Previous Events

  • Oct
    12
    4:00pm - 5:00pm

    Early Modern Graduate Colloquium

    Pembroke Hall

    A diverse body, with many disciplinary and language backgrounds, the colloquium is a forum for all graduate students at Brown who profess an interest in the early modern period (broadly defined as 1400–1800) to meet and exchange ideas on topics of mutual interest in a convivial setting.

    As the group has not met for a long time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this will primarily be a social gathering that will give us an opportunity to catch up and learn about each other’s work in an informal way. A particular welcome is extended to those who are new to the group or simply interested in finding out more. As always, snacks and drinks will be provided. No RSVP is required.

    Presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. Questions? Please feel free to email the center’s graduate student representative Dominic Bate.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events
  • The Gail Kern Paster Reading Room at the Folger Shakespeare Library, with a First Folio in the fo...
    Sep
    22
    6:30pm

    Early Modern Event • Folger Reception

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    A meeting mainly for the graduate students in Humanities about the opportunities of the Folger Shakespeare Libary in Washington D.C.

  • Rick Rambuss (English) will talk on “Comus Does Comus: Milton’s Masque Comes to Mardi Gras.” 

    Rick writes: “If we were to allow for a version of Milton’s antisensualist masque known as Comus from the sensualist Comus’s point of view, what might it look like? I propose a materialist answer in heading to New Orleans, where in 1906 the secret society Mardi Gras organization named the Mistick Krewe of Comus feted its fiftieth anniversary by staging an artful 20-float nocturnal public parade and masked society ball on The Masque of Comus. The group’s foundational aim was to reform and culturally elevate a European Catholic holiday seen to have become distasteful and dissolute in multicultural New Orleans. English Renaissance literature, particularly Milton’s poetry, provided Comus’s thematic playbook. Its carnivalization of Comus plays upon and redoubles the masque’s many structuring inversions and conversions. The men of the Mistick Krewe also refashion Comus himself, making him a son more “properly” like his festive father Bacchus than his dangerous sorceress mother Circe.”

    Presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.

  • A John Hay Library/Center for the Study of the Early Modern World fellowship project, this interdisciplinary symposium convenes to bring forward new or underexplored theories of performance in the study of the global early modern, with a focus on performance in relation to the objects of historical analysis. These objects may be archival materials, the individuals or collectivities that produced these materials, or conceptual and abstract knowledge-objects. How can performance, as a theoretical rubric, illuminate the interaction within and among such categories of object, as well as between object and subject— both historical subjects and historian-subjects? How do objects represent, enact, or mediate performance? In what ways can one object surrogate or perform as another? How do objects circulate performances across distances of space and time?

    The symposium will be held virtually over two sessions on June 14th and June 15th. Papers by invited scholars will be published online in advance. Each of the two symposium sessions will be divided between discussion of the papers and presentations by participants on relevant objects digitized from the John Hay Library’s collections. Professor Holly Shaffer of Brown’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture will moderate.

    For more information and for the symposium’s program click here.

    Humanities, Libraries, Social Sciences
  • THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY, Chicago, IL

    Lia Markey, director of the Center for Renaissance Studies, Suzanne Karr Schmidt (George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, a Brown alum! ), Jill Gage (Reference Librarian and Bibliographer for British Literature and History at the Newberry and Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing) and Will Hansen (Director of Reader Services and Curator of Americana) will be offering a joint presentation on the Collection and its resources, followed by a Q&A.

    The Early Modern World in United States Libraries and Collections Orientations and Opportunities

    This unique series of interactive events showcase the resources of some of the world’s most prestigious libraries and special collections for research on the early modern period.

    On each occasion, representatives will speak from their institution to explain the nature of its holdings, offering orientations to potential first-time readers and new information valuable to regular visitors. Following the introductory presentations, there will be opportunities for questions and answers about practical matters – ranging from subject specialisms and reproduction permissions to programs and residence or fellowship opportunities.

    The series will continue through 2021 and 2022 and will be extended to introduce some international libraries in future years. The first event on February 3rd, 2021 involved the Folger Institute, with which the Center enjoys a longstanding and active association, and there was a presentation from representatives of the Nettie Lee Benson Library on February 24th.

    These events are organized exclusively for Brown graduates, faculty, and associate members of the Center.

    Humanities, Research, Social Sciences
  • The Classics Department cordially invites you to join us for the Michael C.J. Putnam Lecture, In and Out of Virgil’s Labyrinths, presented by Denis Feeney from Princeton University.

    Virgil’s Aeneid refers on a number of occasions to the Cretan labyrinth. The lecture will explore the significance of these references, arguing that Virgil uses the labyrinth as a way of reflecting on different strands of his literary tradition, with important consequences for his representation of the experience of Roman history.

