Centre for European and International Studies Research

The People All Changed: Religion and Society in Britain during the 1650s

The People All Changed

University of Portsmouth, 15-16 July 2016

The changes which resulted from the British Civil Wars are often seen as the first modern revolution.  The establishment  of a radical protestant regime in 1645, and of the English republic in 1649, were accompanied by profound alterations to the religious, social, cultural, political, financial and legal landscape.   New patterns of consumption and socialisation emerged, along with the first stirrings of a scientific culture.   Some embraced change, in Milton’s words, ‘musing, searching, revolving new notions ... trying all things.’  Others were horrified, experiencing these as times of ‘distractions’, madness and trouble, a ‘World Turned Upside Down’. 

Historians continue to debate the extent of the social disruption which resulted, and the success or failure of Godly religion.  Yet in general, the consequences and personal experiences of the years which followed the first Civil war are significantly under-researched compared to its causes, due in part to the singular nature of the sources available for the years between 1645 and1660.  The aim of this conference is to encourage contributions to redress this balance, particularly in relation to social, religious and cultural change (or lack of it) and the general impact on everyday life and on individual experience.

The conference is sponsored by funding from the British Academy.  Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Bernard Capp (University of Warwick) and Dr Angela McShane (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Papers

The conference is open to scholars at all academic stages, postgraduate to professor.  The intention is to have a wide thematic remit within the broad theme of society and religion during the stated period.  Papers will cover aspects of this theme, including but not restricted to:

  • Religious practice including: parish religion; separatism; loyalist religion and resistance to religious change; personal religious experience
  • Social and economic structure and change
  • Material Culture
  • Personal accounts of this period in diaries, memoirs and correspondence
  • Popular and elite cultures; relations between rich and poor
  • Printed and oral cultures
  • Military and civil culture and society
  • Subcultures and cultural conflict
  • Urban and rural society
  • Pastimes, sports and recreations
  • Sociability and the reformation of manners
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Family and household
  • Childhood, youth, education and literacy
  • Criminality and the legal process
  • Patterns of consumption and commerce
  • Agriculture and industry
  • Science and medicine
  • Superstition and magic
  • Food and drink

A draft programme is available: The People All Changed programme 2016 (pdf)

Registration

Book your place

Further information

For further information please contact Dr Fiona McCall (fiona.mccall@port.ac.uk).