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Speaking and Writing

En parlant, en écrivant

Complementarity, Competition and Hybridization of the Spoken and the Written Word (16th and 17th century Europe)

Complémentarité, concurrence et hybridation entre écrit et oralité (Europe, XVIe-XVIIe siècles)

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Published on Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Abstract

The workshop will explore the complex relations between the spoken and the written word in 16th and 17th century Europe. Both modes of expression have been studied in a new light during the last years. But research on the interactions between the spoken and the written word is still at the beginning. It is a promising domain, linked to important questions about Early Modern history and its sources. How did the transitions between orality and writing (in both ways) work out in different situations? When the two modes were in competition, how were choices made and justified? When and where did the spoken word duplicate, complete, moderate, contradict or undermine the written word? When there was complementarity between the modes of expression, what mutual influences can be observed, mainly (but not only) from a formal point of view?

Announcement

General Presentation

Nowadays, information is omnipresent while changing its shapes constantly. At such a time, it is of great interest to question its origins, roles and impacts in Early Modernity. This project aims to shed new light on how 16th and 17th century societies dealt with the spoken and written word. At that time, political and religious words were abundant, but, paradoxically, they could also be scarce. Their power often took root in their scarcity and in the restricted and controlled use that was made of them. Institutional actors emerged or evolved, to master the production, spreading and reception of the political and religious word. But they did not have the monopoly thereof. The many crises of the Early Modern era encouraged the amplification of discourse and communicational strategies. The poles of production grew in number and weight, as did the modes of oppression. Prints made the spreading of the words easier but also more difficult to control. The sacred power of the sovereign’s word was diminished or even threatened by new forms of competition. In the responses to Early Modern crises, the political and religious word became both a problem and a solution.

Our research project will span across Western Europe in the 16th and the first half of the 17th century, with the Peace of Westphalia as upper limit. We are interested in transversal and interdisciplinary approaches that can enrich our study of the Early Modern political and religious word. We will focus on specific subjects, such as oaths, conjurations, and abjurations, royal or princely promises (whether direct or indirect), military sermons, legal preambles to declarations of war, religious peace treaties and other documents linked to the resolution of conflicts. Our project will also shed new light on the administrative know-how associated with the political and religious word and on the materiality of its practices, on the perlocutionary force of speech and writing, on the characteristics, permanence and/or evolution of their iconographic representations.

https://parole.hypotheses.org

https://history.uni.lu/word/

Argument

Speaking and Writing is the second workshop of a new and still growing research group interested in the anthropology of The Spoken and Written Word in Early Modern Politics and Religion (16th and 17th century). It continues and extends the work and debates started by the first workshop which took place in Geneva in February 2021 and focused on Early Modern promises about peace and war. Both workshops aim to create and consolidate an international and transdisciplinary network with manifold activities (workshops, conferences, summer schools, publications, etc.).

The workshop at the University of Luxembourg will more specifically explore the complex relations between the spoken and the written word in 16th and 17th century Europe. Both modes of expression have been studied in a new light during the last years. There is a lot of interesting research on the writing practices of Early Modern secretaries and other actors in both political and religious institutions. Various aspects of orality have been highlighted by renewed approaches to political and judiciary ceremonials, to Early Modern diplomacy and to preaching in various confessional contexts.

But research on the interactions between the spoken and the written word is still at the beginning. It is a promising domain, linked to important questions about Early Modern history and its sources. How did the transitions between orality and writing (in both ways) work out in different situations? When the two modes were in competition, how were choices made and justified? When and where did the spoken word duplicate, complete, moderate, contradict or undermine the written word? When there was complementarity between the modes of expression, what mutual influences can be observed, mainly (but not only) from a formal point of view.

The workshop will also dwell on the phenomena of hybridization between the spoken and written word in various areas and contexts. This larger subject can be studied with the help of many kinds of sources, without strict boundaries between political and religious history. The participants are invited to use tools and concepts borrowed from historical anthropology, cultural studies, literary studies and discourse analysis. One of the aims is to study the traces of Early Modern orality in written documents. What are their characteristics and how did the 16th and 17th century actors reflect on their conservation?

The concept of “performativity” is central to the questions underlying the workshop Speaking and Writing, but also to the entire research project and international network. In the wake of the “performative turn”, many publications have studied political and religious rituals, their theatrical and corporeal dimensions, as well as the visual sources which help us to understand and reenact them. But the contributions of words both written and spoken to ceremonies must not be underestimated. Their performative roles in various Early Modern European contexts will be highlighted by the workshop scheduled for September 2022 at the University of Luxembourg. The general idea is to question the boundaries between what can be said and what is unsayable in the 16th and 17th century.

Topics

Among the themes that could/will be tackled in coherent sessions of the Speaking and Writing workshop are the following:

  • Proclaiming, writing, and publishing the Law (both political and religious)
  • Informing and communicating within composite monarchies, by overcoming geographical distances and linguistic differences, political opposition, and privileges of power
  • Organizing and putting into practice the “good governance” thanks to the spoken and written word (practices, ceremonies, rituals etc.)
  • Using the written and spoken word in Early Modern diplomacy (embassies, letters, etc.)
  • Preaching and writing down predication (in the main Christian confessions)
  • Debating orally or via the written word
  • Praying in the 16th and 17th century: private and public practices of spoken and written prayer (in the main Christian confessions)

How to apply

Please send your proposal (the title + a short abstract explaining how you will try to tackle the questions asked by the Call for papers) before the 15th of April 2022 to: monique.weis@uni.lu

https://history.uni.lu/team-monique-weis/

The program of the workshop will be finalized at the end of April/beginning of May 2022.

Participants will be informed quickly. Part of the expenses (hotel costs, travel costs, etc.) will be paid by the organizers.

The participants will be invited to send a document (max. 5 pages) with a source, or several sources linked to their subject before the 1st of September 2022. These documents will be shared with the other participants a few days before the workshop.

Organization and scientific committee

  • Monique Weis, University of Luxembourg
  • Lison Vercammen, PhD student, University of Luxembourg, and Catholic University of Louvain
  • Paul-Alexis Mellet, University of Geneva
  • Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu, Centre Jean-Mabillon/École nationale des Chartes and Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours.

Practical information

The workshop Speaking and Writing will take place in hybrid mode (on site at the University of Luxembourg (Institute for History), + WEBEX), 15th and 16th September 2022.

Places

  • 2 Av. de l’Université, 4365 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
    Esch-sur-Alzette, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Friday, April 15, 2022

Keywords

  • histoire, Renaissance, première modernité, parole, anthropologie, prédication, confessionnalisation, histoire des idées, histoire intellectuelle, sociologie du langage, société moderne, Flandre, diplomatie, serment, négociation

Contact(s)

  • Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu
    courriel : ferrerbartomeu [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Paul-Alexis Mellet
    courriel : paul-alexis [dot] mellet [at] unige [dot] ch
  • Monique Weis
    courriel : monique [dot] weis [at] uni [dot] lu

Information source

  • Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu
    courriel : ferrerbartomeu [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Speaking and Writing », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 02, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/18d8

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