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Individual Advice and Common Voices: The Politics of Counsel in Early Modern Europe

Posted By Harald E. Braun, Sunday, May 29, 2016
Updated: Sunday, May 29, 2016

Individual Advice and Common Voices: The Politics of Counsel in Early Modern Europe

One of the characteristics of early modern political culture (c.1500 - c. 1800) is a fundamental tension between the increasingly specialized sphere of matters of state on the one hand, and the progressive growth of public opinion on the other. Expertise and secrecy in many ways defined the activities of counselors, ambassadors, and other magistrates involved in political decision making. At the same time, monarchies, republics, churches, corporations and communities acknowledged that successful politics made it necessary to reach out and inform, direct and manipulate a growing political public.

This panel aims to explore the complementary, conflicting and contradictory roles of counselors active and employed in various roles on all levels of government. Papers could focus on the decision-making process, the modes of giving and receiving advice, the kinds of knowledge deemed relevant to politics or the strategies of accounting for and influencing public opinion. The focus could also be on political theory as expressed in contemporary political literature or the representation of counsel and the politics of counsel in the broadsides and pamphlets of the time.

The organizers welcome papers that offer detailed analysis of the different modes of early modern political agency and new insights into how confidential advice and public opinion related to one another.

The RSA deadline for submissions is near (Tuesday, 7 June 2016, at 11:59 pm EST). The organizers would therefore ask potential speakers to submit their proposal as soon as possible and at the latest by Thursday, 3 June 2016, at 12noon pm EST.
Ideally, we would like to have the submission ready before then, as we wish to submit the panel or panels for sponsorship by the Society for Renaissance Studies. The panel (s) therefore will have to go through and successfully complete the Society's vetting process before they can be submitted to RSA.
Potential speakers should send their submission to both organizers, please. The submission should include, please:
  • a paper title (15-word maximum)
  • abstract (150-word maximum) abstract guidelines
  • keywords
  • a very brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum). Prose bios will not be accepted. CV guidelines and models
  • first, middle, and last name; affiliation; and email address for all participants

The organizers: 

Saúl Martínez Bermejo (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid):


Harald. E. Braun (University of Liverpool): 


Tags:  Book History  Communication  Cultural History  History  Intellectual History  Political Culture  Political Networks 

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