About

The new Center for the Study of the Early Modern World brings together a range of expertise at Brown in different disciplines to focus on the multiple historical traditions of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe – and on potent connections between them.


Typus orbis terrarium, from Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum orbis terrarium 
(Antwerp: Plantin Press, 1587). Courtesy
of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

The term ‘Early Modern’ designates the historical period of globalization, during which sustained interaction between different regions of the world occurred as a result of exploration or conquest and colonization. Thus, transfers and exchanges of ideas, arts, technologies and human populations between those regions are an important object of study: material and visual culture, performance, languages and literatures, systems of belief and narratives of the past can all be viewed from diverse vantage points. 

The complex legacy of the Early Modern period has shaped and continues to shape the present time. Much of the work of the Center will interrogate this process, bringing to prominence interconnections between the contemporary moment and a multifaceted and dynamic historical past.  September 2019 will mark the beginning of an ambitious three-year series of lectures and events to introduce the newly formed Center to the community at Brown and beyond. The program, Remarking Boundaries, will involve scholars, writers, and artists who take borders for their topic of inquiry, whether those borders seek to delimit territories, disciplines, or more fundamental orientations.