This year’s Northeast Conference on British Studies (NECBS), held at Endicott College, was well attended by members of UCONN’s Early Modern Studies Working Group. Graduate students and faculty from both the History Department and English Department presented at the conference. This included a panel with three participants from UCONN (find a full list of UCONN participants and panel/paper titles below titles below). Professor Brendan Kane (UCONN) organized the program for the conference, which took place on October 13th and 14th. During the proceedings, the NECBS confirmed him as the new organization president. Around fifty or sixty people attended, resulting in a very collegial atmosphere. While a full schedule can be found online, the conference featured a wide variety of panels with Early Modern Topics, including a panel on Early Modern West Africa chaired by John Thornton, and a panel on Dutch/British exchanges in the Late Tudor and Early Stuart periods.
Shannon McSheffrey (Concordia University) gave the keynote presentation on her new book, Seeking Sanctuary: Crime, Mercy and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550. McSheffrey’s talk explored how people accused of crimes in England used church land as santuary. The accused would often live in exile until family members could garner them a pardon. Members of the nobility, engaged in a violent honor culture, regularly took advantage of sanctuary. Much of McSheffrey’s presentation focused on the importance of the Knights Hospitaller in the process of granting sanctuary. Due to their association with mercy in English life, criminals regularly sought out members of the order for sanctuary.
While the conference was obviously focused on the British Isles, the panels reflected a transnational and transatlantic approach to Early Modern history. As an Early Americanist, I was particularly excited to find panels and papers dealing with Africa, the West Indies, North America, and mainland Europe. I would recommend to the conference to any Early Americanist seeking to broaden their geographic scope or interested in taking a transatlantic approach. Next year, NECBS will be hosting the North American Conference on British Studies in Providence.
Hilary Bogert-Winkler (PhD. Candidate, History): “‘Too like the sons of Israel’: Royalism, Exile, and Israel during the Interregnum”
Nathan Braccio (PhD Candidate, History): “Willing exile: The choice to move to the spatial/social periphery in 17th-century New England”
Clare Costley King’oo (English): “Henry VIII, Joan Fish, and A Supplicacyon for the Beggers (1528/29)”
Edward Guimont (PhD Candidate, History): “Indian political leverage in the Commonwealth of Nations, 1947-64”
Robert Howe (PhD Candidate, History): “We may have of them whatsoever we will desire”: The Sovereign’s Stripping of the Abbeys in Scotland
Brendan Kane (History): “Léamh: Learn Early Modern Irish – a digital guide to reading and paleography, c. 1200-1650”
by Nathan Braccio (PhD Candidate, History)