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CfP: Courtly experiences in the premodern world, c. 1200–1800: Cultural, material & sensory experiences in the world of the court

When? 22–24 August 2024

Where? Palacký University Olomouc, Olomouc Czechia

Throughout premodern history, royal and princely courts around the world were epicentres of activity, interactions, exchanges and modes of cultural production that defined the environments of different courts and also shaped the encounters that took place within different court cultures. For instance, visitors of foreign courts often described the objects in the spaces they visited, as well as the sights, sounds and smells of the world around them. Yet it is not always clear how the material or sensory elements impacted the interactions or experiences of people at court.

The field of court studies has increasingly examined the ways in which court cultures developed through the interplay between actors, institutions, and events; we have begun to understand more about the ways in which different courts were multi-sensorially and multiculturally experienced by individuals and groups. The wide variety of human interactions with their physical courtly environments emphasises the need to consider the varied elements of court experiences. This variety not only reveals the exceptional moments at court, but uncovers the everyday realities of life at the court for members, visitors and servants. There is more to be understood about how the material and sensory encounters that took place at the court were created, managed, shaped and experienced.

This interdisciplinary conference invites scholars to gather to pursue this developing field of study, seeking to explore the intersections and nuances of courtly experiences in physical, material and sensory terms. We encourage proposals from a broad range of chronological and geographical perspectives to encourage comparative discussion and to establish the potential for future collaborative work. Topics include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Dynastic and political mediation
  • Ambassadors and visitors
  • Ritual, ceremonial, beliefs
  • Gifts, favours, object exchange
  • Smells/smellscapes
  • Nature/gardens
  • Human-animal encounters
  • Conflict, confrontation or violence
  • Food/consumption
  • Fashion, dress, textiles
  • Music, soundscapes
  • Architecture, architectural/courtly spaces
  • Cross-cultural encounters
  • Negotiating otherness at the court
  • Touch/tactile experiences
  • Emotion/feelings
  • Language/linguistic interactions

Please be aware that while the conference will be live streamed, presentations will be in-person only. Exceptions will be considered. Titles for 20-minute papers with abstracts (max. 200 words) should be submitted, along with brief biographical details of the speaker(s), by 2 APRIL 2024 to europe@courtstudies.org. Panel proposals of 3–4 papers, roundtable discussions, or other formats are also welcome; these should include an overall panel title, individual titles, abstracts, and biographies for each contributor. Any in-person presentation exceptions should be explained in the proposal.

Any questions can be directed to the organisers at europe@courtstudies.org.

For the latest details and information about the conference, visit: www.courtstudies.org/conferences.html.

Organising & Scientific Committee

  • Patrik Pastrnak, Palacký University Olomouc/SCS-European Branch, Conference Officer
  • Dustin M. Neighbors, University of Helsinki/SCS-European Branch, Chair
  • Janet Dickinson, New York University, London and the Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford/Society for Court Studies (SCS), Conference Secretary

For more information, please see the attached CfP in total. 

CfP: Courtly Experiences in the premodern World, c. 1200–1800.