Welcome to the Early Modern Center

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara supports a community of scholars and students committed to innovative approaches to studies of the early modern period, from 1500 to 1800. Located within the English Department, the EMC fosters interdisciplinary research, hosts colloquia and conferences, and houses groundbreaking digital humanities initiatives. Our theme for this year is World-Making, 1500-1800.


NEWS

Please join the Early Modern Center for our spring conference, the Worlds of Print, tomorrow, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th, at the SB Harbor Room (Ucen) and the Maker Lab (Music 1404).  Please see the flyer and schedule below for details. We look forward to seeing you there!

worlds of print schedule

Alexander Statman, the Dibner Fellow in the History of Science at the Huntington this year, will present a paper entitled, “The Global Enlightenment: France, China, and the Idea of Progress” on February 28, 2019, at 4 pm in HSSB 4020.

Over the course of the Enlightenment, Europe claimed a monopoly on progress for itself alone. In the eighteenth century, other places had appeared as familiar and comparable. By the early nineteenth century, they were cast as inscrutable and incommensurable. What caused this fundamental transformation in Europe’s understanding of itself? In this talk, I aim to explain the transition from early-modern cosmopolitanism to late-modern orientalism by revealing the hitherto unknown deployment of Chinese science in Enlightenment debates. To do so, I reconstruct a cross cultural conversation that took place around the turn of the nineteenth century between Paris and Beijing. Searching for alternatives to the emerging idea of progress, orphans of the Enlightenment entered into communication with the last great scholar of the Jesuit mission to China, Joseph-Marie Amiot. Together, they drew from Chinese learning to invent modern esotericism, associating distant places with the ancient past in an attempt to salvage both. The unintended result was to place a cognitive chasm around the modern West. In the early nineteenth century, professional scholars created modern academic disciplines to bring that work back into progress theory. They made the past into a foreign country – both became a window into a fundamentally different worldview. Please see the flyer below for further details.

The Early Modern Center is thrilled to announce our upcoming annual conference for 2018-2019, “World-Making, 1500-1800”, on February 22nd and 23rd, 2019, at the Loma Pelona Center and McCune Conference Room (Humanities & Social Sciences Building 6020). We are looking forward to two days of conference panels, as well as two keynote speakers. Please see the flyer below for further details, and our conference website here for more information. We look forward to seeing you there!

One week from today (Monday, February 4) Leah DeVun, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, will present a talk entitled ““Heavenly Hermaphrodites: Adam, Eve, and the Creation of Sex” at 2:30 pm in HSSB 6020. Full abstract of the talk below and flyer attached. We hope you can make it!

This lecture examines how certain ancient and medieval thinkers claimed that “hermaphroditism” was the original condition of humanity, created by God and documented in the first chapters of Genesis. The idea that Adam was a hermaphrodite fueled medieval debates about sex and gender, as well as about human nature. In the modern world, objections to transgender and gender-nonconforming people often cite the bible, which is viewed as describing the division of humans into two distinct sexes. Historians and other scholars, I argue, should consider more carefully how Christian ideas about the sexed body emerged and developed – such histories have the power to disrupt our certainty about which sexes and genders are legitimate, natural, and deserving of human dignity.

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The EMC will be co-sponsoring Jacques Lezra’s lecture on Cervantes and Populism. Please check out the event details below; all are most welcome to attend!

Cervantes and Populism

Jacques Lezra • UC Riverside

Monday October 15 • 4:00PM • Mosher Alumni House

Cervantes—a “popular” author, yes, that goes without saying.  And his Don Quixote, “the cornerstone, the first and foundational stone of the literature of the [South American] continent,” in words of Elena Poniatowska, the noted writer and Premio Cervantes winner.  Cervantes: an institution and the source of institutions, then, too.  But how does Cervantes conceive the terms “people,” “popular,” “populism,” “institution” [“pueblo”, “popular”, “populismo”, “institución”]?   We’re surprised to find a sharply critical line of thought where this cluster of terms is concerned—a thought irreducible to the paths “people” and “institution” follow to reach the era of Institutos and Premios Cervantes, and of populisms that seek the legitimacy that the Quijote would offer.  We will focus on two emblematic episodes, the galley-slaves (from the 1605 Quijote) and the episode of Camacho’s wedding, from the 1615 Quijote.

