The conference was successfully held 2-4 September 2010.
A conference publication is planned for 2011.

Contact: Professor Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre

Phone: (+46)-(0)8-16 1488

Call for Papers extended until 15 February

The invention of paper and of the printing press, the growth of the postal system, new techniques in warfare, and the expansion of the world known to the Europeans are some disparate but important developments in early modern Europe that resulted in new and expanded modes for communication as well as commercial, political, and cultural exchange. Renaissance Humanism and the Reformation further contributed to the development of a world that no longer corresponded to the “old” – medieval – world but that had not yet become the new”, industrialized world. The printing press and the development of a market economy paved the way for a mass market of print material that was consumed by a growing group of bourgeois city dwellers. New types of texts and new genres emerged while medieval texts were adapted and transformed. Other technical inventions affected culture in different ways: the development of optics influenced painting and literature; the development of watercolor and blacklead changed the conditions for painting and writing; the technical improvement of musical instruments enabled more refined music. In a more abstract way, technologies of language – such as rhetoric – and of painting and music – art and music theory – were developed in new ways. As a starting-point, attempts were made to define art and music through the theoretical system of rhetoric, but gradually the theories developed into original systems.

For the last thirty years or so there have been lively theoretical discussions about the correlation between literature and history, as well as literature and culture. The “cultural turn”, “new historicism”, the “linguistic turn”, as well as other theoretical approaches and aspects have contributed to a growing interest in investigating early modern literature and culture anew. Our conference therefore aims to bring together scholars to (re-)examine the importance of historical perspectives in literary studies, as well as to scrutinize the impact of “cultural studies” on early modern scholarship. We welcome contributions from various disciplines, particularly inter- and cross-disciplinary studies, but also diachronic investigations that can cast light on various relationships between the past and the present. Papers dealing with the use of new technologies – from the printing press to digitalization– as well as the application of contemporary theories to old textual or visual material are especially welcome.

Papers may focus on these and other related topics:

  • Literary and cultural historiography
  • Early modern cultural technologies
  • Text and context
  • (Re-)Writing literary history
  • Early modern literature and literary theory
  • Early modern art and art theory
  • Early modern music and music theory

20 minute papers are welcome. Abstracts of app. 250 words may be submitted by 15 February 2010. Please include your name and affiliation, a short cv and e-mail address in your proposal. Send your proposal to:
Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre, Department of Baltic languages, Finnish, and German, Stockholm University –

PhDnet Panel


Chair: Ansgar Nünning, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

• Cora Dietl, University of Giessen

. “Early Modern Dramaturgy of Horror”.
With the Italian Pre-Humanist’s interpretation of Seneca, a new understanding of tragedy was developed in the 14th century. Providence and fortune gained a new role in tragedy, and ‘katharsis’ was re-defined or replaced by the fascination of severe divine justice. While the first early modern tragedy, Mussato’s “Ecerinis”, illustrates the shocking death of a tyrant, later tragedies present the surreal horror of everyman’s cruel punishment in hell. The paper enquires the position of dread and horror in early modern theories of tragedy, and their presentation in selected dramas, especially in Christian Ischyrius’ “Homulus”, 1536 and in Jacob Bidermann’s “Cenodoxus”, 1602.

• Angela Locatelli. University of Bergamo

. “Landscaping literature in Early Modern England. Praxis, gnosis and the Shifting Knowledge of Literature”.
The cultural dynamics of early modern literary canon creation can be perceived as representing complex negotiations of early modern subjectivities and politics. Renaissance poets, school-masters and writers seem to self-consciously situate themselves in a strategic position for the elaboration of cultural and political consensus. Their shifting attitudes towards both the classics and the contemporary vernacular languages and literatures will be explored with reference to Ascham, Harrison, Sidney, Puttenham, Wilson, Bacon. In their works, literature itself was undergoing an epistemic re-assesment as a discipline, and as a tool of cultural mediation.

Session 1


Chair: Cora Dietl, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

• Cordelia Heß, Stockholm University

. “From Self-Imagination to Description? Orders and Ordering in Middle Low German Confessionaries”.
Confessionaries for lay reading were a popular genre in the 15th century, they contained directives on how merchants, widows or young men should prepare themselves for confession. In outlining the special needs of every social group these texts provide a description of a society’s self imagination: moral, biological, social, and professional factors all divide people into orders. My aim is to show how catechetical literature uses, transforms and differentiates the traditional tripartite scheme in various ways and thereby reacts upon a growing differentiation and transformation of medieval society itself.