    Denis Feeney grew up in New Zealand and took his DPhil at Oxford University. He has been Giger Professor of Latin at Princeton University since 2000. With Stephen Hinds, he is the co-editor of the Cambridge University Press Series Roman Literature and its Contexts. He has published on Roman literature and religion, and is the author of four books: The Gods in Epic (Oxford, 1991); Literature and Religion at Rome (Cambridge, 1998); Caesar’s Calendar (Berkeley, 2007); Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature (Cambridge, MA, 2016).

    This event is free and open to the public and will be hosted via Zoom on Tuesday March 23rd at 5:30 pm (EST). You can find the Zoom link below. We hope to see you there!

     

    Zoom Link

     

    Event Poster

    Classics & Modern Greek, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities, Libraries, Philosophy, Religious Studies
  • Please join the Department of French Studies for a talk by Mireille Huchon-Rieu, Sorbonne Université, entitled Louise Labé, invention d’auteur. This event will take place on March 4th at 12:00 pm (EST). Please note this lecture will be in French.

    Abstract:

    « Louïze Labé Lionnoize » a signé, en 1555, un unique recueil de ses Euvres (un débat de Folie et d’Amour en prose, trois élégies et vingt-quatre sonnets) accompagnées de vingt-quatre « Escriz » des « Poetes de Louïze Labé » prétendument à sa louange. L’ensemble, habile forgerie, relève de jeux de texte et d’intertexte d’auteur(s), à lire hors genre… Par-delà l’invention d’une figure féminine Louise Labé la nouvelle Sappho – à distinguer de Loyse Labbé la Belle Cordière–, il constitue un brillant témoignage d’un moment exceptionnel de rencontres de cercles poétiques, de recherches formelles, d’illustration de la langue française dans une riche connivence perdue au cours des siècles, et à retrouver…

    Bio:

    Mireille Huchon is Professor of French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. A specialist of the History of the French language and of literature from the Renaissance, Huchon has edited Rabelais’s complete works for the Pléiade (1994) and written his authoritative biography (2011). Huchon is also known for work on the Euvres de Louïze Labé Lionnoize (1555) thanks to her influential book Louise Labé: une créature de papier (2006), which examines the poetic culture of Lyons and practices of fictionalized authorship. Most recently, she is the author of Le Labéryinthe (2020).

     

    This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Follow the link below to access the registration form. You can find additional information on the French Studies website. We hope to see you there!

     

    Registration Form

  •  

    NETTIE LEE BENSON LIBRARY LATIN AMERICAN COLLECTION, Austin, TX

    Daniel Arbino, the Benson’s Head of Collection Development, Dylan Joy, the Latin American Archivist, and Albert Palacios, the Benson’s Digital Scholarship Coordinator, will be offering a joint presentation on the Collection and its resources, followed by a Q&A.

    Register.

    This a continuation of the series “The Early Modern World in United States Libraries and Collections Orientations and Opportunities,” interactive events that showcase the resources of some of the world’s most prestigious libraries and special collections for research on the early modern period.

    On each occasion, representatives speak from their institution to explain the nature of its holdings, offering orientations to potential first-time readers and new information valuable to regular visitors. Following the introductory presentations, there are opportunities for questions and answers about practical matters – ranging from subject specialisms and reproduction permissions to programs and residence or fellowship opportunities.

    The series will continue through 2021 and 2022 and will be extended to introduce some international libraries in future years. The first event on February 3rd, 2021 involved the Folger Institute, with which the Center enjoys a longstanding and active association.

    These events are organized exclusively for Brown graduates, faculty, and associate members of the Center.

    Humanities
  • The Early Modern World in United States Libraries and Collections  Orientations and Opportunities

    This unique series of interactive events will showcase the resources of some of the world’s most prestigious libraries and special collections for research on the early modern period.

    On each occasion, representatives will speak from their institution to explain the nature of its holdings, offering orientations to potential first-time readers and new information valuable to regular visitors. Following the introductory presentations, there will be opportunities for questions and answers about practical matters – ranging from subject specialisms and reproduction permissions to programs and residence or fellowship opportunities.

    The series will continue through 2021 and 2022 and will be extended to introduce some international libraries in future years. It will begin on February 3rd with the Folger Institute (see below), with which the Center enjoys a longstanding and active association.

    These events are organized exclusively for Brown graduates, faculty, and associate members of the Center: details of how to register will be made available through this website and through our circulars closer to the time.

    FOLGER INSTITUTE AND FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, Washington, D.C.

    Caroline Duroselle-Melish, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints, Amanda Herbert, Associate Director for Research Fellowships, Owen Williams, Associate Director for Scholarly Programs, Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian for Audience Development, will discuss the Folger Collection and offer brief presentations on Folger opportunities for members of the Center and the Brown scholarly community, Rachel B. Dankert, Learning and Engagement Librarian, the best person for addressing the nuts and bolts of registering as a Folger Researcher and searching the catalogs and Finding Aids, will discuss the Folger Collection and offer brief presentations on Folger opportunities for members of the Center and the Brown scholarly community, followed by a Q&A… Register.

