Wednesday, May 18, 2011

RSA 2012 panel (deadline June 1): Cosmopolitan Kings: Foreign Marriages and Domestic Disputes in Stewart Britain

This RSA panel focuses on the drama, music, poetry, and prose surrounding the numerous international matches forged by the kings of the Stewart dynasty who ruled Britain for most of the seventeenth century. In 1603, the Scottish James I inherits the throne with his Dutch wife Anne; from 1614 to 1623 he attempts to marry his son, Charles I, to the Spanish Infanta Maria Anna; in 1625 Charles weds the French Henrietta Maria, who exiles her court to France with her infant son and heir, Charles II, after her husband is beheaded. After the Restoration, Charles II marries the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza. His successor James II marries the Italian princess Mary of Modena in 1671. During these decades there was an outpouring of artistic production inspired by these sensational dynastic unions. Whether these works celebrate or denigrate those alliances, they all explore the overtly political significance of royal marriage. This session looks at these marriage contracts as microcosms of the social contract between the king and his body politic. What happens when this body is wedded to a foreign queen without common consent? Is dynastic marriage a catalyst of cosmopolitanism, or a reification of imperialism? These questions occupy many writers who, in the decades following Elizabeth’s half-century of rule, foreground the continued power of queens in the patrilineal Stewart monarchy. Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief bio by June 1st to Kat Rutkowski Lecky ( or Maura Giles Watson (