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Monday, April 17, 2023, 1:00 pm – Wednesday, April 19, 2023, 1:30 pm


17th Annual Graduate Conference in European History 

17–19 April 2023 

Central European University, Quellenstraße 51, Vienna

Learn more: GRACEH 2023



Monday (April 17), 2 pm (QS D-001 Tiered Room) 

Clio Doyle, William Shakespeare or Taylor Swift?': Tradition, the Individual Talent, and an Internet Quiz 

The internet quiz "William Shakespeare or Taylor Swift?" asks readers to discern between the words of the early modern poet and playwright William Shakespeare and the contemporary singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. This talk asks what is at stake in determining who is speaking and what this can tell us about the canon and the work both of Swift and of Shakespeare.  

Clio Doyle (she/they) is a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature at Queen Mary University of London. She received a BA in English Language and Literature from Merton College, Oxford, and an MPhil in Medieval Studies and a PhD in English and Renaissance Studies from Yale. Her work on early modern topics is on how the retelling and interpretation of classical stories about the invention of agriculture functions as ecological thinking in late medieval and early modern Britain. She also has secondary interests in reading the work of Taylor Swift as literature and in virtual reality as a platform for theatrical performance. Her work has been funded by organizations including the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, the Beinecke Library, and the Renaissance Society of America and her recent article on Alexander Barclay won the Theron Rockwell Field Prize and the Sixteenth Century Society Literature Prize. She has hosted podcasts including Studies in Taylor Swift and Clio/Mireille: A Fan Fiction Podcast.  

Wednesday (April 19), 12 pm (QS D-001 Tiered Room) 

James Kapaló, Caves, Rockets and Icons: Regimes of Evidence and the Materiality of Events in the History of Religions 

What happens when we pitch archival evidence against folk legend, or against press articles or against the people themselves? Caves, Rockets and Icons offers an account of the formative events in the emergence of a new religious movement in 1920s Romania viewed through the lens of diverse forms of archival, narrative and material evidence. In the case study I outline here, national political, local and seemingly miraculous events are interwoven in a set of narratives and artifacts from police archives, from press sources and from the religious community. These diverse sources give voice (and sensation) to divergent interests, those of the state, of a group of marginalised people, and of God’s messenger. Inspired by recent debates in the anthropology Christianity on questions of transmission and historical change in Christian traditions, and on the inherent materiality of religion as counterposed to belief-centred approaches, in my lecture I explore ways in which to take objects, spaces, and environments as evidential for the history of religions. In what follows, I engage three materially grounded “events”, centred on a cave, a rocket and an icon, that were crucial in the formation of the Archangelist movement. These events, I argue, were formative of a new reality of the community and the emergence of its own distinct temporal regime, a new place in Christian history as they came to know it. Approaching materialities as “places” where things happen and “realities” come to be, my lecture will invite us to think about the divergent evidential regimes on which historical knowledge is constructed; on the status of evidence for the Romanian police as expressed in their archives, on experience and sensation as evidence for the religious community, and journalistic reporting as proof for the national press in its mission to shape opinion and sell copy. 

James Kapaló is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork. He is a historian and ethnographer of religion and has conducted archival and ethnographic fieldwork in the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary. His research has primarily focused on the history and experience of religious and ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe and is informed by the diverse fields of anthropology, history, folklore and  transitional justice.  From September 2016 to 2021 he was Principal Investigator of the European Research Council Project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (ERC project no. 677355), a four year project that explored the visual and material presence of religious minorities in the secret police archives in Hungary, Romania and the Republic of Moldova. This project partnered with minority religious communities in participatory research that resulted in open access digital collections and museum and virtual reality exhibitions. His most recent publications explore the importance of visual sources and material cultural methodologies for the study of religions under communism as well as the ethical and interpretational challenges posed by secret police archival sources. 

 If you would like to join online, please contact for a Zoom link.