Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Enemies in the Early Modern World 1453-1789: Conflict, Culture and Control

From Luther’s insistence that the Pope is the antichrist, to Cortes’s justification of the conquest of Mexico on the grounds of Aztec human sacrifice, from the expulsion of Jewish people from the Iberian peninsula following the Reconquista to the subjugation and enslavement of human lives to fuel the trans-Atlantic slave trade, from Dutch trials for homosexuality in the 1730s, to accusations of witchcraft during the British Civil Wars, the conflicts and exploitations of the Early Modern World were often fueled and ‘justified’ by a belief in an enemy. Such belief systems would inspire textual, visual and auditory polemic, and propel physical action, thereby ‘othering’ people of a different religion, ethnicity, culture, dynastic allegiance, gender and sexuality into imagined enemies, justifying the need to control and inflict violence upon them.

This conference (27th - 28th March, 2021), open to researchers of history, literature, visual culture, politics, theology, philosophy and archaeology etc, will explore the processes by which individuals, communities, and countries were fashioned into the role of the enemy, as well as the dreadful consequences, such as war and persecution. By moving from the local to the national, from the national to the global, and through an interdisciplinary vantage point, we aim to reconstruct the construction of enemies in the Early Modern World.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this conference will be completely online via a TBD conferencing platform. 

Keynote Speakers

  • Prof Jyotsna Singh (Michigan State University) 
  • Dr Helmer Helmers (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
  • Prof Diane Purkiss (Keble College, University of Oxford)
  • Prof Adrian Streete (Glasgow University)
  • Prof Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania). 
  • Plenary Talks From Dr Matthew Rowley (University of Leicester)  
  • Dr Min Wild (University of Plymouth). 

Edinburgh Early Modern Network 

This conference is part of the Edinburgh Early Modern Network series. The network strives to foster an academic and social community at the University of Edinburgh and beyond. Our growing network is highly interdisciplinary, comprised of postgraduate students and staff from the schools of Literature, Language and Cultures; History, Classics and Archaeology; Edinburgh College of Art; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and the School of Social and Political Science. Through academic talks, postgraduate symposiums, trips to exhibitions and various social events we aim to interrogate and celebrate early modernity, broadly defined between 1453-1789.

Find out more on the Edinburgh Early Modern Network website

Visit the Edinburgh Early Modern Network Facebook page 

Breathing new life into Early Modern research

Literature and History PhD student, Thom Pritchard, talks to us about the student-run Edinburgh Early Modern Network of postgraduate students and staff. 

Read the full interview 


Enemies in the Early Modern World 1453-1789: Conflict, Culture and Control

'Enemies in the Early Modern World 1453-1789: Conflict, Culture and Control'. An online conference reconstructing enemies in the Early Modern World.