Revolution and Evolution: Our 3rd Student Conference

The Birkbeck Early Modern Society’s Third Student Conference:

‘Revolution and Evolution’

Saturday 25 July 2009, 10.00-16.30 Room 532, Malet St


The Birkbeck Early Modern Society is pleased to announce our third annual student conference. We aim to provide a safe and constructive space for students to present their research and to network and exchange ideas with peers from a range of disciplines. The day promises to be an ideal forum to showcase student research and to provide opportunities to practice presentation skills.

Our theme this year is ‘Revolution and Evolution’.

We are interested in revolutionary and evolutionary change during the early modern period (roughly 1500-1800), whether it be in the field of politics, art, science, religion, music, literature, philosophy, belief, medicine, consumption, etc. Briefly, we have taken ‘revolution’ to imply a greater, more immediate change, and ‘evolution’ to imply a small series of incremental changes. We are looking for a diverse collection of papers, based on subjects that can be connected to our conference theme.

Here are some points which you may wish to consider but please do carry out your own interpretation too:

• What different types of revolution are there and what impact do they have? Political, social, cultural, ideological, intellectual, and religious revolutions can all be considered.
• How did the early moderns define a ‘revolution’? Has this changed over time? What makes a revolution ‘revolutionary’?
• Is a revolution the culmination of an evolutionary process that has reached the end of its natural life? Does evolution need the ‘big event’ of a revolution to restart the process on a new level?
• Evolution typically refers to a process of development by small, incremental steps. Are these changes planned or unplanned?
• ‘History is a process, not an event’. Given that premise, is evolution a series of tiny, but distinct, revolutions?

You are invited to submit a proposal for a paper lasting 20 minutes (approximately 2,000 words).

Please email your proposal for a paper in the form of a synopsis of about 250 words, to Laura Jacobs,  Secretary of the Birkbeck Early Modern Society.

The deadline for proposals is Monday 22 June 2009.

5 comments on “Revolution and Evolution: Our 3rd Student ConferenceAdd yours →

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  1. Do I understand this correctly: this is a conference open to any type of student, not just to graduate students?
    If so: this sounds to me like a very intersting thing. And I wonder whether we should try to learn/copy from you at our institution too. Is there any place where I could read/learn about your (and/or the participatin students’) past experieneces with these/such student conferences?

    (cf. etiam sive )

    Anyway: best wishes to Birkbeck Early Modern Society for this conference!

  2. The conference is open to any type of student. I presented last year as an unaffliated postgraduate. (And I’m thinking of having another go this year!)

    Reports on our first two conferences are available in our Bulletin. See:
    2007 Conference, pp. 6-7 (There’s also a comment from one of the participants here:

    2008 Conference, pp. 5-6

    We aim to make the day a positive and enjoyable experience for all. We also try to be as professional as possible – it’s a chance for students to practice a presentation and a great chance to try something out before springing it on an audience of doctors and professors. (The parties at the end are also well worth staying for!)

    PS: Keep up the excellent work at W4RF!

  3. Thanks for your answer! This sounds like a great series of events. We definitely should try to copy/learn/etc. from you. Probably it’s better do organise such a thing with a major number of students as potential speakers (in our case here: better have it as a conference in the context of our centre for medieval and renaissance studies instead of a conference just for the students of our institute for renaissance intellectual history and renaissance philosophy)?
    In case we should indeed go for trying to have such a conference/series of conferences: could we perhaps invite you (or one of your group) as some sort of “senior advisor”?
    BTW: I’m not sure whether we here would be able to exclude all doctors and professors from the audience – at least if the event is technically an “university’s event” (and hence entitled to using university rooms and equipment without having to pay [a major sum] for it).

    Thanks too both for emintelligencer and your kinf words on W4RF!

  4. I think we’d all be happy to help!

    I should say, by the way, that we don’t exclude the professionals from attending on the day. In fact, we’re happy if they come along! But only students can do presentations. If you’re doing something for the Centre it would probably actually be a good idea to get some of the professors involved – maybe as keynote speakers or session chairs.

  5. Sorry about responding that late!
    It was (and is) a rather busy week here.

    I’ll suggest giving students’ conferences a try today to our institute’s representative in our university’s Centre for mediaeval and renaissance studies, and I’ll let you know once/if the idea gets taken up here.

    Lots of thanks again!