    Humanities
  • While Juan Luis Vives and others contributed to debates in Europe about the identity of the original Adamic language, missionaries in sixteenth-century Mexico used the biblical story of Babel to account for, or just to convey, the daunting number of native tongues in the Americas. Interpretation of the Babel episode also influenced the Franciscans’ linguistic theory and practice as they compiled the first grammars and dictionaries of Amerindian languages.

    The ruins of local pyramids and other physical traces of the remote past in post-conquest Mexico attracted the attention of European missionaries as well. Preachers used the myths of the Tower of Babel and that of the existence of primordial giants before the confusion of tongues to explain pre-Aztec material remains. Those Biblical myths were not deployed in a void, but among indigenous narratives that already accounted for those remains.

    Using both textual sources and archaeological remains, Andrew Laird and Felipe Rojas will discuss the interactions between Old and New World traditions of antiquarianism.

    1. And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.
    2. And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it.
    3. And each one said to his neighbor: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar:
    4. And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands. 5. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.
    5. And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.
    6. Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
    7. And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.
    8. And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.

    Genesis 11: 1-8

    This virtual event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

  • A refugee crisis of huge proportions erupted as a result of the mid-seventeenth-century wars in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Tens of thousands of Jews fled their homes, or were captured and trafficked across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Adam Teller’s new book Rescue the Surviving Souls:The Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century (Princeton University Press, 2020) is the first study to examine this horrific moment of displacement and flight, and to assess its social, economic, religious, cultural, and psychological consequences. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in twelve languages, Adam Teller traces the entire course of the crisis, shedding fresh light on the refugee experience and the various relief strategies developed by the major Jewish centers of the day.

    The book pays particular attention to those thousands of Jews sent for sale on the slave markets of Istanbul and the extensive transregional Jewish economic network that coalesced to ransom them. It also explores how Jewish communities rallied to support the refugees in central and western Europe, as well as in Poland-Lithuania, doing everything possible to help them overcome their traumatic experiences and rebuild their lives.

    Francesca Trivellato, Hal Cook, and Adam Teller will discuss the book and its implications not just for the history of the Jews but for how we understand the history of early modern Europe and the Ottoman Empire more generally.

    Francesca Trivellato is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Early Modern European History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. She previously taught at Yale University and, briefly, at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari. Her publications include The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019) and The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period (Yale University Press, 2009). She is a co-founder and editor of Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics.

    Harold J. (Hal) Cook, PhD University of Michigan 1981, is the John F. Nickoll Professor of History at Brown University. He is author of numerous articles and books, including Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age(Yale University Press, 2007) and The Young Descartes: Nobility, Rumor, and War (The University of Chicago Press, 2018), and editor of several others, most recently Translation at Work: Chinese Medicine in the First Global Age (Brill, 2020). His chief research interests are in the emergence of the new medicines and sciences of early modern Europe; the co-production of science and commerce; global knowledge exchanges; and processes of translation.

    Adam Teller is Professor of History and Judaic Studies here at Brown. He specializes in the economic, social, and cultural history of the Jews in early modern Poland-Lithuania. He was a member of the core academic team that created the exhibit at the prize-winning POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and is currently a member of the museum’s Academic Council. He is also the author of Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates (Stanford University Press, 2016), and Rescue the Surviving Souls: The Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century (Princeton University Press, 2020).

    This virtual event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Humanities
  • “Revisiting Mosquito Empires in the time of COVID-19”

    In this virtual lecture, environmental historian J.R. McNeill will revisit arguments he made a decade ago in his book, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which dealt with the extraordinary virulence and historical consequences of epidemics in the Caribbean, ca. 1650-1900. Looking back at his study from the vantage point of the pandemic year 2020 will also permit him to reflect on the importance of disease history in the contemporary world.

    Register to attend the webinar. 

    J.R. McNeill, currently University Professor and Professor of History at Georgetown University, has held two Fulbright awards and fellowships from Guggenheim, MacArthur and the Woodrow Wilson Center. He has authored or edited 23 books, including Something New Under the Sun (2000), listed by the London Times among the 10 best science books ever written (despite being a history book); and Mosquito Empires (2010), which won the Beveridge Prize from the American Historical Association; and most recently The Webs of Humankind (2020), 2 vols. In 2018, he received the Heineken Award for History from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a former president of both the American Society for Environmental History and the American Historical Association.

    This virtual event, presented by the Medieval and Early Modern History Seminar and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Humanities
  • In this lecture, Nicholas R. Jones analyzes cultural and dramatic representations of black African voices in Spanish theater from the 1500s through the 1700s, when the performance of Africanized Castilian, commonly referred to as habla de negros (black speech), was in vogue. Drawing on material from his book, Staging Habla de Negros: Radical Performances of the African Diaspora in Early Modern Spain, Jones elucidates the ways that habla de negros animated black Africans’ agency, empowered their resistance, and highlighted their African cultural retentions.

