24 May 2023

Call for Papers on Early Modern privacy for The Renaissance Society of America Conference 2024

Gezicht op huizen in Delft, bekend als 'Het straatje'  Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)

The Renaissance Society of America Conference 2024 will be held in Chicago 21-23 March.


Privacy is hardly a hallmark of Early Modern life. Rooms are crammed; beds are shared; doors are unlocked; letters are copied; gossip runs wild; church and state survey the movements and mores of their subjects. Nonetheless there are thresholds and boundaries – be they material or immaterial – which delineate spaces, situations and conditions with regulate access, thus creating a particular potential for solitude, intimacy or freedom, for the shielding from surveillance and for absence of official obligations.


In the PRIVACY panels at RSA 2024, we will explore experiences, spaces, activities, terminologies and conditions that pertain to Early Modern versions of privacy and the private. We are, for example, interested in instances of privacy that are admired in poetry, explored in fiction, defined in legislation, identified in architectural plans, indicated by material remnants, qualified in devotional treatises, represented in artworks, moulded in sermons or prescribed in political theory. We are interested in privacy that is carved out, built, furnished, adorned, portrayed, used, imagined, cultivated, restricted, protected, accessed, disrupted, feared or lauded across the Early Modern world.



You are interested in Early Modern versions or privacy and the private. You are ready to contribute to an integrated research panel. Perhaps you work on sources that feature terms related to ‘privacy’ or ‘the private’, and then it becomes a question how to identify the historical meaning of such terms. Perhaps your study phenomena that are associated with experiences, spaces, activities or conditions that we think of as private or related to privacy, and it becomes a question how to avoid anachronism when dealing with them. Perhaps you work on a topic, a kind of source material or a geographical region that we have not even thought about in relation to privacy. Applicants should be ready to engage in preparatory exchanges via Zoom in order to align research questions and presentation formats.



The PRIVACY panels will feature potentially widely different foci and approaches, but within a shared overall framework and with shared overall questions and methodological concerns. We shall have exchanges before the conference. And who knows, perhaps we even stay in touch afterwards?!



Please submit before 1 August 2023 via this link.

  • One page CV – please remember institutional affiliation and contact email
  • Abstract (300-500 words)
  • Application for travel bursary (up to 600 Euros)

If you have questions, please contact Centre leader, Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun (mbb@teol.ku.dk)

If you are interested in a Zoom-introduction to the Centre for Privacy Studies and its research methodology before submitting your abstract, please write to Centre administrator Maj Riis Poulsen (mrp@teol.ku.dk) before 10 June 2023.