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Durham University

Centre for Catholic Studies

Popery, Politics, and Prayer: British and Irish Catholicism

Fourth Biennial Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism (EMBIC) Conference

14–16 July 2020 in Durham, UK

Conference Director: James Kelly (Durham University)

Conference Organising Committee: Brad Gregory (University of Notre Dame), John McCafferty (University College Dublin), Susannah Monta (University of Notre Dame)

  • Marie-Louise Coolahan (National University of Ireland, Galway)
  • Jaime Goodrich (Wayne State University)
  • Peter Lake (Vanderbilt University)
  • John McCafferty (University College Dublin)
  • Susannah Monta (University of Notre Dame)
  • Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin (University College Dublin)
  • Michael Questier (Vanderbilt University)

The fourth biennial Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism conference, jointly organized by Durham University and the University of Notre Dame, will concentrate on the relationship between politics and British and Irish Catholicism. 2020 marks the 450th anniversary of the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, through which Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I. From that point on, the questions surrounding British and Irish Catholicism became unescapably political, the line between the temporal and the spiritual even more blurred than previously. This conference will consider the relationships between politics and Catholicism in the widest possible framework, including through political debates and differences between English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Catholics, as well as the global Church; the politics of religious exile; spirituality and theology as polemic; State consideration of British and Irish Catholics in the political sphere; and Catholics as political players in the non-Catholic imagination. The timeframe being considered is broad, from c.1530 to 1800.

The conference is interdisciplinary and welcomes papers from researchers in fields including History, Literary Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Musicology and Art History.

We invite proposals for 20-minute communications on any related theme from any field. Panel proposals consisting of three speakers are also encouraged.

Please send proposals (c. 200 words) by email to James Kelly ( by 8 January 2020 at the latest.