Call for Papers

Collegial Communities in Exile Conference: New histories of the Irish, English, Scots, Dutch and other colleges founded on the continent in the early modern period

Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland ― 19-20 June 2014

Early modern Europe witnessed the large-scale migration of peoples for religious, political, economic, social and other reasons. This important feature of European history has received sustained attention from scholars in recent decades as research has increasingly pointed to the transnational nature of early modern societies. One of the striking features of early modern Catholic migration, especially from Ireland, England and Scotland, was the establishment of national ‘colleges’ on the continent to facilitate the formation and education of clerical and lay students. William Allen’s foundation of an English College at Douai in 1568 was quickly followed by others, as well as by Scots Colleges (the Scots College in Paris was unusual: it pre-dated Allen’s Douai establishment) and more than forty Irish Colleges stretching from Leuven to Rome and Lisbon to Prague. This phenomenon was not confined to English, Scots and Irish Catholics: Leuven and other cities witnessed the foundation of Dutch Colleges, while Rome saw a dramatic increase in the number of colleges hosting foreign students. The importance of the colleges has long been recognised by historians, but their histories have too often been located within isolated national or confessional historiographical traditions. Far from exile outposts, the colleges were dynamic focal points of migrant communities. This conference seeks to re-conceptualise the colleges in a comparative framework by exploring the histories of Irish, English, Scots, Dutch, Roman and other colleges together and by drawing parallels with educational institutions established by other religious minorities and refugees.

The conference welcomes proposals for papers on any aspect of the Irish, English, Scots, Dutch, Roman or other colleges in the early modern period or in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We also welcome proposals for papers on individuals or groups associated with the colleges.

Papers dealing with neglected issues are especially welcome, including: buildings, spaces and architecture; material culture; music; social and financial histories; relationships with migrant communities and networks; relationships with host societies (including state and municipal authorities; universities; churches; religious houses); political and intellectual engagements; self-fashioning and the colleges; the ‘afterlives’ of the colleges in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the historiography of the colleges; parallel institutions established by other religious minorities and refugees in early modern Europe.

Proposals for 25-minute papers should be submitted by e-mail to Liam Chambers ( before 17 January 2014. Proposals should include: name, institutional affiliation (if appropriate), paper title, and a 250-word abstract. We also welcome proposals for three-speaker panels. Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to offer papers. Prospective speakers will be notified of a decision in February 2014 at the latest.

Plenary Speakers: Professor Willem Frijhoff (VU University, Amsterdam) on Dutch Colleges; Professor Michael Questier (Queen Mary, University of London) on English Colleges; Dr Thomas O’Connor (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) on Irish Colleges; Professor Mícheál Mac Craith (St Isidore’s College, Rome) on the colleges of the Irish regular clergy; a speaker to be confirmed on Scots Colleges.

The conference is organised by the Irish in Europe Project and hosted by Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Queries should be addressed to one of the conference organisers:

Dr Liam Chambers, Department of History, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland; telephone: + 353 61 204534; e-mail:;

Dr Thomas O’Connor, Department of History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland; telephone: + 353 1 7083926; e-mail:

To download the Call for Papers, please click Call for Papers Colleges 2014.


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