• Kerstin Lundström, Stockholm University

. “Lay Pamphlet Writers During the Reformation.”
The reformation turned out to be more than just a religious movement of the church elite: Laymen increasingly took part in religious debates that were no longer reserved solely for church authorities when the Bible was translated into many of the languages spoken in Europe. The aim of the presentation is to examine the rhetoric of some lay preachers who participated in the reformation movements by writing (polemic) pamphlets and who tried to push the reformation forward in a more radical way. Based on selected writings by Melchior Hoffman and Clemens Ziegler in Strasbourg I will investigate the questions that they dealt with seen in relation to their status as laymen. My thesis is that specific rhetorical strategies were required and that this can be seen in their texts.

• Sinikka Neuhaus, Lund University

. “Piety and Propaganda”.
In the early reformation process in Malmö, the printing press became an important technological tool in the spread of the evangelical message. During a couple of years 33 evangelical texts and 10 profane were printed in Malmö (compared with Copenhagen where four evangelical, two catholic and two profane writings were printed). In forming a pious citizen through printing propaganda emphasis on the Word of God, but also endemic anticlericalism, were combined elements in the evangelical message addressed to a wide public in a mainly oral culture.

Session 2


Chair: Peter Gillgren, Stockholm University

• Mats Malm, Göteborg University

. "Emotions and the System of Genres".
This paper strives to clarify the emergence of lyric as the third of the major genres. The renaissance attempts to define painting through rhetoric’s categories can be used to illuminate an incompatibility between poetry and painting, which lead to the fact that emotions were defined not only as instruments – as they had mostly been before – but also as objects of poetry. Painting’s potential of treating emotions as objects then appears to have influenced the definition of poetry when the fine arts were launched in the 18th century, enabling lyric to be finally established among the literary genres.

• Elisabetta Colla, Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon. “In-betweeness: History and Cultural Studies. The Case of Michel de Certau”.
This paper will focus on the “liminal” negotiation of academic disciplines in the field of cultural studies and their differences in content, methodology, and cultural tradition. When developing a PhD thesis about the local gazetteers of the ‘Xiangshan’ district (where Macao is located) from the 17th century, I had to face many questions, one among others: what is the place of history in the 21st century before the overwhelming narrative of cultural studies? The talk will draw from Jesuit Michel de Certeau’s hybrid theory of history to find a productive middle ground amongst disciplines.

• Maik Bierwirth, Universität Paderborn

. “Context – Intertext: A Prerequisite of Cultural Relevance”.
Based on paradigms of New Historicism and intertextuality, I will discuss the relation between cultural production and evaluation. In contrast to ‘quantitative criteria’ going along with a commercial perspective on culture or ‘aesthetic criteria’ (e.g. “innovation”), which often set the norm for the archiving of cultural artifacts, cultural value can be described as an amalgamation of discursive strategies that lend a sense of relevance to art/literature via qualitative, productive forms of reference. Through quotation, criticism or re-contextualization, a repetition of the work is carried out that renews its value: Thus, I propose a scheme for literary historiography that emphasizes social context and participation.

Session 3


Chair: Angela Locatelli, University of Bergamo

• Nina Johansson. Linnéuniversitetet/ Södertörns högskola

. "Praising a Queen: Gender and Rhetoric in One German-Language Panegyrical Text Written in Connection with the Coronation of Ulrika Eleonora the Younger in the Year 1719".
This paper will focus on questions of gender and sovereignty in one of the texts written to celebrate the accession of the Swedish queen Ulrika Eleonora in the year 1719. What role does gender play in this text? How are the roles and virtues ascribed to the queen to be interpreted against the backdrop of the various discourses on gender and sovereignty circulating in the Early Modern period? Moreover, the paper will analyze the rhetorical strategies used in the text discussed. What ideological ideals are expressed and what rhetorical devices are used to make the queen act in accordance with these ideals?