    Nicholas R. Jones is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Africana Studies whose research agenda explores the agency, subjectivity, and performance of black diasporic identities in early modern Iberia and the Ibero-Atlantic world. He is the author of Staging Habla de Negros: Radical Performances of the African Diaspora in Early Modern Spain (Penn State University Press, May 2019) and co-editor of Early Modern Black Diaspora Studies: A Critical Anthology (Palgrave, December 2018) with Cassander L. Smith and Miles P. Grier. Jones also is co-editor of the Routledge Critical Junctures in Global Early Modernities book series with Derrick Higginbotham and has published widely in peer-reviewed venues such as Colonial Latin American, Hispanic Review, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, and University of Toronto Quarterly.

    This virtual event, presented by the Department of Hispanic Studies and co-sponsored by the  Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Humanities
  • Across the tradition of European romance, the love-potion is a familiar instrument of sexual trickery and comic misprision that has the power to significantly alter the course of human affections. Chaucer’s Wife of Bath proves herself an expert in the “remedies of love”; Shakespeare’s “love-juice” makes Titania love an ass; and Cervantes’s “glass lawyer” is given an improperly dosed quince that sends him completely mad. As a careful concoction of herbs and flowers typically administered by stealth, the love-potion harnesses the qualities of certain plants that act upon the sexual personality. Yet, what exactly are these potions, and how serious are their effects on personal freedom? Is the love potion a form of sexual violence, and does it matter who administers it?

    In this talk, Prof. Scozzaro considers the purpose of love potions and balms in Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor, with reference to the status of marriage and individual freedom in the early modern sexual contract.

    Connie Scozzaro is Assistant Professor of English at Brown University. Read more.

    Image: Act IV, Scene I of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the 2002 production directed by Richard Jones and designed by Giles Cadle. Bottom played by Darrell D’Silva and Titania played by Yolanda Vazquez. Photo: Manuel Harlan, Royal Shakespeare Company.

    This virtual event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Humanities
  • Mar
    10
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    40th William Church Lecture • Nick Wilding

    Smith-Buonanno Hall

    Nick Wilding (Georgia State University) will give a talk on “False Impressions: A History of Print Forgery.” Prof. Nick Wilding is a historian of early modern Italy, of the book, and of science. A recipient of many awards and fellowships, and author of many works, most notably Galileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge (2014), he also became visible internationally when in 2012 he exposed a grand fraud. Wilding proved that a proffered copy of Galileo’s famous treatise on the use of a telescope to observe the stars, Sidereus Nuncius (1610), purportedly including Galileo’s own watercolors of the moon, was a clever forgery. It helped to bring the director of the Girolamini Library in Naples, Marino Massimo De Caro – part of the Berlusconi network – to justice. (De Caro was also found to have embezzled many hundreds of books from the library he oversaw.) Wilding also featured prominently in the PBS documentary about how the fraud was exposed, “Galileo’s Moon” (which premiered on July 2, 2019). 

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events
  • Hoy en día se sabe muy poco de la rica historia intelectual y cultural de Charcas colonial, que formó parte del Virreinato del Perú y cuyo territorio corresponde aproximadamente a la moderna Bolivia. Desde hace mucho tiempo, Andrés Eichmann está desenterrando e interpretando la literatura en español (además de algunas obras en latín) de la región, producida en los siglos XVI y XVII. En esta charla proporcionará una visión general informada de sus hallazgos y explicará el estado actual de la investigación de este campo.

    Very little is known of the rich intellectual and cultural history of colonial Charcas, a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru now roughly constituting the area of modern Bolivia. For several years Andrés Eichmann has been unearthing and interpreting Spanish literature and some works in Latin from the region, which were produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this talk he will provide a uniquely informed overview of his findings and explain the current state of investigation in this field.

    This lecture will be given in Spanish.

    Andrés Eichmann Oerhli, Professor (Catedrático) of Latin American Literature in UMSA in La Paz, Bolivia, has had visiting lectureships at the universities of Versailles in France and Navarra in Spain and is founding editor of the journal Classics Boliviana. His book publications includeDe Boliviana latinitate: Pensamiento y latín en Bolivia(2002); Letras humanas y divinas en la muy noble ciudad de La Plata (2005), Cancionero mariano de Charcas (2009), and a volume co-authored with Ignacio Arellano, Entremeses, loas y coloquios de Potosí (2005).

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

  • Professor Anne Dunlop is the Herald Chair of Fine Arts in the Department of Art History, Curatorship, Arts & Culture at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Andrea del Castagno and the Limits of Painting (2015), Painted Palaces: The Rise of Secular Art in Early Renaissance Italy (2009) and several edited volumes, among them Antipodean Early Modern: European Art in Australian Collections, c. 1200-1600, (2018), and with Christy Anderson and Pamela H. Smith, co-editor of The Matter of Art: Materials, Technologies, Cultural Logics, 1250-1650 (2014). Her current research focuses on artistic contact and trade in materials between Italy and Mongol Eurasia. Her lecture is part of the year-long series called On Speculation.

