CfP: Civil Religion from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

CfP: Civil Religion from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

23-24 October 2019, Newcastle University

Civil religion – the belief that public religion could be subsumed within the administration of the state – has long been recognised by intellectual historians of the early modern period as a feature of republican discourse, most often conceived of as an inheritance from ancient Rome. This recognition, however, has allowed civil religion to remain underexplored as an intellectual tradition on its own terms. A language and concept seeking to reconcile church and state, it draws on numerous traditions, including the legacy of the Reformation and notions of Royal Supremacy, Freethought, Gallicanism, and more. Liberated from the confines of being a subsidiary to republicanism, a rich and complex discourse emerges, through which efforts were made to develop a persuasive vision for a religion conducive to a tolerant and harmonious citizen body. In order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of civil religion and its significance, an open dialogue between religious and intellectual historians is of fundamental importance, a dialogue which has previously been limited by the intense focus of scholars examining civil religion in its political dimension to the exclusion of religion. Moreover, a broad chronological overview of civil religion’s development from Antiquity to Enlightenment is required, beyond its origins in Republican Rome and episodic manifestations in the early modern period, further necessitating the interaction of scholars usually divided by chronological boundaries.

The aim of this conference is to facilitate these urgently needed discussions, bringing together religious and intellectual historians, classicists and early modernists, historians of scholarship and historians of political thought. The resultant rehabilitation of civil religion from its status as a handmaid of republicanism will not only promote methodological innovation through its interdisciplinary emphasis, but will interrogate dominant traditions in these disciplines regarding the relationship between church and state, and that between religion and the Enlightenment.

We are seeking proposals for papers on a range of questions, including, but not limited to:

  • Can a clear definition of civil religion be determined? How can a viable framework for its discussion be developed?
  • Was the religion of the Roman Republic a civil religion? How was this precedent used by later thinkers? Was it employed beyond the confines of republicanism?
  • To what extent were accounts of civil religion influenced by the historical context out of which they emerged?
  • How far did the notion of civil religion evolve as a response to the Reformation and its legacy?
  • In what ways did civil religion inform Enlightenment thinking?
  • Does civil religion need to be situated alongside irreligion, freethought, and priestcraft, or can it also be positioned as a discourse within the church?
  • What were the aims of civil religion? Were they simply negative, seeking the limitation of church power, or can they be interpreted as positive, as part of an effort to develop a civil, virtuous society?
  • What impact, if any, did civil religion have beyond political and religious discourse? How was it represented in literature, art, biographical writing, and scholarship?

Proposals are invited for papers of twenty minutes, with abstracts of no more than 300 words, to be submitted by Friday, 22 March 2019, to

For further info, please see the conference website.


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Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Course: ReIReS School in Paris

Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Course: ReIReS School in Paris

17-22 February 2019, École Pratique des Hautes Études

The École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in Paris is pleased to announce the ReIReS School 17-22 February 2019 on the use and study of special documents. Especially – but not only – PhD students and postdocs are welcome, both from ReIReS partners and other institutions.

Participants will: discover main types of special documents and techniques of analysis in a broad range of cultural areas: Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Roman Africa, Islamic, Byzantine and Chinese world, Medieval and Modern Europe; they will understand and compare various approaches of special archives and documents, according to different disciplinary fields: history of religions, religious studies, history of art, history of philosophy and theology, intellectual history; and finally, they will take part to a collective reflection on interdisciplinarity and its contribution to history of religions and religious studies.

Applications due: 15 January 2019

For further info, please see the ReIReS website.


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Workshop: First ReIReS Digital Humanities Course in Mainz

Workshop: First ReIReS Digital Humanities Course

21-23 January 2019, Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz

The First ReIReS Digital Humanities Course is organized by the Leibniz Institute of European History and will be held in Mainz, January 21-23, 2019. Young scholars, librarians and others affiliated to ReIReS partners and institutions outside the consortium are welcome to apply.

The Mainz DH course introduces participants to the theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects of Digital Humanities. By discussing, then, topics ranging from the changes digital technologies bring to the very identity of a scholar until the process of digitisation of their materials and research. The latter aspect is, furthermore, discussed within the context of digitisation of personal data and materials and at the same time by integrating one’s own data to larger systems.

The course as a whole is built on theoretical approaches with a methodological dimension that will equip the participants with the necessary skills to later experiment with other and/or new tools for their research as well.

Applications Due: 14 December 2018

For further info, please see the ReIReS website.