• Lisa Skogh, Stockholm University

. "Patronage & Networks of Influences. How a List of Books can be analysed in reference to Hedwig Eleonora of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottrop’s (1636-1715) role as a Patron of the Arts".
In this paper I will from a list of books present a small, private hitherto unknown book collection owned by Queen Dowager Hedwig Eleonora. Questions as how to interpret this list are manifold. An analysis has been pursued that may reflect ideologies and activities behind the patronage of the Swedish Queen Hedwig Eleonora of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp (1636-1715) and the royal absolute power that she represented. Analyzing her networks has become a crucial methodological point of departure in my dissertation research, which concerns her role as a collector and patron of the arts, and I will in this paper also argue that this list of books not only presents a previously unknown book collection, but also that this list presents Hedwig Eleonora in the centre of a wide international network of varied influences.

• Kathleen Smith, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

. “The Context of Collecting: Textual Transfer in Early Modern German Women’s Wills”.
My paper explores book collecting among women in early modern German-speaking territories by examining the disposal of their property as outlined in their wills. Making a will in itself attests to the legitimacy of ownership by asserting that testators have the right to dispose of their personal possessions. In the case of collections, a will could reflect many different perceived functions, such as a desire to create legacies by preserving them intact. By examining the decisions these women made about their collections, we can investigate their own perceptions of them, as well as the act of collecting in general.

Session 4


Chair: Mats Malm, University of Gothenburg

• Mara Grudule, University of Latvia

. „Courland’s Opitz (1697)”.
Johann Wischmann, a priest in Dondangen, adapted the ideas of Martin Opitz and composed the first poetics for Latvian literature “Der unteutsche Opitz” (Riga, 1697). The book – consisting of a theoretical part and a small collection of poetry – played a crucial role in German Baltic and Latvian culture. The content of the paper will discuss the impact and transformation of Martin Opitz’s ideas on Wischmann`s theoretical thought and the question of the addressee of the volume.

• Erland Sellberg, Stockholm University

. “The Impact of Education on Early-Modern Political Culture”.
Essential for my paper is the concept of political culture and the close connection between rhetoric and humanist education in early-modern Sweden. The need for a reform of education for the increasing state administration was urgent. To achieve this goal it was necessary to enhance the study of the humanistic disciplines, in particular rhetoric, history and politics. The Government relied primarily on Johan Skytte to accomplish such a teaching reform. The paper will in rough lines demonstrate this process and its impact on the Swedish political culture.

• Peter Sjökvist, Uppsala University

. “A Congratulatory Academic Address”.
In early modern academic dissertations we usually find several liminary texts: dedications, congratulatory texts from teachers and fellow students, etc. As paratexts (using the concept of Genette) these liminaries naturally relate to the main text of the dissertations. But in what way? In my paper I will offer some preliminary reflections on this question, by taking a closer look at a congratulatory address written in prose by the praeses Andreas Norcopensis (Nordenhielm) to the respondent Harald Vallerius, later professor of mathematics in Uppsala. The text was included in his printed Disputatio Physico-Musica de Sono (1674).

Session 5


Chair: Pirjo Lyytikäinen, University of Helsinki

• Peter Gillgren, Stockholm University

. "Renaissance Multimedia: the Case of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement".
This paper investigates Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sistine chapel as a multimedia perforamance. The painting is related to other works of art as well as musical and ritual practices of the site, more specifically the celebration of tenebrae and the singing of Miserere in the falsobordone style. These relations, it is claimed, give explanation to a number of features of the painted work, so that a number of its most characteristic features can be said to be the result of the fresco being optimized to function within a multimedia discourse.

• Mario Gomes, University of Bonn. "The Polymedial Object. Observations on Music Theory and Literature Around 1900."
The possibility of encoding subject matter in any kind of artistic form seems to mark a twist on the dominant aesthetic paradigm of the late 19th century where music had been the preponderant Art. Post-Schönbergian musical theory transforms music into a set of discrete entities, reducing it to its materiality and equaling it to all other Art forms. Starting from Robert Walser’s short narrative "Waldbrand" this paper aims at presenting examples from literary and theoretical texts around 1900 in which the materiality of music are explored and in which the possibility of transmedial representation of subject matter is explored.

