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The 'British' Churches 1603-1707: from Dynastic Union to Anglo-Scottish Union

June 22, 2017 - June 23, 2017
University of Kent

Keynes College University of Kent
Canterbury CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

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Timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the launching of the Five Articles of Perth by James VI & I in Scotland in 1617, this conference seeks to bring together scholars with an interest in religion across the British Isles during the 17th century.   Since the advent of 'New British History' in the 1980s, a range of scholars have given extensive treatment to various aspects of British history, but the religion of the three kingdoms still remains relatively under-explored. This conference aims to redress the balance by providing the opportunity for a discourse on any aspect of the history of the British churches, loosely within the period from the accession of James VI to the English throne in 1603, until Anglo-Scottish union in 1707.  Religious developments in Scotland, England and Ireland will be considered in their own right, as well as through the prism of the three kingdoms, to gauge similarities and differences pertaining to the churches over which the Stuart monarchs sought to achieve varying degrees of control.  Among the themes and topics to be considered during the conference will be the extent to which the histories of the churches are convergent or divergent, as well as the impact of key events or moments in one church, on developments within the others; while doctrine, government, conformity and nonconformity, private and public worship, parish life, Catholic dissent and confessional relations are all ripe for re-investigation.  In the context of the potential disintegration of the United Kingdom post-Brexit, the conference will aim to provide a fresh perspective on the extent of religious union and/or disunity in the British Isles before the opening of the 18th century and so contribute to a better understanding of tensions within early modern nation states.

There will plenaries from Raymond Gillespie (Maynooth) and Anthony Milton (Sheffield); shorter papers from Ian Atherton (Keele), Julian Goodare (Edinburgh), Laura Stewart (York) and Stephen Taylor (Durham).  Peter Lake (Vanderbilt) will lead the final roundtable discussion. We invite papers, of 20 minutes each, or panels of three speakers on a common topic or theme.  Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to Kenneth Fincham ( or Leonie James ( by the deadline of Monday 16 January 2017. All submissions should include the name of the presenter, their institution, email address, a short profile, and the title of the proposed paper. Proposals from PGs and ECRs are warmly welcomed; bursaries will be available for postgraduate and, if possible, ECR speakers.  Conference registration will open in February 2017.  In the meanwhile, if you wish to attend but not give a paper, please drop an email to one of the conference organisers.

The conference is being jointly organised by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent.  The organisers are: Jackie Eales (CCCU), Kenneth Fincham (Kent), Andrew Foster (Kent), Leonie James (Kent) and Sara Wolfson (CCCU).

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