Call For Papers
According to the aims of the Conference it is worth considering the revamped ways in which scholars today study
- an Iberian peninsula composed of “composite monarchies” (Elliott);
- an Europe characterized by networks and “transregional” nexuses traveled by tangible and intangible goods, from trade items to books;
- medieval and early modern empires and polities in Africa, Asia, and the Americas;
- the multiple forms of violence set into motion by historical processes of imperialism;
- the “strange parallels” (Lieberman) and “connected” histories (Subrahmanyam) between Europe and the world, from a recognition of the “equal shares of history” (Bertrand).
Contributions sought can also consider topics, fields, and methods of investigation that, in their whole, help the establishment of new configurations and connections between political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, and art history, the exploration of which will help situate King Manuel I in a novel way vis-à-vis the world that shaped him and in which he lived.
When scholars subjected King Manuel and his epoch to systematic scrutiny about three decades ago, their efforts came in the context of the inauguration in Portugal of a particular internationalist project adopting moderately critical forms of remembrance. Perspectives in vogue at the time could not anticipate the confluence of historiographic currents that have significantly changed modes of writing and conceptualizing the History since. Such newly emergent frameworks include but are not limited to: a rise to prominence in the study of material and visual culture; multi-scalar methodologies incorporating local and global frameworks of analysis; attention to political culture in new iterations of diplomatic history; critical engagements with histories of enslavement, ethnicity and race-making, gender, religion and other modalities of inclusion and exclusion; questions of individual and collective agency, complex identities and subjectivities, multiple modes of resistance and environmental interactions. While it may not be feasible to submit the world of King Manuel I to such an arsenal of analytic approaches in the space of one conference, it remains evident that a space in which many of these approaches can be applied to the study of the Manueline imperial system has the potential to clarify, rectify, and enrich existing historical understandings.
Research Topics Suggested
1. Ecologies and experiments of empire
The study of the Portuguese empire can be framed as a process that was defined through violence and negotiation, by multiple and unstable initiativeswaged by a heterogeneous assortment of groups and individuals; along the way, various collectives came into contact with different human and natural environments by which they were, in turn, shaped. Such a perspective invites us to approach the trajectory of Manueline empire as resulting from multiple reconfigurations of spaces and environments, in histories defined by symmetries and asymmetries. Ensuing dynamics can be understood at once on the basis of invasions, opportunism, collaborations, or forms of local resistance, or on the basis of broad contingencies derived from domains as varied as those of politics, climate, and trade in which a multitude of societies, monarchies and empires, including the Spanish, participated. Microhistorical approaches, as well as the study of connections and comparisons that adopt regional and planetary scales, can be effectively deployed to illuminate analyses under this thematic banner.
2. The social fabric of empire
The aim here is to trace the consequences of tensions and transformations in a series of plural and hierarchical societies, foregrounding diverse collectives that confronted profoundly disruptive processes, from enslavements to expulsions, conversions, massacres, conquests and shifts to the political order. Attention can be productively paid to the social impact of impositions, adaptations, negotiations and rejections, expressions of violence and forms of conviviality, mixed marriages, diasporas and commercial networks, as well as modes and obstacles to mobility. Doing so could involve foregrounding the perspectives adopted and choices made by social actors through particular idioms and symbolic languages, emotions and rituals, allowing when possible to recover voices of marginalized and subaltern individuals and populations silenced by archival sources, or subject to distortions and generalizations. In being attentive to dynamics that redrew the social infrastructure of cities, towns, and rural spaces, islands, ports, commercial entrepôts and fortresses, the weight of endogenous factors can be evaluated and contrasted to the regional and supra-regional tendencies in which they were embedded.
3. Circulation of objects, images, tastes
Departing from traditional interpretive schema from economic and art history, the intention here is to study the circulation of objects and images, across and beyond Portugal, beginning with the different material and visual cultures that determined the specific modalities through which such objects and images were produced and consumed. The goal is to trace a “global life” of commodities, artistic and devotional objects, pieces of quotidian use, artifacts, monuments, and curios, tracking as well shifts in sensorial and intellectual interchange that took hold through channels of circulation. These reciprocities might derive from commerce, but also from loans, plunder, religious missions, or gift exchange. Up for consideration, as well, are the reformulations and resignifications of iconographic motifs originating in a range of different cultures. To be explored, as well, are technologies and artisanal traditions, physical characteristics such as format and volume, medium and material composition, as much with respect to transcultural dimensions as with relation to their significance within particular frameworks of knowledge, appraisal, and spirituality.
4. History workshop: Interrogating methodologies of the archive
The conference will include an experimental session in which historians reflect on their practice of engaging with sources in the preparation of a final scholarly output. Participants in this area are encourage to offer samples of their research-in-progress and examine which sources are scrutinized, how particular historical interpretations are built, through which methods, and on what archival bases they stand. More generally, contributors might also consider weighin in on what new sources for the Manueline period are at the disposal of researchers today. The point of departure here is a recognition of the opacity and composite nature of sources, the influence of present-day categories and language in the ways in which historical materials are read and interpreted, the dynamics of power engrained in the organization of archives and the institutional practices that contributed to them, the historical memory that has been constructed of the period in question, and the consequences of recent insights into the disequilibrium and asymmetries resulting from the availability of sources examined by scholars. At heart, the intention in this area is to open up a workshop of history, inviting investigators to subject their own tools of analysis to critical reflection and, in this way, create conditions for formulating new questions of the past.
All the proposals submitted will be assessed by the Scientific Board
Submit Communication Proposal
Proposals must include the identification of the principal author (and co-authors, if applicable), a CV of the principal author in English (up to 600 characters), Title (up to 200 characters) and Abstract (up to 600 characters) in English and Portuguese and Keywords (max. 5).
Oral communications can be presented in Portuguese or English.
Submission deadline on 31th December 2021.