Renaissance Old Worlds: English encounters from the Levant to the Far East

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[Blaeu, W.], Asia noviter delineata Auctore Guil Janssonio, Amsterdam: 1617. Maps C.3.c.9 (C) British Library Board 2012

Liverpool and the British Library organise international conference on early English travels

‘Renaissance Old Worlds: English encounters from the Levant to the Far East’, took place at the British Library, London, from 29 June to 1 July. This major international conference, organised jointly by the School of English and the British Library, brought together delegates from across the world, including the UK, the US, Europe, India, Pakistan and Taiwan.
Papers and plenary sessions addressed many different types of cultural, economic, and political encounters between England and Asia and the Middle East. Topics ranged from the intellectual and bodily experiences of travel, to cultural memory, piracy, religion, and a host of contributions to the study of the East India Company.

The conference also offered participants an opportunity to take part in workshops, in which they could handle and interact with various materials from the British Library’s extensive map collections and India Records Office.
The exchanges and discussions arising from the conference have played an invaluable part in laying down the foundations for the establishment of an international network of researchers. This proposed global collaboration will be aimed at further understanding Britain’s relationship with Asia and the Middle East, and how the past can help shape future projects in arts, heritage, politics, and education.

Dr Nandini Das, from the University of Liverpool’s School of English, and organiser of the event, said: “This was a foundational period when England was making its first formal political and mercantile contacts with what it saw as the real superpowers of the ‘old world’, such as the Ottoman and Mughal empires. By bringing together archivists and researchers from a number of disciplines and a number of countries, the Renaissance Old Worlds conference has offered us new insights into this period.”