Early Modern Mobility Conference

May 14-16, 2021

Now virtual!

Register here to attend.

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


During the early modern period (1500-1800), 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 three-day virtual workshop, Early Modern Mobility:  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.

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?

Participants and Organizers:

Leo Barleta, Lucio Biasiori, Anne Conchon, Federica Favino, Paula Findlen, Tiago Gil, Jo Guldi, Howard Hotson, Mélanie Lamotte, Katie McDonough, Massimo Meccarelli, Rachel Midura, Diego Pirillo, David Richardson, Dan Riches, Beatriz E. Salamanca, Rosa Salzberg, Luca Scholz, Suzanne Sutherland, & Thomas Wallnig

Friday, May 14 (8:30-11:45 PDT) in your local time

  • 8:30-8:45: Welcome
  • 8:45-9:45: DH Lightning Talks
  • 9:45-10:15: Break
  • 10:15-11:45: Panel 1: Making Mobility Infrastructure

Saturday, May 15 (8:00-11:30 PDT) in your local time

  • 8:00-9:30: Panel 2: Navigating and Professionalizing Mobility
  • 9:30-10:00: Break
  • 10:00-11:30 Panel 3: War, Slavery, and Missionary Networks

Sunday, May 16 (8:30-10:30 PDT) in your local time

  • 8:30-10:00: Panel 4: The Politics of Mobility
  • 10:00-10:30 Concluding Remarks

Follow us or send us questions @emmobility.