• Jörn Münkner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

. “Ars fortificatoria: The Military Treatise in the Renaissance”.
In 1527 Albrecht Dürer published the treatise "Manifold Teaching/about the Fortification of Towns/Castles/and Places". The concern of the book is twofold: how to achieve an ideal stronghold to counter the new attacking forces and to name criteria an urban residence must fulfill to be viably safe for the sovereign. I want to look at Dürer’s strategies to compose an artefact which is also a ‘fact book’, i.e. an epistemic object on the architectvra militaris intended for pragmatic use. I shall discuss Dürer’s drawing practices in accordance to their function to proliferate an optimized comprehension that makes possible the design’s potential realisation.

Session 6


Chair: Kai Sicks, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

• Carin Franzén, Linköping University

. “Spiritual and Courtly Love – Prolegomena to a New Reading Strategy”.
In my paper I discuss the ambiguity of spiritual and courtly love in pre- and early modern literature as an articulation of power relations, not only between church and court, but also between sexes. My argument is that female writers from this period use the ambiguity of love as a strategy to create points of resistance in a male hegemonic discourse. By taking my theoretical frame from Foucault I suggest that such a discourse can be read as “a multiplicity of discursive elements that can come into play in various strategies”, and how women’s writing are part of that multiplicity.

• Maria Granic-White, Purdue University

. “The Father: A Presence by Language”.
This presentation examines the father’s constitution out of imbrications of conspicuously related discourses: mythology, religion, biology, law, and psychology. Quite often a physical absence, the father becomes a fictional presence by the language of such discourses. By making recourse to Victorian novels, Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” and Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure”, among others, this presentation will reappropriate the absent presence of the father by way of language; in other words, it will achieve what Derrida would call “a restitution of presence by language”. The principal claim is that these discourses present the father as an institution.

• Linda Karlsson Hammarfelt, Stockholm University

. “‘Mothers’ and ‘Prostitutes’ at the Turn of the Century. Weininger, Kraus, Strindberg and the Discourse on the ‘Weib’”.
August Strindberg and Karl Kraus were both influenced by Otto Weininger’s philosophical work “Geschlecht und Charakter” (1903) and Weininger’s suicide in 1903 became the starting point for a correspondence between the two. I will analyse texts by Kraus and Strindberg published in Kraus’ journal “Fackel” from 1903 until Strindberg’s death in 1912. The aim is to follow the reception of Weininger’s conception of the ‘Weib’ in the texts, but also to read them in the context of coeval European discourses on the ‘nature’ of women, women’s rights and the relation between the sexes.

Session 7


Chair: Claudia Egerer, Stockholm University

• Heiko Droste, Södertörns Högskola

. “Manuscript Newspapers – More than Just a Predecessor to Printed Newspapers”.
My presentation concerns handwritten newspapers as an integral part of early modern news culture. Handwritten newspapers were sold alongside their printed twin. They were very expensive and matched the needs of rich merchants, state servants, and other elite groups. The talk will present the genre and discuss its function as a part of a news culture that up to the eighteenth century combined socially embedded, as well as handwritten and printed news forms.

• Pauls Daija, University of Latvia

. "German Pastors Writing in Latvian: Colonial Perspectives in the Secularization of Latvian Literature".
The secularization of Latvian literature took place generally in the 18th century within the context of German Popular Enlightenment, but had its roots already in the age of the Reformation. The most striking point of interest here is the colonial relationship between authors writing in Latvian (Baltic German elite) and their readers (ethnic Latvian peasants), which had important consequences for the literary communication system. The presentation shows how postcolonial theoretical approaches (such as contextual analysis of hybridity, mimicry and cultural hegemony) could be of help in order to explain the importance of this process.

Information about transportation and directions

We collected some information about transportation and directions in Stockholm to help you find your way in Stockholm. In the following PDF you will find information about:

  • Transportation from different Stockholm airports to the city terminal
  • Directions from the city terminal to Stockholm University
  • Directions to Hotel Hellsten or Youth Hostel Fridhemsplan
  • Information about the Stockholm metro (prices etc.)
  • Maps of the metro and university campus

You can easily download the PDF by clicking here: "Stockholm transportation PhDnet conference"

If you have problems with the download or additional questions, you are welcome to contact Kerstin Lundström (