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Massacre and Genocide in the early modern world

Posted By Igor Pérez Tostado, Tuesday, May 31, 2016

From the 17th century onwards, the Early Modern European empires took root around the world in an era of crises and of unprecedented mass violence. One of the new and key elements of these outbursts was that, for the first time in history, violence on different continents was interconnected in the underlying ideas, some of the participating individuals and long-term consequences.

The extreme violence of the early modern period must be studied in a comparative, nuanced and dynamic perspective based on extensive archival research, attentive to the cultural specificity and individual complexity of each case. Combined and compared, the individual studies can shed new light on the construction of the mind of the colonizers and colonized, their power interactions and facilitate a better of the dynamics involved in such processes. 

Comparing massacres, “genocidal massacres” and “genocidal moments” in the Americas and beyond, the proposed session(s) aim to look at the available methodological tools for the comparative and connected analysis of early modern violence, and the emergence of common treads among individual case studies and their short and long-lasting consequences, such as in racialized identity, discrimination and despoliation.

Papers are invited from a range of disciplines—history, ethnography, anthropology, art history, archaeology, environmental history, political and social sciences to name a few— that address the problem of collective violence, massacre and genocide in the early modern period. Comparative, methodological and connected perspectives are specially welcomed. Possible topics might include:

  • Studies of individual early modern conflicts that led to extreme collective violence. Case studies related to the Americas during the 17th and 18th centuries will be specially welcomed.
  • How early modern massacres differed from previous and subsequent experiences of extreme violence.
  • Studies of contemporary artistic, literary, historical, etc. interpretation of early modern massacre.
  • Innovative methodological approaches to the study of early modern massacres and the societies in which it developed.
  • How massacres are linked with the consolidation of colonial societies and how impact their long term developments
  • What connections can be detected between the different cases of extreme violence in the margins of the emerging European empires of the early modern era.
  • Which are the long term enduring effects of Early Modern massacres present in the contemporary era.
  • How extreme collective violence influenced contemporary ideas of rule, government and political (i)legitimacy.


Please submit proposals as soon as possible and at the latest by Sunday 5 June 2016 at 3pm EST, to:


Submissions should include:

  • Paper title (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract (150-word maximum, refer to RSA abstract guidelines)
  • Up to 5 keywords
  • Brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum,  refer to RSA CV guidelines; first and last name; affiliation (or “Independent Scholar”)
  • Email address

Tags:  17th century  18th century  colonialism  comparative history  connected history  extreme violence  genocide  global history  imperialism  massacre  methodology 

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