IJBS Regional Day Conference, Bedford

Over forty people attended a highly successful Regional Day Conference of the International John Bunyan Society held on 10 April 2015 in the new Gateway building at the Bedford Campus of the University of Bedfordshire.

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The subject of the conference was ‘Representing Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century’, and it was organised by Professor Bob Owens (University of Bedfordshire) in collaboration with Professor David Walker (Northumbria University). Speakers included (in the order in which they spoke): Professor Anne Dunan-Page (Aix-Marseille Université), Jenna Townend (PhD student, Loughborough University), Ed Legon (PhD student, University College London), Professor David Walker (Northumbria University), Dr Alan Argent (Dr Williams’s Library), Dr Nicholas Seager (Keele University), Professor Jeffrey Hopes (Université d’Orleans), and Dr Tessa Whitehouse (Queen Mary University of London). Among the audience were academics from over a dozen universities in the UK and France, together with students and members of the public from the local area.

IJBS BED CONF 3 IMGP0809 wroThis event was the first in what David and Bob hope will become a regular series of Regional Day Conferences, to be held alternately in Bedford and Newcastle. As Bob remarked in his introduction, it was appropriate that the inaugural conference should be held in Bedford, since it is the Mecca for all scholars of Bunyan and the Dissenting tradition! The theme of the conference was how Dissenters in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries represented themselves and were represented by others during a long period in which they suffered oppression and discrimination because of their refusal to accept that the state had the right to dictate how and where they should worship God.

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Protestant Dissenters were of course a small minority in English society, making up less than ten per cent of the population. They were eventually granted a measure of religious liberty under the Toleration Act of 1689, but it was not until well into the nineteenth century that they were granted equal rights with members of the Church of England in civil matters.

IJBS BED CONF 7 IMGP7860 wroTopics discussed by speakers included how Dissenting congregations kept ‘church books’ where they recorded details of the life and activities of the community; the ways in which Dissenters attempted to defend themselves against accusations of ‘disloyalty’ to the state, given their participation in the upheavals of the English Revolution; how, following the granting of toleration they began to establish organisations and libraries to support the work of Dissenting ministers; how leading Dissenters like Daniel Defoe took part in public debates on matters of national political concern and sought to influence opinion; and how Dissenting women used poetry and other forms of writing as a means of self-representation.

IJBS BED CONF 1 IMGP0780 wroIt was evident from the enthusiasm of participants and the high level of discussion throughout the day that delegates found the papers lively, accessible and interesting. At a time when the rights and freedoms of different religious minorities are under threat in many countries, the topic of this conference could hardly have been more pressing or relevant.

Contributions to the 2015 issue of The Recorder

© Justin Rowe

© Justin Rowe

Nathalie Collé is seeking contributions for the next issue of The Recorder, the IJBS newsletter, which will appear online in Spring. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of potential items:

  • Past and upcoming events (conferences, seminars, exhibitions, etc.)
  • Reports on special events
  • Calls for papers
  • Calls for contributions
  • Book reviews
  • Interviews
  • Dissertations, Theses and Post-Doctoral Research (announcements, abstracts, reports on, etc.)
  • Recent publications (yours or others’)
  • Work in progress (yours or others’)
  • Notes
  • Short articles

Images of all type are welcome. Internet links can of course be included in the new digital Recorder.

Please contact the editor: ijbsrecordereditor@yahoo.com

IJBS 2016 Aix conference: CFP

VOICING DISSENT IN THE LONG REFORMATION

The 8th Triennial Conference of the International John Bunyan Society

 Aix-en-Provence (France), 6–9 July 2016

 Plenary speakers: Alec Ryrie (Durham), Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes), Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge), Helen Wilcox (Bangor).

The conference will concentrate on the expression and representation of Protestant Dissent, Nonconformity and Puritanism (1500–1800), with an emphasis on the relationship between written and oral cultures. Topics might include: preaching, singing and praying; public and private devotion; conferences and disputations; epistolary conversation; religion and politics; rumour and defamation; reading and publishing Dissent; the representation of emotions…

The conference will be hosted conjointly by the research centres on the anglophone world of Aix-Marseille and Montpellier Universities, with Montpellier Faculty of Theology.

CFP poster

For further information about possible topics, please visit the CFP page.

For practical details and accommodation, please visit the 2016 Conference home page on this website.

To download a copy of the CFP poster, please click here.

Members of the IJBS are of course very welcome to propose papers specifically on John Bunyan, and his legacy, that fit the general theme.

Applicants are invited to send proposals for 30-minute papers or for panels (3 x 30-minute papers). Please include a title for the paper; a summary of no more than 300 words; a 100-word biographical outline; and a one-page CV.

Bursaries are available for doctoral students and young researchers. To apply, explain your need for support, your likely travel costs, and include a reference letter (from e.g. a supervisor). See our Bursaries page.

Send all proposals and communications (Word documents only, no pdf) to: voicingdissentconference@gmail.com

Deadline: 31 May 2015

All answers by August 2015

ORGANISERS: Dr Paula Barros (Montpellier), Prof. Luc Borot (Montpellier), Prof. Anne Dunan-Page (Aix-Marseille), Prof. Pierre Lurbe (Montpellier), Dr Laurence Lux-Sterritt (Aix-Marseille), Prof. Jean Viviès (Aix-Marseille).

ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Prof. Margaret S. Breen (Connecticut, US); Prof. Sylvia Brown (Alberta, Canada); Prof. Vera Camden (Kent State, US); Dr Nathalie Collé-Bak (Lorraine, France); Dr Laurent Curelly (Mulhouse, France); Dr Michael Davies (Liverpool, UK); Prof. Françoise Deconinck-Brossard (Paris Ouest Nanterre, la Défense); Dr Rémy Duthille (Bordeaux-Montaigne, France); Prof. Katsuhiro Engetsu (Doshisha, Japan); Prof. David Gay (Alberta, Canada); Prof. Isabel Hofmeyr (Witwatersrand, South Africa); Prof. Jeffrey Hopes (Le Mans, France); Dr Galen Johnson (Ashford, US); Prof. N. H. Keeble (Stirling, UK); Prof. Thomas Luxon (Dartmouth, US); Prof. W. R. Owens (Bedfordshire, UK); Dr Roger Pooley (Keele, UK); Prof. Stuart Sim (Sunderland, UK); Prof. Nigel Smith (Princeton, US); Dr Tamsin Spargo (Liverpool John Moores, UK); Prof. David Walker (Northumbria, UK); Prof. Arlette Zinck (King’s College, Canada).

Review of the year

This time last year the IJBS Executive Committee set itself some ‘challenges’ for 2014, most of which (though not all!) have been met:

Xmas Greeting IJBS 2014

  • the first was to redesign The Recorder, which appeared last June for the first time in a magnificent electronic edition supervised by Nathalie Collé-Bak, now available to download;
  • the IJBS was beginning to suffer from the lack of a constitution and bye-laws. With the best of current practice in mind, and working from David Gay’s account of the role of the officers, the Executive Committee produced a new set of documents, overseen by our past Presidents, which are now also available on this site;
  • in December 2013, the possibility of a meeting at Harlington Manor was a mere glint in our eyes. Thanks to the diligence of General Secretary Bob Owens, and to the hospitality of the Blakeman family, it became a reality on 23 May 2014. As you will see below, such meetings are now a feature of IJBS;
  • finally, David Parry revised and updated one of our major resources, the online and fully-searchable Bunyan Bibliography, adding 167 new references for the period 2010 to 2014.

We had promised you that this site would be revamped, and in particular that the addition of payment buttons would allow you to renew your membership online. This has not yet been accomplished due to delays beyond the control of the Executive Committee, but we are now back on track and, as I write, ‘e-commerce’ solutions are being put in place. We are confident that you will soon be able to renew your subscription online. As this is put into operation, you may experience some small disruptions to the website in the next few weeks.

 Other developments, we had not fully anticipated :

    • following the regional Harlington meeting in 2014, an IJBS one-day conference has now been set up by David Walker and Bob Owens. This will take place on 10 April 2015 at the University of Bedfordshire. Many thanks to our two officers for organising this day, which promises to be a great success and a good opportunity for our members to meet again. You can download the call for papers here. Please do not forget to register to attend;
    • we have instituted two new kinds of membership: an Institutional Membership for libraries, and an Honorary Membership. In November 2014, Stanley Fish, Isabel Rivers, Terry Waite and David Wykes accepted to become the first Honorary Members of the IJBS. From 2016 our members will be able to nominate personalities who will be voted on at the AGM;
    • IJBS publicity leaflets have been prepared by our General Secretary and members should all have received some copies. Please distribute them as you see fit as they are a good way of increasing the visibility of the Society;
    • finally, although we knew that the Aix 2016 conference was shaping up, little did we know that we would be the recipients of a major private donation that would allow young researchers to join us (see the Post below). At this festive season, let us thank our anonymous benefactor.

May I also take this opportunity to announce that four wonderful scholars have accepted to give plenaries at the 2016 conference : Alec Ryrie (Durham), Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes), Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge) and Helen Wilcox (Bangor). We look forward to welcoming them in Aix. The call for papers will be out in January, so watch this space.

In the coming year, your Executive Committee will do its utmost to ensure new benefits for the IJBS. There will be the Bedford day-conference, another issue of The Recorder, preparations for Aix 2016 will mature, and this site should offer the opportunity to renew membership online. As I urged you last spring in The Recorder, please do not hesitate to get in touch to suggest new ideas, propose directions in which you think IJBS should develop in the near future and ponder opportunities for regional meetings.

None of this could have been achieved without the time and dedication of the IJBS officers: Nathalie Collé-Bak, David Gay, Galen Johnson, Bob Owens and David Walker.

 Wherever you are, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

 Anne Page, Aix-Marseille Université

 

IJBS day-conference: Representing Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century

“Representing Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century”

A Regional Day Conference of the IJBS organized by Bob Owens and David Walker in association with the University of Bedfordshire and Northumbria University will take place at the University of Bedfordshire, Bedford Campus, on Friday 10 April 2015.

This conference is open to anyone interested in Bunyan and in the ways in which Dissent and Dissenters were represented during the period from about 1660 through to the early nineteenth century. The term ‘represented’ may be taken to include self-representation and representation by others in various forms of expression and communication, including, for example, literature, art, the theatre, news media, high and popular culture, sermons, and political discourse and propaganda. Please send a title and very brief summary of a 20-minute paper – no later than 1 February 2015 – to: Bob Owens (bob.owens@beds.ac.uk) and David Walker (david5.walker@northumbria.ac.uk).

You can download the flier and the registration details here.

Honorary Members

The international John Bunyan Society is delighted to announce that four distinguished scholars and personalities have been honored with Life Membership on 1st November 2014:

Professor Stanley Fish

Professor Isabel Rivers

Terry Waite CBE

Dr David L. Wykes

“Life-membership is conferred upon scholars, experts, or public personalities of international standing whose life and work have promoted awareness of Protestant history and literature and/or contributed significantly to research, teaching and public engagement in the field of Protestantism and Dissenting studies.”

For more information about our Honorary Members, click here.