    The series is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture’s Margerie Cutler, Joseph Edinburgh, and Kenneth List funds. Additional support comes from the C.V. Starr Foundation Lectureship Fund.

    HIAA Annual Lecture Series, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • David Scott, the Ruth and William Lubic Professor of Anthropology in the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University, will give a research lecture that asks what story of the history of New World slavery ought to command our critical attention in the present. He offers the provisional answer that the story of New World slavery ought to be reoriented by a moral, and more specifically a reparatory, history that embraces the idea that New World slavery was not only an historical catastrophe but a moral evil, a wrong which may in fact be irreparable. Free and open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

  • What did Dante know about classical pederasty? Was he concerned that the great masters he emulated—father figures—were often also unabashed lovers of young men? Most urgently, did he think of Virgil in this context? This talk will first set out some broad historical and theoretical considerations around intergenerational male-male desire from antiquity through the Renaissance with help from Freud and post-Freudian queer theory. The subsequent focus will then be on the remarkable celebration of Virgil’s warrior-lovers Nisus and Euryalus in the first canto of Dante’s Inferno.

    Gary Cestaro is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and the LGBTQ Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago. He is the author of Dante and the Grammar of the Nursing Body (University of Notre Dame Press, 2003) and editor of the collection Queer Italia: Same-Sex Desire in Italian Literature and Film (Palgrave Macmillan/St. Martin’s, 2004). He is currently working on a book entitled Dante’s Queer Genealogies.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

  • Dec
    11
    10:00am - 4:00pm

    Workshop • “Viewing Topography Across the Globe”

    John Carter Brown Library

    Topography, from topos, is the practice of describing place through language, the features of the land, the inhabitants, and the accumulation of history. Specific to locality and the perspective of the person delineating, describing, or collecting materials, topography counters the worldliness of geography while also offering a potential tool to multiply singular approaches. Over a day-long workshop, approaches to place from Indigenous and European perspectives and interrogate the frame of ‘topography’ in global contexts were examined. Working with special collections, the day included three talks and object viewing sessions that focused  on the Americas, the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe, and included descriptions of military campaigns, fortifications, settlements, urban cartographies, city views, forests and hunts, palaces, religious structures, markets, peoples, coastal views, weather, maps, and more.

    The workshop was organized by Holly Shaffer (History of Art & Architecture, Brown University), Cynthia Roman (The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University), Neil Safier (The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University), and Shahzad Bashir (Religious Studies, Brown University).

    Session 1: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (John Carter Brown Library)

    John Lopez (Assistant Professor of Art History, University of California-Davis), “Renaissance Cartography and the Mapping of the Environmental Crisis at Viceregal Mexico City”
    When the Spanish founded Mexico City in 1524, they inherited from the Aztec an island site that flooded. After following in the footsteps of their pre-Columbian predecessor, by rebuilding the hydraulic web of causeways, dikes, and floodgates, Spanish colonial authorities sought an alternative solution to the city’s propensity to inundate. In 1607, the cartographer-turned-hydraulic engineer Enrico Martínez implemented the desagüe, an engineering project to drain the lakes that surrounded the city into the Gulf of Mexico. As part of his response to environmental crisis, Martínez produced Descripción de la comarca de México i obra del desagüe de la laguna. Martínez’s map represents a defining moment in Mexico City’s history because it is the first drawing made by a professional mapmaker in the service of flood control. Made under the guise of environmental concern and technological prowess, Descripción de la comarca de México aids understanding how flooding was a problem posed by New World nature to Renaissance cartographic analysis, where science and mathematical abstraction were mobilized to end Mexico City’s centuries-old problem of chronic flooding.

    Samira Sheikh (Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, Vanderbilt University), “The Languages of Gujarati Maps”
    Terrestrial maps produced in Gujarat in the 18th century drew from and “translated” cartographic vocabularies available in this highly connected and trade-rich province of the Mughal empire. With the extension of the East India Company’s influence over Gujarat, local mapmakers veered towards conventions that often looked European on the surface. In response, Samira Sheikh argued that Gujarati cartography, informed by religious, maritime, scientific, and painterly conventions, was in fact the site of multiple, cross-cutting translation projects.

    Ünver Rüstem (Assistant Professor of History of Art, Johns Hopkins University), “Mapping Cosmopolitanism: An Eighteenth-Century Printed Ottoman Atlas and the Turn to Baroque”
    In 1732, İbrahim Müteferrika — founder in Istanbul of the first Turkish-language Ottoman printing press — published the Cihānnümā, an illustrated world atlas filled with copperplate maps. While in some ways replicating the art of traditional manuscripts, the Cihānnümā’s makers derived their maps from European printed atlases, even adapting the latter’s Baroque cartouches. Ünver Rüstem discussed these cartouches as sites for the emergence of a distinctly Ottoman reinterpretation of the Baroque that anticipated by several years the use of the same mode in Istanbul’s public architecture. Focusing on the plates signed by the Armenian engraver Mıgırdıç, Ünver Rüstem highlighted the special role of non-Muslim Ottomans in mapping this global style onto the empire’s visual culture.

