Launch 2015: The Henry Crabb Robinson Project

Wednesday 3 June 2015 at 5.15pm
Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0AR 
A lecture to mark the public launch of the Henry Crabb Robinson Project.

Professor Timothy Whelan (Georgia Southern), ‘Henry Crabb Robinson and the Questions of Pre-Existence and Immortality in the 1830s’. Chaired by Dr James Vigus (QMUL)

The lecture and discussion will be followed by a wine reception from 6.30-7.15pm.

Attendance is free of charge and all are welcome. For the purpose of planning the reception, please register by email to if you wish to attend.

This event forms part of the distinguished visiting fellowship at Queen Mary University of London of Timothy Whelan, general editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of the Reminiscences and Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson.

Dissent and the representation of war

This is the final programme of the conference, Saturday 16 May 2015, Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, WC1H 0AR

The 11th annual one-day conference of the Centre focuses on Dissenters’ attitudes to war and peace in the period from the American Revolutionary War (c. 1775) to the Spanish Peninsular War (c. 1809).

Registration and coffee



Lecture 1
‘Towards a non-militaristic language of patriotism: Anna Letitia Barbauld from ‘Ode to Corsica’ (1773) to Eighteen Hundred and Eleven‘, Professor Emma Clery (Southampton)

Lecture 2
‘Quaker Pacifism, African Warfare, and the Case against the Slave Trade’, Professor Brycchan Carey (Kingston University)


Lecture 3
‘War Versus Universal Benevolence: Richard Price and His Influence’ , Dr Rémy Duthille (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)

Sandwich lunch


Lecture 4
‘“The energy of those principles that shake Europe to the centre”: The French Revolution and Welsh Dissent’, Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales)


Lecture 5
‘Our Man in Spain: Henry Crabb Robinson as War Correspondent for The Times during the Peninsular War (1808-1809)’, Professor Karen Racine (University of Guelph)



Conference fee: £10 (£4 students), payable on the door. Please register by email to, stating any dietary requirements for the sandwich lunch.


Anglo-German connections in Hamann, Blake & the Moravians

A lecture with Alexander Regier (Rice University)

28 April 2015, King’s College London, VB3.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 12.45-14.00

This paper is on the historical, textual, and conceptual relations between Johann Georg Hamann, William Blake, and the Moravian congregation in London around 1750-60. The significant connections between them form part of a wider Anglo-German cluster of exchange during the Enlightenment that has not been uncovered before. Hamann connects with the Moravians during his visit in London in 1758 (also the year of Blake’s birth). Recent work on Blake has established that his mother was an active member of the congregation. My discussion analyses these layers and their connection with Hamann’s London writings, as well as Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience. In my readings I pay special attention to the Moravian’s insistence on the value of the “ordinary”, as well as to their actively multilingual Anglo-German background and practices. I conclude that through such a comparative and multi-lingual approach we can see how Blake’s and Hamann’s formative engagement with the Moravians is an important part of their overall work and their position as central eighteenth-century authors.

For more information, see:

Dissent and the Representation of War

Dissent and the Representation of War

Saturday 16 May 2015, Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square WC1H 0AR

 The 11th annual one-day conference of the Centre focuses on Dissenters’ attitudes to war and peace in the period from the American Revolutionary War (c. 1775) to the Spanish Peninsular War (c. 1809).

9.45am, Registration and coffee

10.10am, Welcome

10.15–11.05am, Lecture 1, ‘Dissent and British Opposition to the War of American Independence’, Professor Stephen Conway (UCL)

11.10am–12.00pm, Lecture 2, ‘Quaker Pacifism, African Warfare, and the Case against the Slave Trade’, Professor Brycchan Carey (Kingston University)

12.05–1.05pm, Lecture 3, ‘War Versus Universal Benevolence: Richard Price and His Influence’ , Dr Rémy Duthille (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)

Conference poster

Sandwich lunch

 2.15-3.05pm, Lecture 4, ‘“The energy of those principles that shake Europe to the centre”: The French Revolution and Welsh Dissent’, Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales)

3.10-4.00pm, Lecture 5, ‘Our Man in Spain: Henry Crabb Robinson as War Correspondent for The Times during the Peninsular War (1808-1809)’, Professor Karen Racine (University of Guelph)

 4–4.45pm, Tea

Conference fee: £10 (£4 students), payable on the door. Please register by 1 May 2015 by email to, stating any dietary requirements for the sandwich lunch.