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Prize: Inaugural Germana Ernst International Prize for Campanella Studies 2018-2019

Inaugural Germana Ernst International Prize for Campanella Studies 2018-2019

Submissions due: 15 June 2019

On the second anniversary of Germana Ernst’s passing, her relatives together with the editor and collaborators of the international journal ‘Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche filosofiche e materiali storico-testuali’ are launching an award in her memory. Ernst was a scholar of Campanella’s work and of Renaissance philosophical culture, as well as the journal’s co-founder and co-editor. The initiative aims at encouraging, promoting and enhancing the academic activity of young scholars regarding the figure and writings of Tommaso Campanella.

The essay should be an original and unpublished contribution devoted to Tommaso Campanella and his work (historical-biographical, philological-textual, critical-interpretative or relative to the reception of his work).

The winning essay will be published in ‘Bruniana & Campanelliana’. Other submissions may be chosen for a special mention and publication in the journal or on Archivio Tommaso Campanella.

Eligibility: Scholars under 35 (on 15 June 2019) in possession of a Master’s or PhD degree.
Word limit: 60,000 characters (incl. notes and spaces)
Language: Italian, English, French, Spanish or German
Award amount: € 1,000

For further info and submission guidelines, please click here.


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New Book: Science in an Enchanted World: Philosophy and Witchcraft in the Work of Joseph Glanvill

New Book: Science in an Enchanted World: Philosophy and Witchcraft in the Work of Joseph Glanvill

Julie Davies

Best known as the Saducismus triumphatus (1681), Joseph Glanvill’s book on witchcraft is among the most frequently published from the seventeenth century, and its arguments for the reality of diabolic witchcraft elicited passionate responses from critics and supporters alike. Davies untangles the intricate development of this text and explores how Glanvill’s roles as theologian, philosopher and advocate for the Royal Society of London converge in its pages. Glanvill’s broader philosophical method and unique approach to the supernatural provide a case study that enables the exploration of the interaction between the rise of experimental science and changing attitudes to witchcraft.

Julie Davies is a Research Assistant at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne.

For details, please see the publisher’s website.


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New Book: Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences

New Book: Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences

Editors: James A. T. Lancaster & Richard Raiswell

The motto of the Royal Society—Nullius in verba—was intended to highlight the members’ rejection of received knowledge and the new place they afforded direct empirical evidence in their quest for genuine, useful knowledge about the world. But while many studies have raised questions about the construction, reception and authentication of knowledge, Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences is the first to examine the problem of evidence at this pivotal moment in European intellectual history. What constituted evidence—and for whom? Where might it be found? How should it be collected and organized? What is the relationship between evidence and proof? These are crucial questions, for what constitutes evidence determines how people interrogate the world and the kind of arguments they make about it.

In this important new collection, Lancaster and Raiswell have assembled twelve studies that capture aspects of the debate over evidence in a variety of intellectual contexts. From law and theology to geography, medicine and experimental philosophy, the chapters highlight the great diversity of approaches to evidence-gathering that existed side by side in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this way, the volume makes an important addition to the literature on early science and knowledge formation, and will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in these fields.

For more details, please see the publisher’s website.


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New ISIH Facebook Group

New ISIH Facebook Group

The International Society for Intellectual History (ISIH) has created a new Facebook Group, and will be phasing out the old Facebook page in the next three weeks. This is to allow the Society to take advantage of the new tools available through the Facebook Groups platform. To continue receiving announcement from the Society through Facebook, please visit our new ISIH Group on Facebook and choose to follow us. If you have any questions about the transition process, please email us at

Visit the new ISIH Facebook Group!


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CfP: Social Technologies and Global Knowledge Economies 1750-1850

CfP: Social Technologies and Global Knowledge Economies 1750-1850

4-6 April 2019, Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

The remarkable density of connections that characterized knowledge production between 1750 and 1850 has long figured in definitions of the “rise of modernity.” The commerce of ideas through correspondence networks and print as well as manuscript circulation in salons, learned societies and other institutions, has been celebrated as foundational to modernity’s more conspicuous highlights, from the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment to the political articulation of universal human rights. Indeed, the circulation of ‘useful knowledge’ – or, in today’s phraseology, the knowledge economy – remains integral to the modern concept of progress, formulated and adopted during the brief period between 1750 and 1850.

