Cultures of Bureaucracy

Cultures of Bureaucracy
Date
13 July 2018, 12.00am - 11.00pm
Type
Call for Papers
Description

The Warburg Institute

Call for Papers

65th Annual Renaissance Society of America Conference 

Toronto, 17-19 March 2019

The Warburg Institute is an Associate Organisation of the RSA and is entitled to host three sessions and to propose to the RSA Panel an additional two.

  

Cultures of Bureaucracy

We seek papers to contribute to a cultural history of Renaissance bureaucracy. During the last forty years, scholars have applied a cultural-historical perspective to the production, reception, and use of textual objects in a number of domains, yet the cultures of Renaissance administration remain largely unexplored. The very notion of “bureaucracy” seems to run counter to themes of cultural history: hierarchy in place of agency, exclusion in place of collaboration, and formality in place of negotiation.

 

A cultural approach to the people, practices, and material texts of Renaissance bureaucracy has the potential to challenge traditional notions of early modern statecraft and administration. Local and regional officials, secretaries and clerks, diplomats and couriers weathered the storms of war, the upset of regime change, and the occasional bankruptcy of their employers. Tax records, chancery documents, and ample official correspondence show an ongoing tension between ideals and customs in the worlds they moved between. How did notions of publicity and privacy, patronage and service, honor and dishonor guide documentary production, reception, and use? How do seemingly formulaic texts demonstrate both cultural influence and individual ambitions? How did protocol and administrative ideals shape the private lives of bureaucrats?

For this series of panels, we encourage papers to draw from any cultural-historical approaches, including material, gender- and class-based analyses. We particularly welcome papers that find collaboration and negotiation in bureaucratic archives, and/or contribute to a more humanized understanding of the Renaissance state.

Potential themes might include:

  • bureaucracy from below: agency and informal networks in the production, use, and reception of political-administrative documents, including outsiders to bureaucracy, women and non-traditional office-holders;
  • popular perceptions and depictions of bureaucrats, and their positive and negative influence on governance;

  • spatial histories of administration and the spaces of action (from offices and archives, to public venues and private houses);

  • bureaucracy on the move: travelling personnel and exchange of administrative ideas;
  • philosophical, literary and artistic themes related to imagined administrations, notions of civil service, and self-fashioning by agents of the state;
  • bureaucratic patronage and the political administration of art, music, and architecture.

 

We welcome proposals from scholars at all levels of professional life and are particularly eager to hear from past Fellows, either in terms of individual papers or session proposals. Please note that the Society decrees that sessions cannot be composed only of students.

THE WARBURG IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONFRENCE IN TORONTO. ALL APPLICANTS MUST BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THEIR OWN TRAVEL AND ACCOMODATION COSTS.  

This is a key issue: we cannot appoint participants who then drop out because of funding, as we will have turned down other scholars.

To propose a paper:

Please email the following to warburg@sas.ac.uk

  • Your name, title, affiliation, email address
  • Paper title (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract of 150-words: see abstract guidelines 

  • Your method of funding the cost of joining RSA, and travelling to and participating in the conference, which is in Toronto, Canada

 

All proposals must be received by 13 July 2018.


Contact

Warburg Events
warburg@sas.ac.uk
020 7862 8910