Workshop on Dissent at Villa Vigoni: 11-14 May 2015

This is the second in a series of three workshops at Villa Vigoni (Menaggio, Italy) aimed at confronting different national perspectives on Dissent in early-modern Europe.

More specifically, the workshop proposes to question:

I. Alliances and networks: the construction of Dissenting groups

II. Dissenting discourses and modes of communication

III. Materiality/immateriality

For more information, see the presentation on

Persecution, Tolerance, and Coexistence: A New Journal

PERSECUTION, TOLERANCE, AND COEXISTENCE ( is an open-access, on-line journal that will appear semi-annually and will publish articles on: religious violence and persecutions; the defense and motivation of tolerance and intolerance, and the reality and problems of religious coexistence in Early Modern Europe and her colonial extensions. In recent years there has been an upsurge in research on and interest in these topics – as evidenced for example by at least two special conferences held this year (2015) on this topic (Tracing the Path of Tolerance, May 26-27 in Padua, Italy; and Religious Toleration in the Age of Enlightenment, 1650-1800, June 22-23, in Pamplona, Spain). This journal wants to offer a forum for this exciting new research. It will publish some six articles per issue; the journal will also have a review section for selected books.

Seminar in Dissenting Studies


The Lecture Hall

Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR. 

All are welcome.
Wednesday 22 April 2015 5.15 to 6.45 pm

David Hayton (Ulster University)

‘Dissenters at the polls in Ireland, 1692–1760’

The social and political profile of Dissent in eighteenth-century Ireland was shaped by the heavy immigration of Presbyterians into Ulster during the preceding hundred years, and especially in the 1690s. This created a situation in which Dissenters constituted a majority of Protestants in some northern counties, and a substantial minority in others, while in the other three provinces they were dispersed and, with the exception of Dublin, unimportant politically. The concentration of Dissenters in Ulster aroused fear and antagonism among the clergy and laity of the established church, and led to the introduction for the first time in Ireland in 1703 of a sacramental test, which applied to crown and municipal office-holders and had an immediate effect on Presbyterians in some parliamentary boroughs. It is often stated, erroneously, that Dissenters were disenfranchised by the Test, but this was not true either in theory or in practice. In Ulster, however, the effect of the Test was twofold, to weaken Presbyterian representation among the social elite, many of whom began to conform in consequence, but to maintain a sense of grievance which kept Presbyterians together in some constituencies as a coherent political force. This paper will try to determine the reality of Dissenting electoral influence in the half-century after the passage of the Test, and its importance in providing the backbone of the ‘patriot’ movement of the 1750s and 1760s, which paved the way for political reform

Continue reading Seminar in Dissenting Studies

Nonconformist Women and their Literary Practices 1650–1850

Nonconformist Women and their Literary Practices 1650–1850

Saturday 30 May 2015, Dr Williams’s Library, Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0AR

This conference seeks to shine a light on the literary cultures that flourished among orthodox dissenting communities in the period 1650–1850. Often informal, familial, and ambivalent towards the commercial and urban imperatives associated with print publication, these intimate groups sustained complex traditions over time, and were shaped by faith, practice, and locality. In focusing attention on women writers—including those represented in Timothy Whelan’s eight-volume collection Nonconformist Women Writers (2011)—the conference will explore work that is under-studied in scholarship both on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Calvinist literature and on women’s writing of the period more generally.


