University of Exeter

The CEMS Postgraduate Conference 2017: Living Well and Dying Well in the Early Modern World

Keynote Speakers: Dr Lucy Munro (KCL); Dr Amy Erickson (Cambridge), 15 & 16 June

Following the success of our inaugural conference last year, the Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Exeter is pleased to announce our second annual postgraduate conference. This two-day conference will explore the varied aspects of life and death and their representations in art, literature, and culture between 1500 and 1800, and we welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate students in any humanities discipline.

  • Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to:
  • Ideas of a good life in the early modern period
  • The economic lives of early modern families
  • Concepts of happiness, satisfaction, or enjoyment
  • Advice on how to ensure a good life or death
  • Class and society
  • Celebrations and memorials (in society, art, music, and drama)
  • Medical, scientific, and other advances which contributed to the quality of life
  • Work and labour
  • Valued relationships, beliefs, or objects
  • Gendered virtue, sociability, or affection
  • Stage representations of living, the life cycle, death, and dying

Proposals should comprise a 200-word abstract and a brief biography. Please email proposals to with the heading ‘2017 conference proposal’ by 31 March 2017. Any queries can also be emailed to the same address. Some travel grants will be available and will be announced closer to the conference.


The CEMS Postgraduate Conference 2016: Fate, Chance & Happenstance in the Early Modern Period

Keynote speakers: Professor Steven Gunn (Oxford); Professor Tiffany Stern (Oxford)‌

The first CEMS Postgraduate conference in May 2016 brought together undergraduate, masters and Ph.D students from a number of different discplines, including but not limited to history, English, drama, history of art, music, law and languages. The conference took place in Reed Hall, a stunning Italianate mansion in the grounds of the university, with a conference dinner in the historic city centre.

The broad theme was ‘Fate, chance and happenstance in the early modern period’. Paper topics included:

  • The role played by chance in historical events in the early modern period
  • The role played by chance in the creation of early modern literature, drama and music
  • The themes of fate and chance in early modern literature, drama and music
  • Fate and chance relating to Shakespeare and/or his works
  • Fate and chance in early modern performance
  • Contemporary views on fate, chance and superstition
  • Chance meetings and their consequences, both for individuals and on a wider level