    “Viewing Urban Cartographies” with Bertie Mandelblatt (Curator of Maps and Prints, John Carter Brown Library)

    Lunch break: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

    Session 2: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, John Hay Library

    “Viewing the Minassian Collection” with Shahzad Bashir (Aga Khan Professor of Islam and the Humanities, Brown University) and Holly Shaffer (Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture, Brown University), and graduate students in  Tracing Translations (HMAN 2400R)

    “Viewing the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection” with Peter Harrington (Curator of the Military Collection, John Hay Library)

    This workshop was sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the John Carter Brown Library, the John Hay Library, and the Lewis Walpole Library; it was part of the programming for the Collaborative Humanities course, Tracing Translations: Artistic Migrations and Reinventions in the Early Modern World, and was part of a series on topography organized by the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University.

    Collaborative Humanities Initiative, Early Modern World
  • What do a Chinese élite lady in Shanghai, a Portuguese duchess in Madrid, an Austrian queen in Lisbon, and a Bavarian countess in Augsburg all have in common? These women, in spite of distance in time and space, all became revered patronesses of the Jesuit missions in China in the early modern period.

    Candida Xu (許甘第大, 1607-1680), granddaughter of the most prominent Chinese Catholic convert of the late Ming period, the imperial Grand Secretary Xu Guangqi 徐光啓, once widowed at age forty-six poured her fortune and energies in religious endeavors within the Catholic mission, and became a paragon of patronage and holiness both for her compatriots and the European readers of her French (1688), Spanish (1691) and Dutch (1694) biographies.

    The Portuguese noblewoman and heiress Maria de Guadalupe de Lencastre y Cárdenas Manrique, Duchess of Aveiro (1630-1715), cultivated a sprawling epistolary network with Jesuit missionaries across the globe, including several in China, financially supporting them, and receiving in return spiritual blessings and information on their activities.

    Maria Anna Habsburg of Austria (1683-1754), Queen Consort of Portugal and Regent of Portugal from 1742 until 1750, through her Jesuit confessor, the Austrian astronomer of the China Portuguese mission Augustin Hallerstein, organized a lavish embassy to the Qianlong Emperor to save the Chinese church from annihilation.

    Finally, Countess Maria Theresia von Fugger-Wellenburg (1690-1762), a descendant of the Fugger banking dynasty in Swabia, through the Bavarian Jesuit Florian Bahr, supported Chinese abandoned infants and acted as a chain of communication between the Qing and the Wittelsbach courts.

    This presentation examines these prominent women’s interactions with, and patronage of, the Jesuit missionaries in China, and, how, through their correspondence, as well as their political and financial influence, they sustained a far-flung network of male ecclesiastical admirers and expressed feminine spirituality and influence across the continents.

    Eugenio Menegon teaches Chinese and world history at Boston University. His latest book, Ancestors, Virgins, and Friars: Christianity as a Local Religion in Late Imperial China (Harvard Asia Center and Harvard University Press, 2009) centers on the life of Catholic communities in Fujian province since the 1630s. His current book project is an examination of the daily life and political networking of European residents at the Qing court in Beijing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public. 

    Early Modern World, Humanities
  • Kaijun Chen, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Brown University, will be discussing his research in an informal talk. Pizza and soda will be provided, or feel free to bring a lunch.

    For a full list of Archaeology Brown Bag talks, please visit http://blogs.brown.edu/archaeology/2019/08/19/brown-bag-talks-for-fall-2019/

    History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • Nov
    2
    9:00am - 7:00pm

    2019 New England Medieval Conference

    85 Waterman Street

    On November 2, 2019, Brown University will host the New England Medieval Conference, an annual interdisciplinary gathering of medievalists which has met in the northeast since 1974. This year, participants will be asked to consider how the human body (broadly conceived) was imagined, depicted, and treated in life and death in late antiquity and the middle ages—a topic which has received much critical attention in recent decades.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Biology, Medicine, Public Health, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • Folger Shakespeare Library Weekend Seminar
    The Visual Art of Grammar: Iconographies of Language from Europe to the Americas”

    This event is by registration only, with priority in admission accorded to faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, and advanced graduate students. The deadline to enroll is September 3, 2019. Apply.

    Grammar was the cornerstone of Renaissance humanism. The design and decoration of manuscripts and books devoted to the discipline signaled its importance, while elaborate diagrams and allegorical illustrations gave a fuller impression of the vital role of grammar in education. Such visualizations could acquire deeper significance, given the connection in ancient Greek between gramma, “drawing” or “letter,” and grammatike, source of the Latin grammatica. Further depictions and emblems were devised by creole and native artists in the Americas, as missionary linguists applied the European art of grammar to the systematization of indigenous languages in the New World. This interdisciplinary seminar will welcome up to sixteen faculty and graduate student participants to consider the early modern iconography of grammar as a basis for exploring broader historical conceptions of the relation between language and the visual field. Participants will also have the opportunity to examine copies of relevant Renaissance texts from the John Hay Library as well as a number of grammars, artes (manuals), and vocabularies of American languages in the John Carter Brown Library.