Conference themes

Genres: Poetry, letters, diaries, orations, eulogies, drama, hymns, spiritual meditations, professions of faith, conversion narratives, spiritual autobiography, religious tracts and moral fiction, historical writing; formal and informal modes of writing

Circles: families, friends, servants, religious associates

Emotions: how are they expressed, theorized and practiced? What generic conventions are at work in representations of love or friendship (for example) that are specific to nonconformist writers, to women, and to nonconformist women writers?

Cycles and tradition(s): the life-cycles of individual writers and their associates; connections between generations; dissent as a movement with a history and future

Faith: the impact of specific Calvinist doctrines on writing; denominational experience; community worship; literary and sociological practices inculcated by religious tradition (such as diary-keeping); faith may be sustaining and generative or disabling and alienating

Varieties of dissemination: publication in manuscript and printed forms; anonymous, pseudonymous and public writing; collaborative composition and distribution; occasional and durational work

Processes of preservation and recovery: familial archival practices; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century publication of seventeenth-century texts; twenty- and twenty-first century attitudes to these writers; editorial practice; gaps in literary history

Speakers and contributors

Timothy Whelan, Georgia Southern University, Sylvia Brown, University of Alberta, Nancy Jiwon Cho, Seoul National University, Jessica Clement, University of York, Amy Culley, University of Lincoln, Felicity James, University of Leicester, Karen Smith, South Wales Baptist College, Katarina Stenke, University of Cambridge, James Vigus, Queen Mary University of London, Tessa Whitehouse, Queen Mary University of London

To register and for further information, please contact the organiser, Tessa Whitehouse:

Baxter Symposium, November 2015

2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of the Puritan pastor and writer, Richard Baxter (1615-1691). A symposium to commemorate this event and to assess the significance of Baxter’s contribution to seventeenth-century religious, political, literary and scientific culture in Britain, Europe and North America will be held at Dr Williams’s Library on Friday 13 November 2015. Confirmed speakers include Professor Nigel Smith (Princeton), Professor Ann Hughes (Keele) and Professor Howard Hotson (Oxford).

For further information, see:

Graduate Symposium on Dissent

The graduate symposium on Dissent in France and Britain (1600-1800), under the auspices of the French Society for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Société Française d’Étude du Dix-Huitième siècle, will take place on the Aix-Marseille Humanities campus, 29 Avenue Robert Schuman, Aix-en-Provence, on 20-21 March 2015. It is organized by Prof. Stéphane Lojkine (French Department), Prof Anne Page and Prof. Jean Viviès (English Department).

DissidenceDévianceDécentrement_ptTo download the complete programme, please click here.

New England Church Records: BBC interview

Joel was telling you last month about the NYT article about the ‘Hidden Histories’ project at the Congregational Library in Boston (see below). Now the team (Margaret Bendroth, James F. Cooper and Ken Minkema) have been interviewed by the BBC.

You can listen to the program on the website of BBC journalist Matt Wells:

Do not forget to have a look at their website to learn more about the project and get in touch if you’d like to be involved in transcribing,



Seminar in Dissenting Studies


The Lecture Hall

Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR.

All are welcome.
Wednesday 11 March 2015 
5.15 to 6.45 pm

Fleur Houston (Macclesfield)
‘John Wood Oman, the Prophet of Westminster’

In 1907, John Oman (1860–1939) left his charge at Clayport church, Alnwick, to take up the chair of Theology at Westminster College, the training college for ministers of the Presbyterian Church of England, in Cambridge. In 1922 he was called to be Principal. These years were of particular significance for the Presbyterian Church and the College, and for Oman himself. In 1913 the removal of religious tests for degrees in Divinity gave the College a new status within the University; the intellectual calibre of the Senatus was quickly recognised and that year Oman was the first non-conformist to be appointed to give the University Stanton lectures in philosophy of religion. This paper will argue that up to that date Oman’s thinking was formed by his early years in Orkney and in Edinburgh and his theological education in the United Presbyterian Church.

