Mapping Networks and Practices of Political Exchange in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: British Political Thought in Early Modern Europe (symposium)

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For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a weekend symposium held from May 18 to May 20, 2000 and was one of the Center for the History of British Political Thought programs. J.G.A. Pocock (Johns Hopkins) and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge) codirected the opening session. Invited scholars who led following discussions included Sharon Achinstein (University of Maryland), J. H. Burns (London), Conal Condren (New South Wales), Lori Anne Ferrell (Claremont Graduate University), Anthony Grafton (Princeton), Sarah Hanley, Noel Malcolm (Harvard University), R. Malcolm Smuts (University of Massachusetts), Johann P. Sommerville (University of Wisconsin), and Richard Tuck (Harvard).

This weekend symposium sought patterns and networks of interaction between "British" (insular) and "European" (Continental) intellectual culture. How far was British political thought drawn from a common European pool? How far did it entail migration and two-way exchanges between these and other political cultures? How far was it idiosyncratic, internally produced and distributed? These and related questions were discussed in this symposium, which strove to learn as much from what does not travel as from what does travel across political cultures. The symposium took up several particular aspects of these problems in turn. How, for instance, were the languages of monarchies, whether of the well-counseled prince or the regiment of women, generated and communicated? How do the churches of England and Scotland appear in the international context of Roman Catholicism and Calvinism? To what extent are the languages of civil war generated locally and/or shared among cultures? And finally, how many histories has Leviathan and how far do they converge in one?