    Director: Andrew Laird is John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and Humanities at Brown University. His books include Powers of Expression, Expressions of Power (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Epic of America (Bloomsbury, 2006) and Antiquities and Classical Traditions in Latin America (Wiley, 2018). His most recent publications treat the relation of Latin to Amerindian languages, and the influence of European humanism on missionaries and native scholars in post-conquest Mexico. The seminar will be joined by Ahuvia Kahane (Trinity College Dublin).

    This event is presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.

    Early Modern World, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • Music Now is an informal forum series for Brown’s community of composers and music scholars. These talks are free and open to the public.

    About this Talk, “Beneath Exoticism: Hidden Hybridities in Early Modern European Music”

    The study of musical exoticism in early modern European music has focused largely on the critical analysis of forms of representation found within canonic works. Yet this overwhelming focus on cultural representation and its attendant discourses has arguably diverted attention away from asking how deeper degrees of global interconnections, European economic hegemony, and historiographic discourse shaped and influenced the making of Western art music. There are examples of hidden hybridities – performance practices, instruments, music theory – that were so thoroughly naturalized and normalized within European practice that their exotic origins were forgotten, or reinvented. Meanwhile, reflexive processes of oppositional self-definition that emerged in European music discourse as a result of global comparative ethnographies fostered new European philosophical and aesthetic perspectives on music that made people who self-identified as Europeans feel increasingly distanced from their ethnic others. In this context, a close reading of certain early modern music texts reveals a tendency to systematically erase or denigrate Jewish and Islamic influence on the musics of Europe, while some writers articulated either implicitly or explicitly a sense of a cultural incommensurability with musics of other societies, with this sense of difference and superiority reinforced by the broader patterns of taxonomic thinking. There is, however, a disconnect between the incipient subtexts of a monolithic “European” essentialism and exceptionalism in early modern historiographic discourse, on the one hand, and evidence of the diversity and non-normativity of actual performance practices, on the other. The latter suggests that there was greater continuity between European and non-European practices than is reflected in the treatises and historiographies of the time. This colloquium critiques examples of hidden hybridities in early modern European music through a subversive reading of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts, proposing an approach that could offer a useful paradigm to current work in the global history of music.

    About David R. M. Irving

    ICREA & Institució Milà i Fontanals–CSIC

    David R. M. Irving studied violin and musicology at Griffith University and the University of Queensland, and undertook his doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge. He was a Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge; held a post-doctoral position at King’s College London; then taught at the University of Nottingham, the Australian National University, and the University of Melbourne. He became an ICREA Research Professor in 2019 and is based at the Institució Milà i Fontanals-CSIC (Barcelona). His research spans from music in early modern intercultural exchange to early modern global history and historical performance practice. He is co-general editor of the forthcoming Cultural History of Music series from Bloomsbury, and co-editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Eighteenth-Century Music. His awards include the Jerome Roche Prize from the Royal Musical Association and the McCredie Musicological Award from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. [More Info]

  • India was the scene for the production of a vast, internally diverse chronicle literature in Persian during the period 1500–1900 C.E. During the 19th century, European scholars made selective use of this material to create the modern understanding of South Asian history that remains dominant to the present. Shahzad Bashir discusses concepts pertaining to time that undergird a variety of understandings of the past in the original literature, highlighting matters left out by 19th-century interpreters and their later followers invested in nationalist histories. The exploration is part of a larger project aimed at questioning the framework for ‘Islamic’ history in modern scholarship.

    Shahzad Bashir specializes in Islamic Studies with interests in the intellectual and social histories of the societies of Iran and Central and South Asia circa 14th century C.E. to the present. His published work is concerned with the study of Sufism and Shi’ism, messianic movements originating in Islamic contexts, representation of corporeality in hagiographic texts and Persian miniature paintings, religious developments during the Timurid and Safavid periods, and modern transformations of Islamic societies.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Early Modern World, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • Theatre Without Borders/Théâtre sans frontières
    Translating, Circulating and Performing Early Modern Drama

    The conference explored the work of Corneille in the context of European theatre and the circulation of early modern drama through both translation and performance, from the 17th to the 20th century.