Continue reading Seminar in Dissenting Studies

Crossroads of Knowledge: Literature and Theology in Early Modern England

Saturday 14 February 2014
Trust Room, Fitzwilliam College (Cambridge)

Literature and Theology in Early-Modern England is a one-day colloquium to mark the launch of our new, five-year interdisciplinary research project, funded by the European Research Council. The colloquium will look from a variety of perspectives at the intersection of theology and literature in early modern England, with a particular alertness to the project’s overall thematic foci (doubt and unknowing, knowing and knowingness). Over the course of the project we are fortunate to have a number of Visiting Fellows. Our first such Fellow is Professor Debora Shuger (UCLA), who will work with us this term and give a plenary address to the colloquium.

More information and registration:

Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism

The first issue of the Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism (JHRP) has been launched.

JHRPJHRP is a blind-reviewed online journal for the history of Reformed Pietism in Early Modern times. JHRP aims to offer a platform for researching Reformed Pietism from an international and interconfessional perspective.

You can access it via:, where you can register to acquire a login and password.

CFP: Religion and Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century

Religion and Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century:

approaches to genre, form, and reading practice

Chawton House Library,  Friday May 15th 2015

Keynote Speakers

Isabel Rivers (Queen Mary University of London), William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University), Jon Mee (University of York)

Recent work on dissent, evangelicalism, Methodism, secularisation, the social practices of religion, life-writing, and other topics has brought to light a wealth of material and has begun to ask new questions of so-called `religious texts’. This symposium aims to reflect on the relationships between religion and literature in the long eighteenth century and on the research approaches that can productively be used to investigate them.

The day will be organised into three consecutive panels, each focusing on a theme introduced by the keynote presentations.

Religious Reading (Isabel Rivers)

Forms and Genres (William Gibson)

Institutions and Associations (Jon Mee)

Continue reading CFP: Religion and Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century

Baptist Churches and their Books

Major research projects such as the Dissenting Academies Project at the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, and the Reading Experience Database, have recently alerted us to the importance of book owership and book circulation in dissenting circles. It may be surprising to find information in the records and minutes of gathered Churches, but these manuscripts contain evidence relevant to scholars of literature, and they can afford a glimpse of the reading habits, the intellectual horizons, and the spare funds of the dissenting communities. There are at least three possible areas for investigation, as illustrated by the following four short examples:

Monksthorpe Baptist Chapel,
Monksthorpe Baptist Chapel, Monksthorpe, Lincolnshire, by Brian, 


1- Churches’ Libraries and Catalogues

Baptist Churches purchased books thanks to donations from members, benefactors, and their common funds. In the Barbican Church, in Paul’s Alley, there was a ‘Library’, a multi-purposed room where not only books, but also important documents (such as letters of the Associations) were kept, where auditing the yearly accounts was conducted, as well as ‘exercising’ of gifts (Paul’s Alley, fol. 106, 147, 163, 173).

Continue reading Baptist Churches and their Books

Seminar in Dissenting Studies

Seminar in Dissenting Studies, the Lecture Hall, Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR. All are welcome.

Wednesday 11 February 2015 5.15 to 6.45 pm

 Anthony Ossa-Richardson (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Dissenting Gospels: Edward Harwood’s A Liberal Translation of the New Testament

This paper focuses on Edward Harwood’s English translation of the New Testament, published in 1768. The translation has long incurred mockery and opprobrium for its stylistic eccentricity, since it attempts to mimic the polite literature of the mid-eighteenth century, an incongruous effect for any used to the solemn rhythms of the King James Version. Behind this facade, however, lay a rigorous effort to refigure the Bible according to the principles of Arian theology, and Harwood’s contemporaries, both in Britain and on the Continent, were fully aware of this strategy. This paper, then, situates the translation against (1) Harwood’s wider intellectual activity, including his theological works and his textual criticism, (2) dissenting biblical scholarship of the eighteenth century, and (3) his hostile readers, who included both orthodox critics from Scotland and the Netherlands, and the English Socinian writer William Hazlitt, Sr.

