News and the Shape of Europe, 1500-1750

Conference at Queen Mary, University of London, 26-28th July 2013

Registration open:

Join us this July for the final event in the News Networks calendar: a three-day symposium on ‘News and the Shape of Europe, 1500-1750’.  This major news history event will feature 40 speakers from across Europe and the Americas, and will contribute to a new pan-European history of news, which has been the driving force behind and ultimate aim of the Leverhulme international network, News Networks in Early Modern Europe.

How did news cross Europe, and how did news make Europe? News in early modern Europe was a distinctively transnational phenomenon; its topics were international in scope; the forms and terminologies of news, as well as the news itself, crossed national boundaries; practices of news-gathering relied on networks of international agents; it was widely translated; it travelled along commercial routes, or through postal networks that were designed to be mutually connected; and the forces attempting to control the press operated (or attempted to operate) well outside of their actual jurisdiction. The spread of news and the appetite for it reflect changes in the geopolitical and confessional maps of Europe, spreading through ethnic and religious diasporas as well as diplomatic, mercantile, and scholarly networks. It helped forge communities on a local, national and international scale.

‘News and the Shape of Europe, 1500-1750’ will explore ways in which this history – history on a grand scale, and grounded in uncharted landscapes of evidence – can be written.

Topics covered include the languages, geographies, forms and infrastructures of early modern European news; reflections on the state of current research in the history of news communication, and methodological reflections on how to conceptualise networks in the context of news; and a number of case studies of particular axes, innovations, and problems in news transmission, spanning the full breadth of early modern Europe.

Speakers include Ruth Ahnert, Nadine Akkerman, Lloyd Bowen, Nicholas Brownlees, Paul Arblaster, André Belo, Brendan Dooley, Carmen Espejo, Stéphane Haffemayer, Helmer Helmers, Mario Infelise, Angela McShane, Paul Nelles, Jason Peacey, Joad Raymond, Lena Steveker, and many more.


You can register directly at our e-shop, here. The registration fee includes refreshments, lunches by high quality local caterers (Vietnamese, Turkish and Jewish cuisine), and, of course, plenty of cake to keep your sugar levels up during the papers! Please let us know if you have special dietary requirements. You can also sign up for the conference dinner on the Saturday evening, at the excellent price of £25.

Standard: £125 for 3 days; £100 for 2 days; £50 for 1 day

Graduate students/unwaged: £75 for 3 days; £60 for 2 days; £30 for 1 day

University of London graduate students: £30 for 3 days; £20 for 2 days; £10 for 1 day

Queen Mary staff and students: free

Conference Programme

You can see the conference programme here. It is also copied below this post.


The Octagon, Queens Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

Other details

If you have any queries, please contact Lizzy Williamson at Look at our events page for suggestions on accommodation.

Please tweet, blog and spread the word, and we look forward to seeing you there!


News and the Shape of Europe – Conference Schedule

Day 1: Friday 26th July 2013

8:45-9:15 Registration

The Octagon, Queen Mary, University of London

9:30-11:00 Session 1 – News Networks – Methods and Challenges

– Brendan Dooley (University College Cork) – International news flows in the Seventeenth Century – problems and prospects

– Javier Diaz Noci (Pompeu Fabra) – Gazeta da Amsterdam: A discourse and content analysis of the first Jewish newspaper, 1675-1690

– Nicholas Brownlees (Florence) – “Newes also came by Letters”: a corpus-based analysis of the function of “Letters” in the transmission of news in seventeenth-century England

11:15-12:45 Session 2: Forms and Genres (1) – Innovation in Print

– Helmer Helmers (Amsterdam) – The Theatre of Europe: the Thirty Years War and the development of Dutch news genres

– Jan Hillgaertner (Erlangen-Nuremberg/St Andrews) – Meeting the reader’s expectations: the design of early printed newspapers (1605-1680)

– Lena Steveker (Saarbruecken) – Sensational News and Political Polemic: Reporting monstrous births in Royalist pamphlets, 1640-1660

LUNCH 12:45-14:00

14:00-15:30 Session 3: Geographies (1) – Envisaging Europe

Angela McShane (Victoria & Albert Museum, London) – A view from the street: mapping the geographies of the political world in C17th broadside ballads

– Joop Koopmans (Groningen) – A sense of Europe? The European atmosphere in early modern Dutch media

– Sara Barker (Exeter) – Time in English translations of Continental News

15:45-17:15 Session 4: Themes  (1) – War

– Corinna Streckfuss (Oxford) – Habsburg Reports’ vs. ‘Valois Poems’? The use of news as propaganda at the end of the Italian Wars (1556-9)

