The call for papers is now closed for the Embodied Court conference.

The deadline for proposal submissions passed and the call has closed. We have provided a description of the conference theme and topic below. The full programme and registration will be announced shortly.

Conference information:

Recent years have seen increased attention paid to the individual bodies that made up premodern royal and princely courts, and how the courtly environment shaped the corporal experiences of everyone involved, from the ruler down to the servants. This interdisciplinary conference will explore the physicality of the court in four key contexts from across the lifecycle: bodies being born and giving birth; bodies as sexual actors or objects; bodies in courtly lifestyles; and dead and dying bodies. These common experiences were not one-size-fits-all, but took on particular political, social, and cultural consequence in the charged atmosphere of the court (which they in turn helped define).


Specific topics could include, but are not limited to:


  • Successful and unsuccessful births at court

  • Female bodies and childbirth

  • Voluntary and involuntary childlessness

  • Illegitimate births

  • Newborn bodies and court ritual

  • Sex life in courtly marriages

  • Sex as a public or private affair

  • Sexual liasons across unequal partners

  • Gendered presentation and transgender bodies

  • Queer sexualities (including bisexuality and asexuality) in court cultures

  • Physical exercise and recreational pursuits

  • Body performativity in courtly staging

  • Bodies, materiality and courtly fashions

  • Courts and plagues

  • Unexpected deaths

  • Care for the aged and terminally ill

  • Funerals at court

  • The afterlives of royal and noble corpses


The conference will feature papers on these issues and others in courtly contexts from 1200 to 1800, including global perspectives, and from scholars across the humanities, including history, art history, literature, and other related fields. The proceedings of the conference will be in English, some papers may be given in other languages.


Any questions can be directed to the organizers at