Welcome to the EMC Homepage
Girl Aged 5   —Oliver, Isaac 

The Early Modern Center ("EMC") at UCSB mobilizes the English department's strength in sixteenth- through eighteenth-century studies, which is maintained by seven faculty members in the field. The EMC has created a specially-constructed space (consisting of a seminar area, resource library, and networked computers) that promotes collaborative research and teaching. The EMC also creates graduate and undergraduate courses around innovative annual themes; organizes colloquia and conferences; supervises the department's undergraduate specialization in Early Modern Studies; and offers a graduate student assistantship each year. The EMC also hosts several groundbreaking digital humanities initiatives. The English Broadside Ballad Archive ("EBBA") digitizes, transcribes, and catalogues the images from extant early modern ballad collections in order to improve scholarly and public access. To date, EBBA has received four National Endowment for the Humanities grants and has transcribed more than seventy-five percent of surviving seventeenth-century ballads. The Early Modern British Theater Archive ("EMBTA"), meanwhile, assembles and digitizes multimedia resources relating to the history of early modern British theater and dramatic literature. Finally, the EMC is in the process of creating an online publishing platform, the emcIMPRINT, to offer an innovative open access venue for scholarly work. Graduate students from the EMC are involved at a number of levels with these digital humanities projects.

This Year's EMC Events


Friday and Saturday, February 27-28, 2015: Making, Unmaking, and Remaking the Early Modern Era: 1500-1800, 14th Annual EMC Conference, with Keynote Speakers Patricia Fumerton (UC Santa Barbara) and Pamela H. Smith (Columbia)

Friday, April 24, 2015: "After Print: manuscripts in the Eighteenth Century," with Keynote Speaker Margaret Ezell


Thursday, November 6, 2014: Deidre Lynch: "Pride and Prejudice by Numbers," SH 2635, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM, to be followed by reception in the Sankey Room

Friday, November 7, 2014: Special Colloquium on the Commonplace Book w/ Deidre Lynch, SH 2510, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Thursday, November 13, 2014: "From Poetic Meter to The Affect of Suspense: Two Approaches to Quantitative Formalism," Mark Algee-Hewitt and Ryan Heuser, Associate Directors of the Stanford Literary Lab, Lecture/Demonstration, SH 2635, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Friday, November 14, 2014: Colloquium with Mark Algee-Hewitt and Ryan Heuser, SH 2509, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Thursday, February 12, 2015: Kathleen Wilson, SUNY Stonybrook, "Blackface Empire:  Love, Theft, and Subversion in British Domains," SH 2635, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Thursday, February 26, 2015: Regina Schwartz, Visiting Tipton Chair of Religious Studies at UCSB and Professsor of English at Northwestern University, "Religion and Literature: Law, Love, and Justice in The Merchant of Venice," SH 2635, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM



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. To date the archive includes over 5,000 ballads--more than half of the estimated 10,000 extant 17th-century ballads. EBBA's holdings are free and open to the public.

*In the Winter of 2014, graduate students in Patricia Fumerton's "Popular Print and Ballad Culture" seminar are participating in a series of hands-on projects:


The emcIMPRINT is an innovative open access venue for scholarly work and communication. We would like to combine 4 virtues of our print media inheritance:

  1. Patient and rigorous care with writing, anonymous peer-review, editing & publishing
  2. Meet exacting standards of correctness
  3. A publication event of all-at-once presentation to the public
  4. A permanence that equals or approaches that of a printed product
with four virtues of new computable media:
  1. The speed, cheapness, and global reach of Internet publication
  2. By exploiting the plasticity of a computer-enabled interface, we could enjoy to the productive integration of traditionally separate functions of writing, editing & design
  3. Incorporation of text,image, sound, video, database, etc. to become multimedia
  4. The final transmission of the publication to reader could benefit from earlier format and design decisions
Examples of early publications under the emcIMPRINT

The Early Modern British Theater Archive (EMBTA)

The Early Modern British Theater Archive assembles and digitizes multimedia resources relating to the history of British theater and dramatic literature during the period 1500-1800, our goal being to help students understand early modern theater as a multisensorial and collaborative art form. EMBTA is unique in that most archives on English drama either begin or end with the mid-17th-century closure of theaters by Puritan officials during Englandís Civil Wars, and while post-1660 theater was in many ways radically different from the theater of Shakespeare, this archive aims to make apparent both the continuities and innovations in British theater over these three centuries.


EMC Gallery

The Early Modern Center Gallery is a featured resource of the center, containing reproductions of many important period images in thumbnail, browser, and large high-quality sizes. A random image from the Gallery is sampled below.

John Donne (c. 1572-1631).  Unknown,  . National Portrait Gallery