Varieties of Service: From Courtly to Domestic
Berlin (26-28 mars 2015)

Founded by Natalie Zemon Davis and James K. McConica in 1964

?Varieties of Service: From Courtly to Domestic’ Sessions at the Renaissance Society of America meetings 26-28 March 2015, in Berlin, Germany

Christians, and especially the religious, served God and their neighbours; subjects served rulers; soldiers served their leaders; courtiers served their lords; clients served their patrons; lovers served their beloved; wives served their husbands; apprentices and domestics served their masters and mistresses. Ideals and practices of service, with both religious and feudal roots in the Middle Ages, continued in the Renaissance and early modern centuries to shape many social, political, economic and cultural relationships. In parallel with patron/client bonds, gift-giving and other non-capitalist reciprocities, service was a means of negotiating hierarchies. Gender, age, and social rank mediated relations of service.

Service implied subordination, and sometimes indeed exploitation. At the same time, it could be honorable and elevating, and sometimes a basis for making claims of the one you served. Proposals are invited for papers that examine service as concept and moral ideal, but especially as a real life framework for conducting human relationships of many kinds.

These sessions will be part of the meetings of the Renaissance Society of America to be held in Berlin, Germany, 26-28 March 2015. They will be sponsored by the Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium.

Proposals for these sessions should be submitted electronically to both Konrad Eisenbichler

Each proposal must include: the paper title; an abstract of the paper (150-word maximum); a short list of keywords; and the speaker?s brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum) and contact information (address, telephone, email).

Deadline for submission of proposals: Friday, 6 June 2014.

Please note: presenters will need to be members of the RSA and will need to pay the relevant conference fee through the RSA website. For more information, please see the RSA submission guidelines at: