The Reformation of the Generations: Age, Ancestry, and Memory in England 1500–1700

The Reformation of the Generations: Age, Ancestry and Memory in England 1500-1700 Folger Institute Spring Semester Seminar 2016 Alexandra Walsham (University of Cambridge)

The origins, impact and repercussions of the English Reformation have been the subject of lively debate. Although it is now widely recognised as a protracted process that extended over many decades and generations, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the links between the life cycle and religious change. Did age and ancestry matter during the English Reformation? To what extent did bonds of blood and kinship catalyse and complicate its path? And how did remembrance of these events evolve with the passage of the time and the succession of the generations? This seminar will investigate the connections between the histories of the family, the perception of the past, and England’s plural and fractious Reformations. It invites participants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to explore how the religious revolutions and movements of the period shaped, and were shaped by, the horizontal relationships that early modern people formed with their sibilings, relatives and peers, as well as the vertical ones that tied them to their dead ancestors and future heirs. It will also consider the role of the Reformation in reconfiguring conceptions of memory, history and time itself.

Schedule: The seminar will convene on Fridays 1-4.30pm, for 10 weeks from 5 February to 29 April 2016, excluding 18 March, 1 April and 15 April. In keeping with Folger tradition, there will be a tea break from 3.00 to 3.30pm. The session before the tea break will take the form of detailed discussion of the readings and engagement with the questions and themes for that week.

Presentations: All participants in the seminar will be invited to make a short presentation of their work in progress during weeks 2-9 of the seminar. These presentations will take place after the tea break and make up the final segment of each seminar. Presentations should be between 15 and 20 minutes in length and be designed to stimulate discussion among the group as a whole. The schedule for these presentations will be agreed during the first session of the seminar. Participants are asked to consider their provisional proposed topics in advance and email Alex Walsham briefly prior to the first meeting of the group.

Schedule of Sessions: (1) 5 February Introduction: Reformations and Generations (2) 12 February Youth (3) 19 February Age (4) 26 February Nature, Nurture, and Conversion (5) 4 March Holy Families: The Spiritualisation of the Household (6) 11 March Ancestry and Genealogy (7) 25 March Generations (8) 8 April Memory and Life-Writing (9) 22 April History and Time (10) 29 April Conclusions

Full syllabus here.