“First Impressions”: Faces, clothes, and bodies, 1600-1800

In the early modern world, ‘first impressions’ played a central role in the establishment and maintenance of individual and group identities. However, anxiety over the potential for outward appearances to confuse, disguise, or deceive also gained increasing momentum in this. This one-day interdisciplinary symposium will take ‘first impressions’ as a starting point in order to explore these issues, by focusing on the many different ways in which appearances were understood, described, or depicted in early modern Europe, 1600-1800.

One of the principal aims of the symposium is to encourage academic discussion of the ways in which ‘first impressions’ were significant; although there have recently been a number of conferences themed around dress history, there have been few looking more generally at appearance and identity in this period. The symposium theme therefore aims to take a broader approach to thinking about these themes which we hope will attract a number of PGRs and ECRs both from within the White Rose network and beyond. By focusing on ‘first impressions’, it will stimulate discussion and collaboration across disciplines, as well as across periods of study. We also hope that the discussion that arises out of the symposium might therefore have an impact beyond the event by encouraging new ideas and collaborations.

The symposium is primarily aimed at PGRs and ECRs and, as well as providing a forum for discussion another key objective of the event is to provide a supportive environment for these scholars to present their research, develop their presentational skills, and gain meaningful feedback on their work.

The symposium will also have a keynote speaker, Professor Karen Harvey, of the University of Sheffield. Her keynote address will not only allow those in attendance to hear the latest scholarship on identity, gender, and the body, but will also allow PGRs and ECRs to meet and network with an established and successful scholar.


£ 1321

Lead Student

Elizabeth Spencer, York

Other student organisers

Hannah Wallace, Sheffield (WRoCAH CDA)

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