 Anthony Ossa-Richardson is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. His primary research interest is early modern (c. 1600-1800) intellectual history, including religion, hermeneutics, literature and philosophy. He has published The Devil’s Tabernacle: The Pagan Oracles in Early Modern Thought (2013), and is now working towards a monograph on the history of the concept of ambiguity in a range of fields from the Renaissance to the twentieth century.

Speaker’s email:


For more information about the Seminar in Dissenting Studies contact James Vigus ( or see:

CFP: 500 Years of Reformation and New Time: 1517-2017

St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
St. Petersburg State University
Leibniz  Universität Hannover
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
St.Petersburg society of German classical philosophy
St.Petersburg Nicolai Cusanus society
St.Petersburg Martin Luther society

April 16 – 192015, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

Continue reading CFP: 500 Years of Reformation and New Time: 1517-2017



The 8th Triennial Conference of the International John Bunyan Society

 Aix-en-Provence (France), 6–9 July 2016

 Plenary speakers: Alec Ryrie (Durham), Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes), Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge), Helen Wilcox (Bangor).


The conference will concentrate on the expression and representation of Protestant Dissent, Nonconformity and Puritanism (1500–1800), with an emphasis on the relationship between written and oral cultures. Topics might include: preaching, singing and praying; public and private devotion; conferences and disputations; epistolary conversation; religion and politics; rumour and defamation; reading and publishing Dissent; the representation of emotions…

The conference will be hosted conjointly by the research centres on the anglophone world of Aix-Marseille and Montpellier Universities.

Applicants are invited to send proposals for 30-minute papers or for panels (3 x 30-minute papers). Please include a title for the paper; a summary of no more than 300 words; a 100-word biographical outline; and a one-page CV.

Bursaries are available for doctoral students and young researchers. To apply, explain your need for support, your likely travel costs, and include a reference letter (from e.g. a supervisor).

Send all proposals and communications (Word documents only, no pdf) to:

Deadline: 31 May 2015
All answers by August 2015


News of EMoDiR: CFP and upcoming events

For those who are not members yet, here is some information from EMoDiR monthly newsletter:

15 February 2015 submission deadline for Religious Toleration in the Age of Enlightenment (1650-1800): Historical Perspectives on Current Debates June 22nd & June 23rd, 2015, Institute for Culture and Society – Religion & Civil Society Project, Universidad de Navarra – Pamplona (Spain), Convenors: Rafael García Pérez  ( and Juan Pablo Domínguez (jdfernandez@alumni.unav.es

15 February 2015 submission deadline for Fifth RefoRC Conference 2015: Crossing Borders: Transregional Reformations, 07.05.2015 – 09.05.2015 Leuven, <>

21-23 January 2015, Utrecht University will host an international conference on  Enlightened Religion — From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety.

The conference is the concluding event of the research project: “Faultline 1700: Early Enlightenment Conversations on Religion and the State”. Jonathan Israel and Michael Driedger will deliver a concluding comment. More information on the conference, and on the project: – Anyone interested is cordially invited to attend. Entrance is free of charge. If you think you will be able to attend, would you be so kind to register beforehand on the site?

13 March 2015, L’Institut d’histoire de la Réformation, Genève. Journée d’étude organisée dans le cadre de la convention IHR- EMoDiR.  Les frontieres de la dissidence. Énonciations et pratiques du dissentiment religieux à l’époque confessionnelle : études de cas et parcours de recherche, organisateurs: Nicolas Fornerod, Maria-Cristina Pitassi, Daniela Solfaroli Camillocci

26–28 March 2015, Berlin, The Sixty-First Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America: 5 EMoDiR-Panels (organized by Stefano Villani) on Early Modern Religious Dissent and Radicalism have been accepted. Check the programme for further details:

With the participation of Alessandro Arcangeli, Federico Barbierato, Silvia Berti, Manuela Bragagnolo, Peter Burschel, Christiana Facchini, Monika Frohnapfel, Umberto Grassi, Tamar Herzig, Ariel Hessayon, Sünne Juterczenka, Simone Maghenzani, Adelisa Malena, Justin Meggitt, Francesco Ronco, Moshe Sluhovsky, Giovanni Tarantino, Xenia von Tippelskirch, Anne-Charlott Trepp, Stefano Villani.

