CfP: Isaac Beeckman in Context


Call for papers: Isaac Beeckman in Context. Science, the Arts, and Culture in the Early Dutch Republic

Middelburg, The Netherlands, 27-28 September 2018

1618 was a crucial year in what is now known as the Scientific Revolution. In September of that year the Dutch artisan, theologian, schoolmaster and natural philosopher Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637) was promoted to doctor of medicine in the French city of Caen. To his dissertation he added a number of Corrolaria in which Beeckman laid down the principles of a new and revolutionary way to account for natural phenomena, the mechanical philosophy. Then, in November 1618, Beeckman met the young military officer René Descartes in the city of Breda. In a series of highly stimulating conversations he put Descartes on the track towards his own philosophy of nature. The rest is history.

On September 27 and 28, 2018, an international conference, to be held at the premises of the University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, the Netherlands, will commemorate these pivotal moments of 1618. Beeckman was a native of Middelburg and it was in this bustling commercial city that he was groping with his revolutionary insights in the years before 1618. Here he was deeply embedded in a cosmopolitan culture, a world in which sophisticated artisanal skills, riches from the overseas trading routes, humanistic culture and the study of nature were merging into a new culture of knowledge. Our conference aims to put Beeckman in the context of this new culture of knowledge and more specifically 1) to investigate how this world interacted with Beeckman’s mechanical philosophizing in form and content, 2) to study Beeckman’s role in the shaping of the new philosophy of nature, 3) to evaluate how Beeckman’s role in the development of the mechanical philosophy was viewed, both by contemporaries like Descartes and by modern scholars, especially in France.

Keynote speakers are:

Floris H. Cohen (Utrecht University)

Sophie Roux (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)

John Schuster (University of Sydney)

Huib Zuidervaart (Huygens/ING, Amsterdam)

Proposals for papers

We welcome abstracts for papers on topics related to the theme of the conference. Please send the abstract of your proposal to: by February 15, 2018. The abstract must be no longer than 500 words and sent as a doc or a docx file (please do not use pdf format). The author’s name and contact information (affiliation, address and professional status) should be specified in the accompanying email. If you are not sure that your proposal fits into the larger programme, feel free to contact the organizers at the above email address. Notification of acceptance of the proposal will be sent by March 1, 2018.

Conference Organization:

Klaas van Berkel (University of Groningen) (

Albert Clement (University College Roosevelt, Middelburg) (

Arjan van Dixhoorn (University College Roosevelt, Middelburg) (

Call for papers Addressing the Public Abroad

Call for Papers, deadline 31 januari 2018

Addressing the Public Abroad: Strategies of Cultural and Public Diplomacy in the Early Modern Habsburg World (1550-1750)

Brussel, 6-7 december 2018

Op 6 en 7 december 2018 vindt in Brussel een congres plaats over culturele en publieke diplomatie in de vroegmoderne wereld der Habsburgers. Historici beseffen in toenemende mate dat vroegmoderne diplomatie meer behelsde dan formeel aangestelde ambassadeurs en hun officiële onderhandelingen. Veel meer actoren waren in de internationale betrekkingen actief, en dat deden zij in heel diverse formele en informele posities. Ook hadden zij een waaier aan middelen en tactieken ter beschikking om te lobbyen en hun missies tot een goed einde te brengen. “Addressing the Public Abroad: Strategies of Cultural and Public Diplomacy in the Early Modern Habsburg World (1550-1750)” focust op een thema dat verschillende historici en kunsthistorici in de afgelopen twintig jaar weliswaar onderzochten, maar dat slechts zelden expliciet gethematiseerd of op comparatieve wijze besproken werd: strategieën van culturele en publieke diplomatie in de vroegmoderne wereld der Habsburgers (1550-1750). Deze conferentie belicht de verschillende tactieken die de vertegenwoordigers van andere staten of van buitenlandse corpora – officieel en officieus – aanwendden om de publieke opinie in een gastland te beïnvloeden en op die manier hun diplomatieke missies meer kans op slagen te geven.

Deadline 31 januari 2018. Voor meer informatie: