Remembering the Reformation

Event Date: 
07 Sep 2017 to 09 Sep 2017


Murray Edwards College, Cambridge



Plenary speakers:

  • John Arnold (Cambridge)
  • Philip Benedict (Geneva)
  • Simon Ditchfield (York)
  • Dagmar Freist (Oldenberg)
  • Kat Hill (UEA)
  • Geert Janssen (Amsterdam)
  • Isabel Karremann (Würzburg)
  • Julia Lupton (UC Irvine)
  • Natalia Nowakowska (Oxford)
  • Katrina Olds (University of San Francisco)
  • Judith Pollmann (Leiden)
  • Alison Shell (UCL)
  • James Simpson (Harvard)



The Reformation is deeply embedded in scholarly and popular consciousness as a critical watershed and turning point in Western history. The assumption that it constituted a decisive juncture has laid the foundation of enduring models of periodization. Yet, even as the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses approaches, the manner in which the Reformation came to be remembered as a chronological landmark has never been the subject of detailed scrutiny.


This conference, organised as part of the AHRC-funded research project ‘Remembering the Reformation’ (based at the Universities of Cambridge and York), aims to explore the links between Reformation, remembering and forgetting across late medieval and early modern Europe. We are eager to break out of the restricting paradigms of nationalist historiography and literary studies and to explore the memory of different varieties of Protestant, Catholic and radical Reformation comparatively and alongside each other. We also seek to stimulate discussion of how the memory cultures associated with magisterial and state-led Reformations, and those that resulted in the formation and consolidation of institutional churches, compare with those that were contested, thwarted, and reversed. We particularly invite papers on memory and reformations that transcended and crossed territorial boundaries and which were diasporic, mobile and global in character. Likewise we aim to challenge the periodisation to which the Reformation itself has helped to give rise, and to breach the conventional divide between the medieval and early modern eras, by encompassing earlier reform movements. Finally we hope to stir theoretically engaged discussions about the concepts of memory and reformation.


We therefore invite proposals for 20 minute papers on topics that explore and further these aims. Abstracts of c. 250 words should be sent to by 1 October 2016.


Organisers: Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge), Brian Cummings (York), Bronwyn Wallace (York), Ceri Law (Cambridge)


Submission date for papers: 
01 Oct 2016