Schedule of Publication

Society and Politics appears on the following dates:

April 30th

November 30th

Call for Papers

Society and Politics aims at publishing thematic and special issues and for this is seeking prospective guest editors that would be willing to submit proposals for thematic and special issues.

The Wisdom of Automata: Performative Science and Early Modern Diplomacy

Invited editor: Stefano Gulizia

Automata – often made up by puzzling parts, like wood inlays, brass, or metal – are charged with different tasks, such as defense, entertainment, or time-keeping. Automata also allow a ‘methodizing’ of spatial displacement through artificial life. Building on this premise, namely that despite internal diversification over time, the metis of self-propelled devices converges on political brokerage and cross-cultural exchange, the proposed Special Issue brings to a fresh light early modern entanglements of travel and experimental science aiming to produce a new angle to discuss the mechanization of nature. Boundaries between object and subject are blurred in the deep history of automata. Often this very fuzziness turns into a performance of cultural heritage, historically situated or perspectival as it might be. However, most scholarship up to date has suffered from a divide between attending to artisanal and technical manufacture on the one hand, and considering the social protocols attending to its display on the other. Likewise, the prevailing trend has been towards microhistory. As a result, more work remains to be done to conveniently tie up mechanical instrumentality with social legitimation, making the most of seminal inquiries into ambassadorial training and courtly culture as areas of artificiality. This Issue aims at a comprehensive re-balancing between production and circulation, and therefore at reinstating automatic life as a leading early modern discipline of information management. The claim of this collection is that what ultimately is embodied in automata and their peculiar time-keeping is not a simulation of live bodies, but a replication of habitus — that is, a tissue of geopolitical ambitions and bodily practices.

Research articles are encouraged from scholars working on the ‘archival turn’ and aspects of the mechanics of mobility such as Mediterranean gift-giving, storing, portable archaeologies, as well as from every field pertaining to the brokerage of early modern science and intellectual history, with particular (but not exclusive) interest to the routines of workmanship and the re-enchantment of technology. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words. They should be prepared for a double blind-review and be submitted electronically to by March 1st, 2019. Scheduled publication is anticipated for November 2019.

For further information and bibliographic references about this project see: