This conference, hosted over two days in two cities, has a double focus. ‘Transforming Early Modern Identities’ will examine both how the concept of the early modern self is being transformed by recent scholarly works exploring early modern literature and culture, and also how the process of transformation itself was foundational to the ways in which early modern subject positions were negotiated. In the twenty-first century, we remain fascinated with notions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century subjectivity. Whilst past conferences have focused on exploring specific strata of early modern selfhood – in terms of gender, sexuality, race or class – this conference will examine both the ways in which scholarly considerations of the early modern subject have changed in recent years, and also how times of transformation work to shape early modern identities.
Thus, the aims of this conference are twofold: to understand the ways in which early modern scholarship (historical and literary) has transformed our notion of early modern subjectivity in recent years; and to examine the ways in which transformation itself – and the in between times of selfhood it implies – played an important part in defining various early modern subject positions. How has the way scholars examine the early modern self changed in the last twenty years? How reliant are early modern individuals on moments of transformation?