Homosocial Correspondence Ties in the Early Modern Habsburg Monarchy from Anthropological Perspectives

Wednesday 23rd November 2016, Barbara White Room, Newnham College, 5-6.30pm

Dr. Veronika Čapská (Charles University, Prague)

Supported by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO)

This paper will compare recent editions of the private correspondence of Anna Katharina von Swéerts-Sporck and the Jesuit Bohuslav Balbín. It uses correspondence networks to explore same-sex friendships, emotions and desires. Research into these themes has so far predominantly been conducted in criminal contexts, but the letters used in this project provide a new opportunity to explore beyond this context. Taking letters as particularly suitable sources for cultural exchange research, it will analyse the circulation of texts and artefacts (and texts as artefacts) from the perspectives of material culture studies and cultural exchange research. The paper will conclude by addressing the limits of cultural transfer and other relational approaches for early modern Central Europe.