View of Boston from Wikimedia Commons. Woodcut from Wellcome Library, London.

We’re pleased to announce an intoxicant-themed CFP for the Renaissance Society of America’s next Annual Conference, which will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, on 31 March−2 April 2016. Full details below; don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or require further information.

CFP: Intoxicants and Early Modernity

This set of sessions welcomes papers or panels of papers relating to the topic of early modern intoxicants and intoxication. Our focus is on substances and commodities that induced mental and physiological changes and which were associated by contemporaries with ‘poisoning’, ‘fuddling’, and ‘drunkenness’. These include ‘old world’ intoxicants like alcohols and herbal concoctions, as well as ‘newer’ commodities and distillations such as tobacco, caffeine, distilled spirits, and opiates.

We hope the sessions will be wide-ranging and interdisciplinary. Themes to be addressed might include:

  • The practices, spaces, and rituals of intoxication
  • The representation of intoxicants and intoxication in various media; the relationship between intoxicants and different representational practices
  • Languages and discourses of intoxication: valorization; reformation
  • Economies of intoxication: production, traffic, consumption
  • Intoxicants and social identity; intoxication and selfhood
  • Intoxicants and Renaissance medicine
  • Intoxicants and material culture
  • Politics and governance
  • Continuity and change

This call is organized by the research project ‘Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1580−1740’ ( Submit papers (title plus 150-word abstract) or panels of papers (including the name of chair and/or commentator if you have them), as well as a one-page CV for all participants, to by Friday 29 May 2015.

For further details and queries, contact lead session organizers Professor Phil Withington ( and Dr Angela McShane (