Jacques Lezra is Professor and Chair of Hispanic Studies at the University of California Riverside. He is the author of On the Nature of Marx’s Things (2018); Untranslating Machines: A Genealogy for the Ends of Global Thought (2017); ‘Contra todos los fueros de la muerte: El suceso cervantino (2016); Lucretius and Modernity (co-edited with Liza Blake, 2016); Wild Materialism: The Ethic of Terror and the Modern Republic (2010); Unspeakable Subjects: The Genealogy of the Event in Early Modern Europe (1997) and his edition (with Georgina Dopico Black) of Covarrubias’s ca. 1613 Suplemento al Tesoro de la Lengua Castellana.

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The Early Modern Center is thrilled to announce it’s annual conference will take place February 22-23rd, 2019, at the University of California, Santa Barbara! See the schedule and other details at the Conference Website.

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The EMC is excited to announce the opening of the Maker Lab, consisting of The Center for Printing Practice—Founding Director, Patricia Fumerton—and punctum books—Founding Director, Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy. A collaborative space that explores the history of printing and publishing from the early modern to the contemporary, the Maker Lab houses a replica 19th-century Albion printing press (named Mad Madge by the EMC’s own Kristy McCants), cases of type, and a 3D printer. For more information about the space, see the article on its opening in The UCSB Current, “Back to the Future.”


THIS YEAR’S EMC EVENTS

World-Making, 1500-1800
University of California, Santa Barbara
Conference Date: February 22-23, 2019
Abstracts Due: November 20, 2018

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara invites proposals for our annual conference, “World-Making, 1500-1800,” to be held on February 22 and 23, 2019. We are happy to announce our two keynote speakers: Su Fang Ng (Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor and Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech) and Daniel O’Quinn (Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph).

“Worldmaking, 1500-1800” will explore the ways in which worlds–large and small, local and global, conjectural and experiential–were conceived and created in early modern England.  We invite conversations that address and interrogate the concept of “world” broadly construed, as well as conversations that attend to the “making” of worlds in social, institutional, and political frames and by and through various media.  How is a world –or the world–represented, portrayed, and evoked? How do such representations, portrayals, and evocations create worlds? What are the possible interactions between fictive world-making and lived experiences of the world?

Allégorie de l’Occasion, by Frans II Francken (1628).

Topics for panels and roundtables may include, but are not limited to:

    • the global early modern
    • worldmakers
    • gender, sexuality, trans, and queer studies in the global early modern
    • critical race studies
    • global mobilities
    • travel narratives / narratives of exploration
    • mapping and making
    • worlds of writing and print
    • global media and technology
    • translation and mediation
    • currency, capital, and trade
    • fictive worlds and their makers
    • religious worlds
    • utopias, dystopias, apocalypses, and imagined futures
    • creating and representing worlds on stage
    • early modern embodiment and the body’s relation to world
    • worlds shaped by affect, emotions, and mind
    • the phenomenal world and “world” in phenomenology
    • historiography
  • making and conjuring worlds of the archive

We invite abstracts of 150 to 200 words and a one-page CV to be sent to emcfellow@gmail.com by November 20, 2018. We envision and invite both twenty-minute panel presentations and ten-minute roundtable presentations; we will also consider complete panel or roundtable proposals.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the conference organizer, Unita Ahdifard, at emcfellow@gmail.com.


CURRENT PROJECTS AT THE EMC

The English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA)

The English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) makes 17th-century broadside ballads accessible as text, art, music, and cultural records.

The EMC Imprint

The EMC Imprint is an innovative open access venue for scholarly work and communication and a peer-reviewed publishing platform for digital scholarship. See their first peer-reviewed publication, The Making of a Broadside Ballad, here!

The Early Modern British Theater: Access (EMBTA)

The Early Modern British Theater: Access assembles and digitizes multimedia resources relating to the history of British theater and dramatic literature during the period 1500-1800.)