– Alexander Buczynski (Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb) – War reporting on Croats and Pandours under the (in)famous Col. Trenck in newspapers of the 1740s

– Davide Boerio (Naples) – The ‘troubles of Naples’ in an English Civil War newsbook

Day 2: Saturday 27th July 2013

9:00-10:30 – Session 5: Networks (2) – Theorising Networks

– Ruth Ahnert (QMUL) – A network perspective of news communication

– Johann Petitjean (Panthéon-Sorbonne) – A news world: reflections on information’s spatiality in the Avvisi

– Joad Raymond (QMUL) – News Networks: Putting the ‘news’ and ‘networks’ back in

10:45-12:15 Session 6: Forms and Genres (2) – Avvisi Networks

Carmen Espejo (Seville) – The first Spanish gazette: Gazeta de Roma in Valencia (1618-1620). A critique of periodicity in Modern Age journalism. Co-authored with Francisco Baena (Seville)

– Massimo Petta (Independent) – War news in Milan: from Negroponte to Vienna, or the birth and the shaping of avvisi as a network medium

Mario Infelise (Venice) – The spread of news in Europe (XVI-XVII centuries): a proposal for periodisation

LUNCH 12:15-13:30

13:30-1500 Session 7: Geographies (2) – Transmission

– Nadine Akkerman (Leiden) – ‘The Postmistress of Brussels’: Alexandrine of Taxis and postal networks

– Nikolaus Schobesberger (Vienna) – Mapping the Fuggerzeitungen – the geographical issues of an information network

– Alexandra Schafer (Mainz) – Messires, what newes of Fraunce can you tell?’ News transfer about the French Wars of Religion from France to the Holy Roman Empire

15:15-16:45 Session 8: Themes (2) – Politics and Religion

– Marcus Nevitt (Sheffield) – News from Westminster and other places: Royalist satire and European news reporting in revolutionary England

– Nina Lamal (KU Leuven) – Promoting the Catholic cause on the Italian peninsula: Printed news reports on the religious and civil wars in France and in the Low Countries (1562-1600)

– Lloyd Bowen (Cardiff) – News, language and political culture in early modern Wales

17:00-18:30 Session 9 – Themes (3)- Diplomacy

– Jason Peacey (UCL) – My friend the gazetier: news and diplomacy in 17th-century Europe

– Rachael Scarborough King (NYU) – British diplomacy and the first ‘foregin correspondents’, 1695-1740

– Samuli Kaislaniemi (Helsinki) – Intelligence networks, diplomatic post, and the transmission of news between Spain and England 1600-1610


Day 3 – Sunday 28th July, 2013

9:30-11:00 Session 10: Networks (3) – Case Studies:

– André Belo (Rennes) – ‘A Portuguese network in exile through the news of the ‘calabrese’ king Sebastian (1598-1603)’

– Stéphane Haffemayer (Caen) – International networks of news published in France in the 1680s

– Paul Nelles (Carleton) – Jesuit news and Jesuit networks in 16th-century Europe

11:15-12:45 Session 11: Forms and Genres (3) – Case Studies

– Carlos Caracciolo (National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, Bologna) – News Networks and the system of information in early modern Bologna

Sophie Pitman (Bard) – Dolled Up: The dissemination of knowledge of national dress and foreign fashions in Renaissance Europe

– Jorge Pedro Sousa & Patricia Teixera (Fernando Pessoa) – “Journalism” in Early Modern Portugal: from occasional “news-books” to the periodical “news-papers”

12:45-14:00 – LUNCH

14:00-15:30 Session 12: Geographies (3) – War

– Virginia Dillon (Oxford) – The effect of changing reporting systems on the news networks of Transylvania, 1619-1658

– Emilie Dosquet (Panthéon-Sorbonne) – “We have been informed that the French are carrying Desolation everywhere”: the Devastation of the Palatinate as European News Event in Print (1688-1689)

– Kirsty Rolfe (QMUL) – It is no time now to enquire of forraine occurrents’: plague, war and rumour in the letters of Joseph Mead, 1625

15:45-17:15 Session 13: Themes (3) – News Agents

– Noah Moxham (St Andrews) – The work of a news supplier – Taylor’s coffee-house account book, 1701-1710

Lizzy Williamson (QMUL) – ‘Fishing for news’, or the ars apodemica: the role of the gentleman traveller in 16th-century intelligence networks

Paul Arblaster (Zuyd, Maastricht) – The Republic of Letters and the Europe of Print


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