Call for Papers – Rulership Reinforcement: Achievements and Limits in Medieval and Early Modern Societies

To commemorate the 5th centenary of Ferdinand II of Aragon’s death (1452-1516) the Royal Studies Network is organizing two sessions for the next ESSHC conference, which will take place in Valencia (30 March – 2 April 2016) on the theme of “Rulership Reinforcement: Achievements and Limits in Medieval and Early Modern Societies”. The reign of Ferdinand II and his wife Isabel I, known jointly as “the Catholic Kings”, is considered to be a key moment in the consolidations of royal structures- with regard to the Spanish case particularly they are often seen as the origin of the modern state. Nevertheless their political ideas rose from the Middle Ages and were continually reformulated in the Early Modern centuries. These sessions aim to compare different national situations and methodological approaches. We are especially interested in papers about both female and male rulership in both a European and Mediterranean context. Topics to be discussed may include though are not limited to:

  • “Betweenness”: The significance of rulers as midpoints between political and economical agents or regions; as collaborators and links between central institutions and local powers.
  • Presenting a ruler’s authority: Representations of the sovereign and/or sovereignty: strategies, benefits, and risks.
  • Motivations to serve the ruler: Benefits, reciprocal relationships and the influence of Royal Grace in the political system.
  • Obedience or loyalty? Political discourses and their limits concerning the royal authority.
  • Religion and royal religiosity in the political arena: How mainstream were beliefs and religious practices and to what extend did this pose a problem for public powers in past societies?
  • Violent establishments of new dynasties and revolts against royalty. How did these events effect the construction of the royal image?

Abstracts of approximately 300 words for an individual paper can be sent to the organizers at by 15 April 2015. If you are interested in proposing joint papers or a complete panel of four, please email us to discuss ideas.

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