Disruptions and continuities in gender roles and authority, 1450-1750

Artemisia Gentileschi, Esther before Ahasuerus

Compliance and challenge in early modern society

  • 15 June 2021
  • 09:30 - 17:30
  • Held online
  • Price tbc

This online conference will explore the nature of the relationships with authority between 1450 and 1750.

It will consider authority in its widest sense, encompassing early modern State, Church, patriarchal and societal authorities. In particular, it will compare the forces for compliance and continuity with the contexts in which individuals and groups challenge the ideas and practices of society, whether challenges occur at specific historical moments or take part in longer-term shifts.

To what extent should we emphasise individual consciousness, or group coherence in compliance and resistance?

Call for papers

The conference is open to scholars at all academic stages, postgraduate to professor. Delegates are invited to submit abstracts for individual papers or panels on aspects of this
theme, including but not restricted to: 

  • The role of particular individuals in resistance or as agents for change
  • The role of group identity or subcultures in resistance or as agents for change
  • Disruptions to and continuities in authority within the family or household
  • Changes and continuities in gender roles in Britain, Europe and the Atlantic World
  • Disruptions to and continuities in authority in relation to sexual behaviour
  • Disruptions to authority prompted by war or violence
  • Disruptions to and continuities in attitudes to religious, intellectual or political authority.
  • Material culture including dress as a means of transgression.
  • Moral codes of behaviour and their changing influence
  • Criminal and legal codes of behaviour, their influence, and how they are challenged
  • Challenges to political authority by ordinary people, via riots, petitioning and other types of agency

Some of the types of disruptions and continuities which might be discussed include social conditioning and challenges with regard to moral and religious codes and practices, the performance of gender roles, patriarchal expectations with regard to the roles of parents, children, marriage partners or servants within the household, behaviour with
regard to legal and criminal codes, racial or national identities. 

Our intention is that papers based on conference presentations may be submitted towards a special issue in an academic journal.


Please submit proposals of 250-300 words for papers of no more than 20 minutes to Dr Fiona McCall, Senior Lecturer in History, School of Social, Political, Literary and
Historical Studies, University of Portsmouth by 30 April 2021

Disrupted Authority

This conference is hosted by the Disrupted Authority research project.

Image:  Artemisia Gentileschi, Esther before Ahasuerus
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Elinor Dorrance Ingersoll, 1969 (69.281)

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