Among the controversial constellations studied by the collaborative research centre "Pluralization and Authority in the Early Modern Period", the competing religious persuasions that arose during the Reformation, occupy a central position. The proposed symposium will be concerned with representations of religious pluralization in Early Modern Europe. It will focus, in the broadest sense, on artistic representations, which both exhibit processes of religious pluralization and actively influence them in turn. In addition, contributions will include discussions of other types of texts, such as homilies, confessions of faith and religious polemics, in which new epistemic, social and political orders become evident.
The objective of the symposium is to explore the various ways in which these representations respond to and transform processes of pluralization like the increasing demonopolization of truth claims, the appearance of new authorities and associated attempts at self-authorization and delegitimization. The conference will also investigate how such representations were related to institutional authorities and how their effects were instrumentalized.
Finally, contributions will discuss new representation forms and media, such as the theatre in England or Protestant iconography, and examine how these representations authorized themselves, as well as the particular ways in which those involved established their respective claims to authority.
It is therefore expected that during the conference new approaches will be presented to some of the issues presently being discussed in studies of 'confessionalization'. Instead of trying to reconstruct 'what actually happened', the focus will be on the way historical processes of religious pluralization are reflected in a variety of media. Reflection, in this context, does not imply that reality is simply 'mirrored', but also indicates the active role of representation in transforming and shaping reality.
Contributions may concentrate on:
To what extent the two aspects outlined here may actually be separated will have to be demonstrated in each case respectively. It is quite possible, if not probable, that they will frequently be found to overlap and interact, conflicting or colluding in various ways. An examination of these points will have to take into account the new means of production and distribution, such as the printing press and the new "mass media", which emerged during the Early Modern Period.
It is an important objective of the proposed conference to extend the research centre's field of investigation beyond continental Europe in order to include the British Isles and thereby to initiate a dialogue between the research centre and Anglo-American scholars working in similar areas.