Welcome to the Early Modern Center

Isaac Oliver, Girl Aged 4
Isaac Oliver, Girl Aged 4


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 Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800.






The Early Modern Center at UCSB  supports a community of scholars and students committed to innovative approaches to studies of the early modern period, from 1500 to 1800. We have dynamic and committed faculty members in both the English Renaissance (Bernadette Andrea, Patricia Fumerton, Andrew Griffin, Ken Hiltner, James Kearney) and the eighteenth century (Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, Rachael King, William Warner). The EMC fosters interdisciplinary research, hosts colloquia and conferences, and houses groundbreaking digital humanities initiatives, such as the English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA), The Early Modern British Theater: Access (EMBTA), and the new multi-media e-press, EMC Imprint. The EMC also promotes hands-on learning of the history of the book through its Center for Printing Practice, featuring historical type, inking techniques, and an Albion pull-press.

Our graduate program encourages applications from students who have excelled academically despite economic or social disadvantages, as well as those who bring innovative perspectives, research topics, and/or career interests that advance the department’s goals of excellence and diversity. UCSB English is unique for its collaborative research initiatives. While offering a full range of literary historical periods, national and global literatures written in English, and critical approaches, the department has eight centers in addition to research initiatives that cut across traditional boundaries to allow faculty and students to collaborate on cutting–edge research activities and courses. We offer both an M.A./Ph.D. and a Ph.D. degree. Our graduates go on to successful careers in academia, publishing, marketing, instructional technology, and other areas. Application requirements are detailed on a central Graduate Division website in addition to our department’s webpage. Please refer to both:

Graduate Division: https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/departments/view/21
English Department page: https://www.english.ucsb.edu/graduate/graduate-program-admissions/requirement-and-information

We aim to ensure that all our students are fully funded through university and departmental fellowships and teaching/research assistantships, with a combination of these forms of funding through the fifth year of academic study. Our application portal is currently open and available to receive applications: https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/eapp


The Early Modern Center is thrilled to announce it’s annual conference will take place March 9-10, 2018 at the University of California, Santa Barbara! See below for our CFP and more information about submitting to the conference, and come join us for exciting conversation, community, and fellowship!


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.”


Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800
University of California, Santa Barbara
Conference Date: March 9-10, 2018
Abstracts Due: December 15, 2017

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara invites proposals for our annual conference, “Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800,” to be held on March 9 and 10, 2018. We are happy to announce our two keynote speakers: Laurie Shannon (Northwestern University) and Michelle Burnham (Santa Clara University).

We invite presentations that connect broadly to our theme of bodies and boundaries in early modernity. With the rise of both border studies and body studies in the academy, and the imperative need to think with and be with bodies at political, cultural, and social borders, we hope to investigate the ways that bodies and borders shape and inform literature, art, music, history, religion, philosophy, or other fields of inquiry. How are both bodies and boundaries intimately connected to our study of early modernity? And what is at stake in rethinking both the boundaries of the body, and bodies at various borders?

Johann Remmelin’s Catoptrum Microcosmicum (1619)

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The boundaries of the body
  • Bodies in, at, and near borders and borderlands
  • The non-human animal, animality
  • “Bare life,” bio-politics, bio-technology
  • The politics of ethics and asylum
  • The transatlantic early modern
  • Race, religion, ethnicity
  • The violence of colonialism and imperialism
  • Disability in early modernity
  • Disciplinary boundaries, periodization
  • Sex, sexuality, gender, trans* studies, queerness
  • Embodied voice, the aural, sound studies
  • Limits, liminality, the in-between
  • Pain and pleasure
  • Cartesian dualism (and its limits)
  • Transgression
  • Food, incorporation, digestion, waste
  • Ecological and environmental boundaries
  • Object studies, materialisms, thing theory
  • The digital early modern
  • Margins, print culture
  • Health, illness, skin, the humours, “leaky” bodies
  • Affect, emotion, phenomenology, cognitive literary studies

We invite abstracts of 300 words or less and a 1-page CV to be sent to EMCConference@gmail.com by December 15, 2017. In the spirit of the pushing boundaries, we envision and invite both traditional conference presentations, shorter 10 minute presentations to be delivered in a roundtable discussion, or other ideas that engage with the audience.

Please feel free to contact the conference organizer, Katie Adkison, at emcfellow@gmail.com with any questions you may have.


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.)