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Nineteenth Warwick Symposium on Parish Research

CALL FOR PAPERS: 'Parish, Power & Politics'

Webinar to be held on Saturday 8 May 2021, 10 am - 6 pm

Parishes have always been about more than religion. Aspects like the election of representatives, allocation of pews or administration of funds moved communal concerns well into the political sphere. We know much about processes of social and confessional differentiation, but what exactly were the power relations in parish communities? How did localities negotiate their dealings with manorial lords, city councils and state authorities? To which extent were parishes instrumentalized for secular purposes like local government or even resistance?

De Wael Beggars 1629

Cornelis de Wael, 'Beggars at the church door' (1629).
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.

The 19th Warwick Symposium on Parish Research will take the form of a webinar on Saturday 8 May 2021, 10 am - 6 pm. Under the general theme of 'Parish, Power & Politics', proceedings are co-organized by Beat K├╝min (Warwick) and Marjolein Schepers (IAS Fernandes Fellow/VUB), with the help of Warwick research students Daniel Gettings and Maria Tauber.

Keynote address

'Parishes, pandemics and paths to take: post-Covid historical options'

Keith Snell (Emeritus Professor of Rural and Cultural History, Leicester)


To complement the programme, we are now inviting proposals for two themed sessions and an open section:

PANEL 1: Local Politics of Poor Relief
Poor relief has developed as a parish-based institution, centred on the local community. But who was involved in decision-making processes on the local level? How was relief organised, e.g. income and distribution practices? How did parish politics relate to other levels of governance on an urban, regional or state level? And how were power relations represented in more formal or more informal forms of relief? This panel invites proposals on the local politics of poor relief in different areas and time periods.

PANEL 2: Politics of Belonging
How was belonging to the parish constructed? Local communities had different levels of belonging, differing between natives, residents and elites. But which factors contributed to belonging? How did it relate to local xenophobia or notions of alienness and othering? And how was belonging negotiated or attributed? This panel invites proposals on the politics of belonging and how and why these changed over time. Proposals can address themes such as, but in no means limited to, migration and mobility, religious diversity, cultural and ethnic minorities, gender and intersectionality.

PANEL 3: Open Section
In addition to the two panels above, we also invite other proposals related to the theme of 'Parish, Power and Politics' for an open section.


To submit a proposal for a 15 minute paper, please send your title, half-page abstract, brief biographical
note and an indication of whether you wish to be considered for one of the panels or the open section to: and by 15 March 2021.


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We look forward to hearing from you!


We gratefully acknowledge the support of Warwick's:

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Related post: Sarah Richardson on 'Women and the Politics of the Parish' in modern Britain (February 2021)