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Newberry Mellon project year 3

Belief and Unbelief in the Early Modern Period

The 2007-08 programme consisted of:


Man Protected by the Shield of Faith, 1559

 Man Protected by the Shield of Faith by Maarten van Heemskerck (1559)


9 November 2007: "Gender and Belief in the Early Modern World"

For programme details, click here (Word Document).

This one-day workshop, held at Lecture Room 4, Scarman House, the University of Warwick (from 10 am), addressed topics such as:

  • What were women’s experiences of belief?
  • How did masculinity shape -and how was it shaped by- belief?
  • What was the relation between gender and spiritual/religious writing?

Papers and discussions touched on such varied areas as monasticism, reformation and counter reformation, witchcraft/demonology, sanctity, and so on.

Speakers and moderators/discussants included:

  • Dr Silvia Evangelisti (University of East Anglia): "Female Religious Communities in Early Modern Europe"
  • Prof. George Hoffmann (University of Michigan)
  • Prof. Em. Brenda Hosington (University of Warwick): "Faith and Gender in English Renaissance Women Translators' Paratexts"
  • Prof. Lyndal Roper (Balliol College, Oxford) : "Luther and the Household: Myth and Reality"
  • Prof. Robert Swanson (University of Birmingham)
  • Prof. Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee): "Gender and Religion in Early Modern Colonialism: an Overview"

There was also an interdisciplinary postgraduate forum during which postgraduate students made brief presentations of their project and invited discussion on how, and to what extent, issues of 'gender and belief' pertain to their investigations.

  • Kimberley Martin: 'Gendering a City: Representations of London in Civic Pageantry of the Early 17th Century'
  • Laura Sangha: 'The significance of belief about angels in the English Reformation'
  • John West: Inspiration and Aspiration: Invocations of the Holy Spirit in Lucy Hutchinson's Order and Disorder and John Milton's Paradise Lost
  • Justine Williams: 'James Shirley, Ireland's Catholic playwright?'
  • Jonathan Willis: 'Music, Gender and Belief in Post-Reformation England'

The Workshop brought together over 40 delegates from the University of Warwick, other UK institutions, and the USA.

18 March 2008: "Belief and Disbelief: Encounters with the Other"

This one-day workshop, held at Warwick (Scarman House, Lecture Room 6), opened the debate on the relation of belief to the unknown, the unexpected, or the exotic, and explored the differences and/or similarities between Christian vs non-Christian outlooks. Click here (PDF Document) for programme details.

Papers and discussions therefore touched on 'utopias and belief', 'belief and the New world', or on clashes, convergences and cross-overs between various belief systems...

Speakers and moderators included:

  • Prof. Jonathan Bate : "Jew and Muslim in Marlowe's plays"
  • Dr David Lines (Warwick): "Christianity and Philosophy in the Renaissance: The Sixteenth-Century Turn"
  • Prof. Andrew Laird (Warwick): "Aztec and Roman Gods: Evangelists, ethnographers and polytheism in early colonial Mexico"
  • Prof. Nabil Matar (U of Minnesota): "Christianity and Christians through Arab-Muslim
    Eyes, 1578-1727"
  • Prof. Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, U of London): "Christians and Jews in contention over the Virgin Mary"


6-19 July 2008: Summer Workshop "Belief and Unbelief"

The two-week Summer Workshop on Belief and Unbelief was organised around the following thematic clusters:

  • ‘Belief and conflict’
  • ‘Belief, manuscripts and the printed book’ (including Women's Manuscript Writing)
  • 'Rhetoric and Belief';
  • 'Models of the Reformation';
  • 'Belief and Local Community'.

Besides contributions from the Visiting Fellows and the Workshop Participants, speakers and moderators included:

The programme also included relevant site-visits including Stoneleigh Abbey, Kenilworth Castle, Lamport Hall and the Northampton Record Office, and Coughton Court.

Useful Links: