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Research project

Feeling peace in Reformation Europe

This project examines the social and cultural landscapes of religious reformations to ask what Europeans understood peace to be in the early modern period. Traditionally, the reformations have been viewed primarily through the lens of conflict: dramatic religious divisions, accompanied by processes of state-formation, militarisation, and overseas expansion, were a source of violence and war. The religious divisions, though, also provided opportunities for peacemaking. In spite of their different religious predilections, early modern men and women devised ways to live alongside one another. Throughout the early modern period, peace remained a ubiquitous concept. Yet it is little understood today.

This project has three principal goals. First, by looking beyond the prescriptive definitions of peace, it seeks to uncover how people experienced peace during this particularly turbulent time in European history. Second, in considering these experiences of peace against the backdrop of religious reformations, it seeks to recover the significance of peace in religious cultures and the role of religion in the practices of peace. Finally, this project seeks to establish religion and the early modern period more firmly in the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of peace studies.

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