Call for Contributors: Queenship and Counsel in the Early Modern World

Editors: Helen Graham-Matheson (UCL) and Joanne Paul (NCH)

This collection attempts to highlight the ways in which queenship and counsel were negotiated and represented throughout the early modern age (1400-1800). Advice-giving was one of the most prevalent topics in early modern political discourse, but was often limited to the interaction between a male monarch and his male councillors. Queenship and counsel thus posed a potential problem for early modern political theory and practice. Although this topic has been studied with reference to individual queens, no collection has attempted to study the relationship between queenship and counsel in grand perspective. The volume will be submitted to the Queenship and Power series (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Carole Levin and Charles Beem, with planned publication in early 2017.

We are seeking proposals for submissions from graduate students and scholars in history, literature, philosophy, art history or related fields. Although some longue durée and comparative papers will be accepted, the intention is to produce a collection of chapters each focusing on a single reign, individual or relationship. We welcome submissions which focus on any geographical area within the early modern world, and those from a non-European perspective are especially encouraged. Submissions might focus on any of the four categories of queenship – regnant, regent, dowager and consort – and on both formal and informal varieties of counsel.

Suggested themes include:

• Rhetoric, persuasion and power

• Reason, prudence and emotion

• Legislation and institutionalized councils

• Ceremonials, representation and symbolism

• Diplomacy, intelligence and espionage

• Marriage, family, sexuality and the body

• Religion and philosophy

• Culture and patronage

Chapter proposals of 500 words, accompanied by a short summary of biography and research interests (maximum of 250 words), must be submitted to by 15 January 2015 to be considered. Accepted authors will be notified by March 2015, and final submissions due Dec 2015.


Helen Graham-Matheson will complete her PhD at University College London in 2014. Her thesis focuses on the political role of female courtier at the mid-Tudor courts. She has published on related topics in Journal of Early Modern Women, The Politics of the Female Household (Brill, 2013) and Book Culture in Provincial Society (Ashgate, 2014).

Joanne Paul is Lecturer in the History of Ideas at New College of the Humanities, London. Her PhD completed at Queen Mary, University of London (2013) explored the discourse of political counsel in Anglophone writing from 1485-1651, and she has published on related topics in Renaissance Quarterly, the Journal of Intellectual History and Political Thought and in her own co-edited volume, Governing Diversities (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011).

Our next event, Dr Susan Doran: ‘Did Elizabeth’s Gender Matter?’

Thursday 6 November 2014

Dr Susan Doran, Oxford, ‘Did Elizabeth’s Gender Matter?’ at Birkbeck, Malet Street Building, room B36, 6.30 pm

A quick post to remind you that Dr Susan Doran will be giving a lecture for the Birkbeck Early Modern Society on the fascinating question of Elizabeth’s gender.

For more information about Susan Doran, please see

Birkbeck Early Modern Society’s 8th Student Conference: Call for Papers

‘Feast or Famine in the Early Modern Period’

Birkbeck Early Modern Society is pleased to announce its 8th annual student conference on the theme of ‘Feast and Famine in the Early Modern Period’ to take place on Saturday 21 February 2015.

This conference provides an ideal forum to showcase student research.

We are interested in notions of feasting or famine during the Early Modern Period, 1500-1800.

Conference papers could address a range of subject areas such as; material culture, culinary history, medical and social history, population studies, economics, affluence, consumption, plenitude or absence, verbosity or silence,  art, religion, music, literature, drama, philosophy, psychology.

We are looking for a diverse collection of papers that connect with our conference theme.

Please send your abstract as a Microsoft word document.Please put your name, programme of study and institution at the top of your abstract.

The abstract should be no more than 250 words for papers lasting 20-25 minutes (about 2,000-2,500 words).

Please email your abstract to Dr Laura Jacobs, Secretary, Birkbeck Early Modern Society, by  5pm on Friday 5 December 2014. We will be holding a selection meeting shortly after the deadline and may not be able to consider late submissions.

IHR Corporate History Semiar, 2014-2015

Finalised IHR Schedule, Corporate History Seminar, 2014-2015

All meetings will be held in the Wolfson Seminar Room downstairs at the IHR from 3 – 4.30 pm on the following Tuesdays.
Please contact Will Pettigrew ( with any questions or to confirm your interest.

7 October, 2014: Dan Carey, Galway: “A Corporate Mentality: Richard Hakluyt’s Design for English Navigation and Expansion, 1582-1600”

21 October: Chris Nierstrasz, Warwick: “In the Shadow of the Companies: The Dutch and English East India Companies and their servants, 1700-1800”

4 November: Simon Mills, Kent: “Early Modern ‘Exchanges’ and the Structures of Overseas Trade: the Case of the English Levant Company”

18 November: Leslie Theibert, Oxford: “Trade, Piracy, and the Spanish Expedition Shipping Company: Legalizing Smuggling in the Seventeenth Century Caribbean”

9 December: Edmond Smith, Cambridge: “’Investment and Community in the City of London: the Demographics of the East India Company’”

27 January, 2015: Jennifer Bishop, Cambridge: “”He wold be ashamyd that the wordys they spake shuld passe ther mowthys”: Regulating Speech and Language in the London Livery Companies, c.1550-1650”

10 February: Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art: “Reforming the Material Rituals of Early Modern Craft Guilds”

24 February: David Smith, Wilfred Laurier University: “The Attack of 1749: The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Social Life of the Corporation”

10 March: Adam Grimshaw, St Andrews: “Interfering Interlopers’: Independent Traders and the Subversion of English Corporate Structures”

24 March: Misha Ewen, UCL: “”Freer Liberty”: The Virginia Company and Debates on Trade and Commerce’”

7 April: Tim Riding, Queen Mary: “Space and Sovereignty: The East India Company’s Early Settlements, 1600-1756”

12 May: Justin Brooks, Yale: “”Political Authority and the Transformation of Indigenous Alliances in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire, 1720-1783”

19 May: Rupali Mishra, Auburn University: ‘“The Thick of It: Institutional life and Political Culture in the Early Stuart East India Company”

Please e-mail to confirm intention to attend.

Will Pettigrew, Kent
Koji Yamamoto, Cambridge
Tristan Stein, Kent

Our First Event of the New Academic Year

Our first speaker for the year is Dr Brodie Waddell, who some of you may know from the Birkbeck history department. Brodie is giving what promises to be a fascinating paper, on the subject of ‘The Glorious Revolution and its aftermath: the view from below, 1685-1702.’ 10 October, please note that this will not be in our usual building but in GORDON SQUARE room B04, 6:30 pm.

Our AGM will be held before the lecture on 10 October. All members are invited to attend and contribute. We are always looking for enthusiastic members who wish to help run the Society, and if you would like to stand for the committee please contact Laura Jacobs, the Society’s Secretary, at

Birkbeck Early Modern Society