CFP: if it were the truth? Spies and informers in the borderlands (16th & 17th centuries)


Call for Papers: if it were the truth? Spies and informers in the borderlands (16th & 17th centuries)

Frontier, again? Yes. This characteristic term, overused by the researchers of the Humanities, has once again become fashionable and started to gain currency in the international media. However, the newspapers’ “borderlands” has nothing to do with the image proposed by the historians who investigate the historical characteristics of the phenomenon. Indeed, its most illuminating aspects, at least for most of the researchers, have been tied to the concept of “contact”, be it peaceful or conflictual, between two ends of a spectrum. In the end, history thus emphasizes its nature amongst infinite heuristic possibilities.

Therefore, what will the historians of future generations search for while studying the borderlands of our times? This will depend largely on their present’s anxieties. In any case, astonishing similarities are clearing the path for those who want to study the historical borderlands. Even though we soften their stories with erudite words, in fact, the protagonists of our pages do not differ much from those who cross today’s frontiers. How different are Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the early modern Andalusians, forced to disperse in four corners of the world, the mafia from the slave merchants, or today’s political exiles from yesterday’s fallen courtesans?

If there is a common denominator for all the borderlands, it is, without a doubt, that they are spaces which directly or indirectly generate a multitude of information. Conflicting, stereotypical and sometimes absurd, news from the borderlands has a transcendental value for the societies which lend an ear. Our next volume will aim to analyze the relationship between borderlands and information in the first two centuries of the early modern era. With an innovative focus, it will examine this relationship’s most controversial aspects and lend special attention to the sources produced by spies and informal agents.

DEADLINE: June 15, 2016

Those who are interested in participating, please send an abstract of 200 words in Spanish, English or Italian and a short CV to

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