Conference Announcement

Conference Announcement

The Early Modern Mobility Research Group announces a conference to wrap up our two-year grant from the Stanford University UPS Endowment.

This event brings together scholars who ask questions such as:

  • What is early modern about mobility? About infrastructure?
  • What is the relationship between mobility and infrastructure?
  • How does the early modern era offer a unique perspective upon important dimensions of human mobility?
  • How did early modern societies understand freedom of movement?
  • What terminology should we use for discussing infrastructure in the premodern age?

During the early modern period, individuals and communities experienced dramatic changes in communication and transportation, establishing practices, institutions, and infrastructure that opened up new political and economic possibilities, and changed the way people understood the world. Merchants, diplomats, scholars, intelligencers, and missionaries – really anyone whose livelihood relied on the road and postal networks – developed a sophisticated understanding of how to use these systems to communicate ideas, convey information, and deliver and receive goods. In this two-day conference, Early Modern Mobilities: Knowledge, Community, Communication, and Infrastructure, 1500-1800, we bring together current research at the intersection of mobility, communication, and infrastructure. We will showcase recent work at the crux of 1) creation of communications, travel and exchange infrastructure 2) navigation and experience of voluntary and coercive mobility and 3) exploring early modern thought about mobility, infrastructure, and its politics. Paper workshopping and a digital breakout session will bring traditional, collaborative and digital approaches into dialogue, aiding in reconstructing the scope of large-scale patterns and systems of mobility.


  1. Making Mobility Infrastructure
  2. Digital Projects Roundtable
  3. Navigating and Professionalizing Mobility
  4. Exploiting and Surviving Coerced Mobility
  5. The Politics of Mobility

Stay tuned here or follow us on Twitter @emmobility for more updates.