CFP: Envisioning the 'Old' World, Muhlenberg and Imperial Projects in the Colonial Atlantic
An International Conference to be held at the University of Pennsylvania
November 29, 2012-December 1, 2012
By the early 1740s, the mainland British colony of Pennsylvania had become a site where various European imperial projects competed for land, profit, political influence, and human souls. In turn, colonial Americans' visions of Europe as the “Old World” were as varied and diverse as the imperial projects that mapped the “New.” We know little of their competing accounts, however, for scholarship on the Atlantic world has long replicated hierarchies of the metropolitan-peripheral axis and privileged European accounts of America. This conference, "Envisioning the ‘Old World,’" insists that native and colonial voices matter to the invention of the “Old World” and recalls how the periphery influenced metropolitan ideas and decision-making. Selected conference papers will be published in an edited collection.
Central to this conference’s inquiry is the Lutheran pastor, Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg (1711-1787), who arrived in Philadelphia in 1742 after education in the “Old World,” first at university in Enlightenment Göttingen and then in Halle, the Pietist workshop to the world. Informing Mühlenberg’s diverse projects—from the “rescue” of believers beset by false teachings, to plans for bilingual schools and newspapers—was the situation of authority in the “Old” World, a position that sometimes put him at odds with those who endeavored to create the “New” Man necessary to populate a new, and better, world. The conference invites papers on a wide range of topics including Mühlenberg and his associates in Germany, England, and the Americas; early modern pedagogy and educational schemes, including the role of the “Old World” in the formation of the Academy of Philadelphia and the College as well as the German Charity Schools; the popular press and early American newspapers and magazines; multilingualism, hybridization and/or creolization in the eighteenth-century mid-Atlantic. How do projects, literatures, and debates figure the "Old World" in order to constitute “New” communities?
Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief c.v. to Professor Bethany Wiggin firstname.lastname@example.org
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