11-14 May 2015, Menaggio, Atelier trilatéral « Villa Vigoni »: Les dissidences religieuses en Europe à l’époque moderne : des constructions en mouvement (liens, langages, objets), 2e rencontre. organized by Adelisa Malena, Sophie Houdard and Xenia von Tippelskirch

John Rylands Research Institute: Visiting Research Fellowship

Deadline: 27 February 2015

Call for Visiting Research Fellowships

Applications for Call 3 are now being accepted.

What does John Rylands Research Institute Visiting Fellowship offer?

  • Curatorial support for research fellows
  • Access to a hot desk including IT equipment
  • Photocopying and the opportunity to access digital imaging
  • Access to staff room
  • Successful applicants will be reimbursed expenses up to £1,500 per month for up to 3 months, to cover travel, accommodation and living expenses during the Fellowship

Candidates, whether in established academic posts or not, should at least hold a doctorate at the time of application. All applications must be based strongly on the Special Collections of the University of Manchester Library.

Applications are especially welcome in the areas of:

  • Revolutions in Print
  • Religions
  • Science
  • Medicine
  • as well as those that have the potential to result in high-profile publications

For further information, see the website.

Seminar in Dissenting Studies

Seminar in Dissenting Studies, the Lecture Hall, Dr Williams’s Library, 14 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AR. All are welcome.

 Wednesday 14 January 2015 5.15 to 6.45 pm

 Felicity James (Leicester), ‘Writing the Lives of Dissent: Community, Biography, and Historiography in Late Eighteenth-Century Rational Dissent’

Can we use the term ‘community’ in relation to a disparate religious group such as Rational Dissenters – lacking a unifying creed, drawn from a range of backgrounds and often professing different and sometimes contradictory theological beliefs? This talk explores the ways in which Dissenters may have nourished a collective identity, particularly through their life-writing practices. Through biography, autobiography, familial memoir, and conversion narratives, I argue, they sought to construct a story of Dissent and a sense of community across time and place. The paper will discuss specific examples including the MS biography of Theophilus Lindsey, written by his wife, and some narratives surrounding Essex Street Chapel. In particular, I want to think about how Lindsey’s story of secession and exile might shed further light on the complicated narratives of Dissenting culture in the late eighteenth century, and the development of a Unitarian identity through the nineteenth century.

Felicity James teaches eighteenth and nineteenth century literature at the University of Leicester; her research focuses on sociability, friendship and creative exchange amongst writers, and, most recently, on life-writing. Her publications include Charles Lamb, Coleridge and Wordsworth: Reading Friendship in the 1790s (Palgrave, 2008) and Religious Dissent and the Aikin-Barbauld Circle, 1740 to 1860 (Cambridge, 2011) co-edited with Prof. Ian Inkster, which arose from a day conference at Dr Williams’ Library. She is working on a monograph on life-writing by women connected with Rational Dissent, and is also one of the editors of the new Collected Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, to be published by OUP in 2018. She will be speaking at Community and its Limits, 1745-1832 at Leeds, 4-6 September 2015, and is organising a conference Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian Biography, to be held in Leicester on 18 September 2015, which would welcome papers on any aspect of collaborative/community life-writing in the period, and particularly those with a focus on religious Dissent.

Speaker’s email:


For more information about the Seminar in Dissenting Studies contact James Vigus ( or see: