18 – 20 September 2019

Call For Papers: IXth Arenberg Conference for History: Heraldic Hierarchies: Identities, status and state intervention in early modern heraldry

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 IXth Arenberg Conference for History, XXIth Colloquium of the International Academy of Heraldry


18–20 September 2019, Antwerp: Grauwzusters Cloister of the University of Antwerp

From the call for papers: 

Over the past decades, the study of the adoption and use of arms within a wide range of social groups has questioned the exclusive association between heraldry and nobility. Yet, while considerable research has been done on the medieval heydays of the system, historians as well as heraldists usually steer clear from later developments. This contrasts with the fact that the period between roughly the middle of the fifteenth and late eighteenth century witnessed profound changes in the social utility and practical application of coats of arms. The growing interference of the monarchical state in status expressions and a process of aristocratization transformed heraldry’s outlook and the significance ascribed to it in ways that determine much of today’s heraldic practice. This colloquium aims to place these developments in a new perspective by exploring the capacity of early modern heraldry to foster socio-political hierarchies. It will shed new light on these aspects from the angle of both theory and practice, taking into account the role of medieval precedents and the impact of early modern evolutions on heraldic bearings in the long run. We invite contributions related to one of the following themes:

Heraldry and noble identity

- Princely regulation of the display of arms, coronets, helmets and crests;
- Heraldic attributes of nobility;
- Heraldry and strategies of noble display;
- The connection between armorial practices and changing notions of nobility;
- Heraldic legends;
- Practices of heraldic transmission;
- Etc.

Heraldry and the politics of status

- Heraldry and social status;
- The use of armorial bearings in rituals and conflicts of status;
- Heraldry and theories of social order;
- The present-day afterlife of heraldic signs of rank and status;
- Etc.

Heraldry and state interference

- Princely laws of arms;
- Armorial concessions and augmentations of honour;
- Heraldic visitations and lawsuits;
- Heraldry’s diffusion to Northern and Central Europe, Russia, the Americas and
other colonial dependencies;
- The development of ‘national’ heraldries;
- Etc.

We welcome proposals for papers with a maximum length of 30 minutes, which can be either presented in English, French or German. The conference will be held at the University of Antwerp, in the former Grauwzusters Cloister, on 18–20 September 2019. A guided excursion is planned for Saturday, 21 September.

Early career researchers and young academicians are particularly encouraged to file a proposal. Please send a title and abstract of 200 words, together with a short one-page CV, to steven.thiry@uantwerpen.be and/or luc.duerloo@uantwerpen.be by 31 January 2019. Selected participants will then be notified in due course.


Call for papers PDF: