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Cfp: Renaissance Cardinals: Diplomats and Patrons in the Early-Modern World

September 15, 2014 at 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Saint Mary’s University Twickenham is hosting an international conference on Renaissance cardinals as diplomats and patrons. The conference will mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas Wolsey’s being made a cardinal by Pope Leo X. As ‘Princes of the Church’, cardinals were almost invariably important politicians and international representatives of the Papacy, of princely, national, republican and civic regimes, and of their own families. The conference, organised by the School of Arts and Humanities, will take an innovative, interdisciplinary, approach to cardinals as ‘super-diplomats’, powerful political and cultural brokers, who played a vital role in the transfer and adaptation of ideas and artefacts within and beyond their primary sphere of Western Europe.
Proposals on any aspect of the role of cardinals as early-modern papal, princely, civic and dynastic representatives and patrons (rather than as ecclesiastics per se) will be considered. Papers from research students and early-career researchers are especially welcome.
Some suggested areas of enquiry and discussion include:

  • Ritual and protocol in diplomatic encounters between cardinals, secular diplomats, and rulers
  •  The development, training and careers as diplomats of individual cardinals
  •  The role of Church diplomats in the circulation of texts, literary ideas and artefacts
  •  The representation of cardinals as diplomats in literary texts and art
  •  Early modern legal and philosophical attitudes to churchmen/cardinals as diplomats
  •  The artistic and architectural patronage of cardinals, as diplomats
  •  The impact of the European Reformation in all its phases on the diplomatic practices and traditions of the Catholic Church
  •  The part played by cardinals in Western Europe’s encounter with the world beyond.

Enquiries and Proposals for 20 minute papers or panels of 3-4 papers should be sent to Glenn.Richardson at or Eugenia.Russell at by 15 September 2014. Individual paper proposals should be no more than 300 words. Panel proposals should include abstracts of all papers (max 300 words) and a brief rationale (max 100 words) for the panel. All proposals should be accompanied by a short statement of affiliation and career. Delegates will be notified by 15 October 2014.


September 15, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Saint Mary’s University Twickenham
London, United Kingdom