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CFP: Anti-Catholicism in Europe & America, 1520-1900

Submission deadline: April 30, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 11, 2018 - September 13, 2018

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Conference Venue:

School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Topic areas


A three-day workshop on anti-Catholicism in Europe and America will be held at Newcastle University 11-13 September 2018. The aims of the workshop are to compare and contrast the anti-Catholic traditions of a range of countries and regions across Europe and America from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century; to see how definitions of ‘popery’ changed according to the political/religious context in which they were situated; and to assess how, why, and to what extent anti-Catholicism might be seen to have contributed to wider historical processes such as the Reformation, Enlightenment, empire, state building, and the formation of national identities.

The workshop will not be run via a series of formal papers, but will encourage discussion, exchange and interdisciplinary debate. We would like to encourage historians, art historians, theologians, and literature scholars, and those from other disciplines and at all stages of their careers to participate in this workshop. If you are interested in contributing, please submit a 300 word abstract of your research interests and how they relate to one or more of the following themes to by April 30th 2018:

  • Anti-Catholicism and National Identities

  • Anti-Catholicism and the Atlantic World

  • Anti-Catholicism in America

  • Anti-Catholicism and the Reformation

  • Anti-Catholicism and the Enlightenment

  • Anti-Catholic readings of the past

  • Conspiracy Theories

  • Stereotypes

  • Representations of ‘papists’

  • Anti-Catholicism and politics/political thought

  • Anti-Catholic violence, unrest, and riot

  • Change and continuity in concepts of anti-Catholicism

  • Catholic reactions to anti-Catholicism

It is expected that proceedings from the workshop will be published at a later date.

The workshop is being organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded network, ‘Anti-Catholicism in British History: c. 1520-1900’. The aim of this network is to outline the history of anti-Catholicism in Britain by focussing on how it contributed to political, cultural, and religious movements during moments of crisis, by tracing the roles which stereotypes and conspiracy theories played in maintaining anti-Catholic ideology, and by assessing the ways in which anti-Catholicism changed across the centuries and how vital this change was to ensuring that it remained a significant part of ‘British’ and ‘Protestant’ identities. This workshop on Europe and America is intended to draw comparisons between nations: anti-Catholicism is often cited as being crucial to national identity, but was it, perhaps, a supra-national ideology? Given that so many countries and groups claimed it as a hallmark of their identity, can it be seen as a ‘national’ phenomenon in any meaningful sense?

If you would like to join the network or participate in its workshops and events, please send a brief outline of your research interests to

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