Memory and Identity in the Learned World Community. Formation in the Early Modern World of Science and Learning

01 mei 2019

Call for papers

On November 7-9, 2019, the ERC project Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks (SKILLNET) will organize a conference at Utrecht University on memory and identity in the early modern learned world. The central question for this conference is how scholars, scientists, and learned men and women formed a community by remembering and identification. Confirmed keynote speakers are prof. dr. Karl Enenkel and prof. dr. Judith Pollmann.

The Republic of Letters — the early modern community of scholars — has been vaguely conceptualized in historiography. Some take it to be the correspondence networks between scholars; others equate it very broadly to the entire early modern learned and intellectual world. Yet, how did early modern scholars themselves imagine the Republic of Letters? To answer this question we focus on community formation through scholarly identity and collective memory. Scholarly identity includes both exemplary figures such as Erasmus or Newton, as well as the self-fashioning of other scholars to fit a mold. Collective memory pertains to the ways of remembering in the scholarly community, for example in letters, vitae, journals, opera omnia, monuments, libraries and memorials. By bringing together scholars who have knowledge of disparate aspects of the scholarly milieu in the early modern period, we hope to better reconstruct the formation of the trans-confessional and pan-European community.

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