Past CEMS Postgraduate Conferences

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

The second annual postgraduate conference was a two-day conference that explored the varied aspects of life and death and their representations in art, literature, and culture between 1500 and 1800. Students from a variety of humanities disciplines gave papers during the event, which was a great success. You can read Josh Rhodes conference report here, or see a Storify of the event here. The conference twitter hashtag was #EMLifeDeath.

Paper topics included:

  • 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

Conference Committee 2017: Sarah-Jayne Ainsworth, Harry McCarthy, Josh Rhodes.


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

Conference Committee 2016: Sarah-Jayne Ainsworth, Imogene Dudley, Michelle Webb.