    Friday, September 27, 2019
    Conveners: Karen Newman, Owen F. Walker ’33 Professor of Humanities, and Lewis Seifert, Professor of French Studies
    9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Coffee and Pastries
    9:30 AM – 9:45 AM Welcome
    9:45 AM – 10:45 AM Jennifer Row (University of Minnesota) • Corneille’s Queer Temporalities
    10:45AM – 11:45 AM Christian Biet (Université Paris Nanterre) • La Place Royale, ou l’urbanisme moderne : les lieux de la nouvelle comédie
    11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Break
    12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Katherine Ibbett (Trinity College, Oxford) • Andromaque in Translation: Foreignness and Refuge
    1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch
    2:30 PM – 3:30 PM François Lecercle (Université de Paris-Sorbonne) • Corneille’s Comedies and the Rise of Theatrophobia
    3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Coffee Break
    4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Michael Moon (Emory University) • Corneille, Racine, Molière, and New York Queer Theater in the 1960s and After
    5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Reception

    This conference was presented by the French Center of Excellence and the Department of Comparative Literature with the support of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services, and was co-sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the Department of French Studies, and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World.

    Center of Excellence, Conference, Early Modern World, Humanities
  • The U.S.-Mexico border and divided opinions about immigration have become a matter of acute national controversy, but buried far beneath these concerns is a centuries-long tie between the United States and the wider Hispanic world, reaching back to a time well before the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. 

    Carrie Gibson received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2011, focusing on the Hispanic Caribbean in the era of the Haitian Revolution. Her latest work, El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America, was published in February 2019. She is also the author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day (Pan Macmillan, 2014). Before embarking on a career as a historian, Gibson was a journalist for the Guardian and Observer, and continues to contribute to media outlets. She was born and raised in the U.S., but has lived in London for more than two decades.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    Early Modern World, Humanities
  • The U.S.-Mexico border and divided opinions about immigration have become a matter of acute national controversy, but buried far beneath these concerns is a centuries-long tie between the United States and the wider Hispanic world, reaching back to a time well before the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. This talk will outline that history, discussing the early attempts by the Spanish to place settlements in Florida in the 16th century and further efforts to extend Spain’s empire northward — until the early 19th century, when the wars for independence brought this era to an end. At the same time, this paper will situate these events in the context of the development of the United States, in order to consider the place of this largely forgotten early history in the larger vista of contemporary national memory.

    Carrie Gibson received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2011, focusing on the Hispanic Caribbean in the era of the Haitian Revolution. Her latest work, El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America, was published in February 2019. She is also the author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day (Pan Macmillan, 2014). Before embarking on a career as a historian, Gibson was a journalist for the Guardian and Observer, and continues to contribute to media outlets. She was born and raised in the U.S., but has lived in London for more than two decades.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public.

    On 9/26, Carrie Gibson will participate in a book signing preceded by an informal talk for the general public at Books on the Square. Read more.

    Early Modern World, Humanities
  • As an aesthetic form, lyric poetry has an intricate, jewel-like specificity: its linguistic play, formal innovations, and personal address have made it appear deeply rooted in particular, personal contexts, difficult to translate, its nuances perhaps near-impossible to grasp across deep cultural divides. And yet, at the same time, lyric also makes claims to the universal, speaking of timeless themes that defy historical contingencies, and seeking, ostensibly, to engage our most fundamental human feelings. This paradox — a staple of debates in studies of the lyric — takes on greater stakes when juxtaposed with the recent critical turn towards the Global Renaissance: can we speak of a “global lyric studies” of the early modern period, and why might we want to do so? What might such a thing look like? Can we usefully discuss lyric traditions in Europe and South Asia alongside each other, or are the particular literary and linguistic histories of these regions too disparate to make the comparison worthwhile? This talk explores some of the methodological, philosophical, and political challenges that plague cross-cultural studies of the lyric and suggests some avenues for future research. It considers why poetry (lyric in particular) has seemed resistant to historicism and asks how we might align aesthetic and historical considerations across geographies while studying distinctive artistic practices. In the process, Ramachandran explores a multifaceted understanding of the lyric — from the material cultures of lyric production and dissemination, its performance and transmission across different audiences, to its philosophic claims and ethical function.

    A literary critic and cultural historian of early modern Europe, Ayesha Ramachandran is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her first book, The Worldmakers (University of Chicago Press, 2015), charts transnational encounters and the early mechanisms of globalization from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. It was awarded the MLA’s Scaglione prize in Comparative Literary Studies (2017), the Milton Society of America’s Shawcross Prize for the best book chapter on Milton (2016), and the Sixteenth Century Studies Association’s Founder’s Prize for the best first book manuscript (2015). Her interests, beyond the English, French, and Italian literary traditions, extend to Portuguese, Spanish, and Neo-Latin materials and more recently, with the support of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2016), to Persian and early modern South Asia. Her current book project, Lyric Thinking: Humanism, Selfhood, Modernity, argues for the central importance of lyric form and language in shaping new intellectual possibilities for the self in the early modern period and beyond. Moving from Petrarch to Descartes, while also considering their afterlives in modernist writing, it draws together scholarship on theories of mind, cognition, and meditation with a complex literary history of lyric’s foundational encounters with other genres, particularly the epic.

    This event, presented by the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, is free and open to the public. 

    Early Modern World, Humanities