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The Mechanics of Mobility in the Renaissance World

Posted By Rosa M. Salzberg, Thursday, April 28, 2016

The dynamism of Renaissance cultural, economic and political life was created in large part by the movement of people and objects through space and across distance. While certain forms of mobility such as pilgrimage and élite travel have received some scholarly attention, we still understand relatively little about more everyday forms and experiences of mobility in the early modern world. 

We are seeking papers from across the disciplines which demonstrate how the 'mobility turn' is influencing Renaissance history, by exploring practices, social and material mechanisms, and sites of mobility. How did people move in the Renaissance world? How did mobile objects (materials, manufactured goods, books and letters, devotional objects) intersect with other forms of mobility? What spaces, places and policies facilitated or impeded movement? We are also interested to consider methodological issues associated with the study of Renaissance mobilities and new analytical tools that can allow scholars to work with sources created mostly from the point of view of the static and settled.


Potential themes might include:

·      mobility within and between cities

·      sites of mobility (inns, taverns, lodging houses, customs houses, ports, gates and ferry stations)

·      experiences of transport and the road

·      itinerancy and vagabondage

·      communications mechanisms and postal systems

·      state and civic policies regarding mobile people (identification, border control, expulsion/deportation)


Please send a brief abstract (max. 150 words) and a brief CV (max. 250 words) to the panel organizers, Rosa Salzberg ( and Paul Nelles (, by 20 May 2016.

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Tags:  communication  global history  identification  materiality  migration  mobility  taverns  travel 

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