Call for Papers

The Court of Star Chamber mediated many aspects of early modern political, religious, and cultural development prior to its abolition shortly before the onset of the seventeenth-century civil wars. Censorship of the press, fraud, libel, riot and more came to the court before members of parliament convinced that it had become an engine of tyranny ordered its closure. In addition to the importance of the court itself to early modern history, its records have left historians, literary scholars, and other researchers an unusually rich resource. Researchers have often turned to the proofs and pleadings that survive in the Star Chamber archive, and to revealing effect. Yet despite the centrality (and later notoriety) of the court, aspects of its history remain poorly understood, and despite the widespread use of some Star Chamber records, impediments to the full exploitation of the archive remain. More is yet to be done.

We will host a short conference on the court and its records at Durham University, on 8-9 July 2019. At minimum, the event will be an opportunity to share work in progress on the court itself or that draws in substance upon its distinctive records. We also hope that the discussions might serve as the basis for new collaborative work on the court and its records in future.

If you are interested in giving a 15-20 minute presentation at the conference, please send a title, an abstract of 250-300 words, and a cv to Krista Kesselring ( by 31 January 2019. We will send decisions along by mid-February. In line with General Data Protection regulations, please also offer a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each of the following statements in the email accompanying your abstract:

  1. My email address can be added to the conference mailing list to receive updates about the conference.
  2. My name, affiliations, and abstract can be added to the conference participants’ list, which will be included in the conference materials and posted to the conference website.

The event itself will be free for presenters and a limited number of attendees, but we do not anticipate that we will be able to subsidize the costs of travel or accommodations. Durham has good train links with many UK cities and towns; a train journey from London typically takes less than three hours. Newcastle Airport is only a short trip away from Durham by taxi or by metro/train, and has daily flights to a number of major European hubs.

Organizers: Natalie Mears, Durham University, and Krista Kesselring, Dalhousie University.


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