Past Conferences


mantel_sqFictive Histories, Historical Fictions

May 12-13, 2017
Convener: Sophie Coulombeau (Cardiff University)


This interdisciplinary conference takes the recent popularity of the historical novel as a starting point to explore the relationship between “history” and “fiction.”


evelyn-waugh_sqEvelyn Waugh: Reader, Writer, Collector

May 5-6, 2017
Conveners: Barbara Cooke (University of Leicester) and Joseph “Chip” Long (Portland State University)


In 2013, Loren and Frances Rothschild donated their Evelyn Waugh archive to The Huntington. Now, their gift is celebrated in a symposium which brings together researchers, editors, and archival practitioners to explore the biographical and disciplinary significance of the new holdings.


thoreau_sqWest of Walden: Thoreau in the 21st Century

April 7-8, 2017
Convener: Laura Dassow Walls (University of Notre Dame)


To mark Thoreau’s bicentennial year, this conference will pose the question: How can we read Thoreau from the sundown side, the far west of his imagination? Can we see, in the awakening light of the sunset, another anticipation of the dawn?


religious-affection_sqReligious Affections in Colonial North America

January 27-28, 2017
Conveners: Abram Van Engen (Washington University in St. Louis) and Caroline Wigginton (University of Mississippi)


Leading experts in history, literature, and religious studies will explore how religion shaped the roots, limits, and consequences of affections in the diverse terrain of early America.


connecting-centre_sqConnecting Centre & Locality: Political Communication in England c. 1550-1750

May 20-21, 2016
Conveners: Chris Kyle (Syracuse University) and Jason Peacey (University College London)


This conference explores the dynamics of local, national, and trans-Atlantic political culture with particular reference to political communication. Experts in the field will survey how connections were forged between politics in London and politics in the localities.


fabricated-desert_sqThe Fabricated American Desert: Modern and Anti-Modern

April 15-16, 2016
Conveners: Lyle Massey and Jamie Nisbet (University of California, Irvine)


The southwestern desert has long stood for American individualism, modernist and anti-modernist sentiments, and social and political experiments. As such it has attracted artistic and architectural movements that give visual and embodied form to these ideas. This conference brings together scholars from diverse disciplines to explore the relationship between desert extremes and the built environment.


thomas-browne_sqTruth and Error in Early Modern Science: Thomas Browne and his World

January 22-23, 2016
Convener: Jessica Wolfe (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)


Featuring twelve leading experts in the literary, philosophical, and scientific culture of seventeenth-century England, this conference focuses on the works and worlds of Sir Thomas Browne, the physician, essayist, and naturalist who was one of the era’s most eloquent and idiosyncratic interpreters of the book of nature.


british-portrait_sqPortraiture as Interaction: The Spaces and Interfaces of the British Portrait

December 11-12, 2015
Convener: Mark Hallett (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)


Recent scholarship on portraiture has become increasingly interested in its status as an interactive art form. Portraits often depict or invite an interactive relationship between sitters and spectators. In this conference, co-organized with the Yale Center for British Art, speakers will explore this topic in relationship to British portraiture, of which the Huntington has an especially rich collection.


isherwood_sq“My Self in a Transitional State:” Isherwood in California

November 13-14, 2015
Conveners: James Berg (College of the Desert) and Chris Freeman (University of Southern California)


Christopher Isherwood settled in Los Angeles in 1939 and would live there for the rest of his life. This was the definitive act in Isherwood’s effort to reimagine himself, his spirituality, his personal freedom, and his place in the modern world. International scholars will explore the significance of memoir, film, and biography in order to reconstruct Isherwood’s place in contemporary culture and literary history.


provocative-fifteenth_sqThe Provocative Fifteenth Century

October 16-17, 2015
Conveners: Lisa H. Cooper (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Andrea Denny-Brown (University of California, Riverside)


Bringing together international leaders in the field of medieval studies, this conference focuses interdisciplinary attention on the recent resurgence of interest in fifteenth-century texts and manuscripts and reshapes the dialogue about this decisive moment in English literary history.


mighty-conflict_sqEnding a Mighty Conflict: The Civil War in 1864-1865 & Beyond

September 18-19, 2015
Conveners: Gary W. Gallagher (University of Virginia) and Joan Waugh (University of California, Los Angeles)


In the last year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, this conference will bring together leading historians to offer fresh perspectives on the turbulent closing down of the conflict. Topics address prominent political and military leaders, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the major Confederate surrenders, and other episodes that helped bring peace but also foreshadowed a troubled reunion for the nation.


copernica_sqBeyond the Copernican Revolution: New Narratives in Early Modern Science

June 12, 2015
Convener: Jan Golinski (University of New Hampshire)


The Copernican Revolution in astronomy has long been regarded as a central theme in the transformation of the sciences in the early modern period. Leading experts on the history of science explore the relevance of this and other narrative frameworks for understanding scientific developments in the era.


american-revolution_sqThe American Revolution: People and Power

May 15-16, 2015
Convener: T.H. Breen (Northwestern University)


This conference explores how common people struggled to make sense of the many changes gripping America during the difficult war years. Leading scholars will compare the American Revolution to revolutions elsewhere and examine mobilization, politics, religion, the frontier, and insurgency, all with an eye of appreciating how common men and women made sense of a tumultuous period.


rethinking-shakespeare_sqRethinking Shakespeare in the Social Depth of Politics

April 17-18, 2015
Convener: Chris Fitter (Rutgers University, Camden)


The “new social history” has exploded the myth that Shakespeare’s society comprised a culture of obedience. Repositioning his works in the popular politics of his period, social historians and literary critics reassess Shakespeare’s presentation of power and authority.


illicit-atlantic_sqIllicit Atlantic Worlds

January 23-24, 2015
Conveners: Mark G. Hanna (University of California, San Diego) and Kevin P. McDonald (Loyola Marymount University)


This conference explores the shadowy realms of the Atlantic that connected four continents but also disrupted its various imperial structures. The participants will investigate important historical and historiographical questions about the nature of unlawful exchanges and the relationship between settler-colonists, pirates, and smugglers in the creation of “illicit Atlantic worlds” beyond state control.


About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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