and why?
Papers can relate to any of the following topics:
Methods of demonization of different ethnic and religious groups.
The use of conspiracy theories.
The use of printed sermons to incite hatred of particular groups.
The contextualisation of early modern “hate literature.”
The evolution of “hate literature” and rhetoric.
The use of emotional language, themes and images.
The readership and reception of ”hate” literature.
The social and intellectual impact of early modern “hate literature”.
The proceeding of the conference will be published as a peer-reviewed edited volume.
Postgraduate travel bursaries will be available.
Enquiries and abstracts (250 words) should be emailed before 30 January 2013 to Dr Francois Soyer (firstname.lastname@example.org).