This interdisciplinary workshop, organized by Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study, will focus on interrogating these narratives of modernity in the context of the emergence of an array of ‘social technologies’ that enhanced networks of knowledge production and circulation at the turn of the nineteenth century. From communication, transmission, and circulation, to innovations that enabled, impinged upon, or otherwise shaped social relations, we welcome papers on all aspects of socio-technological change and their relation to the development of global economies of knowledge production and circulation from 1750 to 1850.

We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations in English. To apply please email a title and abstract (no more than 300 words) along with a one-page CV in either MS Word or PDF format to the conference organizers ( Please include “Social Technologies” in the subject line.

Applications are due 15 November 2018. Applicants will be notified by 15 December 2018. Accommodation and travel will be provided to all confirmed participants.

For further information, please see the conference website.


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CfP: “The great protector of wits.” D’Holbach 1789-2019

CfP: “The great protector of wits.” D’Holbach 1789-2019

9-11 May 2019, Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen

230 years after his death, Baron Paul Henri Thiry d’Holbach (1723-1789) continues to be a challenging figure of the European Enlightenment. Not only was he a materialistic philosopher, a champion of anticlericalism, the author of the monumental Système de la nature known as “the Bible of atheists”, an idéologue, a popularizer of the natural sciences and a prolific contributor of the Encyclopédie, but he also played a fundamental role as an organizer of culture.

We invite papers in all aspects of Holbach’s thought, intellectual biography and cultural activity. Topics of interest include (but are not restricted to):

  • D’Holbach’s philosophical, religious, moral and political thought
  • D’Holbach as a scientist and a popularizer of the natural sciences
  • D’Holbach as a translator and as an editor: practices of (re)writing (plagiarism, omission, addition, interpolation, juxtaposition); strategies of authoriality (anonymity, pseudonymity, allonimity)
  • The Salon of Rue Royale, the coterie
  • D’Holbach and the Encyclopédie
  • The transfer of knowledge in d’Holbach’s circle: networks, correspondences, journals
  • D’Holbach as a mediator of (transnational) culture
  • D’Holbach and clandestinity: production and circulation of clandestine manuscripts, clandestine circulation of books, connections with editors
  • D’Holbach as a financial supporter of the Enlightenment
  • D’Holbach’s ancient and modern sources
  • Critics, fortune and reception

The official languages of the conference will be both English and French.

Invited speakers: Nicholas Cronk (Oxford), Alan Charles Kors (Pennsylvania), Mladen Kozul (Montana), Tony La Vopa (North Carolina), Brunello Lotti (Udine), Emilio Mazza (IULM, Milano), Alain Sandrier (Caen Normandie), Maria Susana Seguin (Paul-Valéry Montpellier – ENS Lyon), Ann Thomson (European University Institute, Florence)

Submissions: We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations in either French or English. To apply please submit an abstract (no more than 300 words) along with a one-page CV to the conference organizers ( no later than 30 October 2018. Please make submissions in either MS Word or in PDF format. Accepted proposals will be notified no later than 15 December 2018. Graduate students and unwaged early career scholars are particularly encouraged to apply and funds towards defraying the costs of travel and attendance may be available upon application. Please contact the conference organizers with any questions.

Organizers: Franziska Meier (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Laura Nicolì (Lichtenberg-Kolleg)

For further information, please see the conference website.


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CfP: Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley

CfP: Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley

5-6 April 2019, Trinity College Dublin

Scholars in any academic discipline are invited to submit abstracts of papers to be presented at the Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley conference, to be held in Trinity College Dublin, 5 and 6 April 2019. The conference aims to explore Irish philosophy during the lifetime of George Berkeley (1685–1753). We welcome abstracts addressing one or more of the following issues:

  • The Irish context of Berkeley’s philosophy.
  • The philosophical work of other Irish thinkers active during Berkeley’s lifetime.
  • The reception within Ireland of other philosophical figures, ideas, and movements.
  • The reception of Irish philosophy outside Ireland.

Particular preference will be given to papers that address figures and/or topics outside the currently recognized philosophical ‘canon’, including the work of early modern women.

Papers presented at the conference will be published as part of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements series, Cambridge University Press.

Abstracts should be submitted by 15 October, 2018.

Primary sponsorship for this conference is provided by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, together with the Mind Association. Additional support is provided by the Trinity Long Room Hub Making Ireland Research Theme and the Department of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin.

Full details, including submission instructions, are available here.


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  • #ISIH2020 Conference

    #ISIH2020 Conference

    #ISIH2020 will take place 27-29 May at the European University Institute.