2008-2009 Events


Annual EMC Conference | Before Environmentalism | March 6, 2009
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020), 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

In recent years, scholars have looked to the Renaissance and eighteenth century in order to better understand both the origins of our contemporary environmental crisis, as well as the emergence of modern environmental thinking. Works such as Robert Watson’s Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance and Gabriel Egan’s Green Shakespeare: From Ecopolitics to Ecocriticism, have brought early modern literary studies into current ecocritical debate. As these and other works make clear, environmental issues such as air pollution, toxic waste, increased urbanization, deforestation, wetland loss, and radical changes in land use were surprisingly timely in Early Modern England, routinely making their appearance in the literature of the day. Indeed, by the time Milton was writing Paradise Lost it was already known that respiratory illness from urban air pollution was second only to the Plague as the leading cause of death in London. The EMC’s one-day interdisciplinary conference will provide a forum to explore early modern literary and cultural responses to the environmental issues that preceded, and indeed gave shape to, modern environmentalism.

The conference will consist of panel discussions, as well as keynote talks by Carolyn Merchant (Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley) and Jill Casid (Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the Visual Culture Studies Program, University of Wisconsin).

Before Environmentalism” Website

Conference | Reading as a Social Technology | March 13, 2009
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

The History of Reading Group and the History of Material Texts Research Focus Group are hosting a one-day, interdisciplinary conference that will provide a forum for sharing recent research findings in the history of reading, with an eye toward investigating the technologies that shape reading as a social experience. The keynote speakers will be Adrian Johns (University of Chicago) and Elaine Treharne (Florida State University). The conference is supported by the University of California’s Transliteracies Project.

EMC Undergraduate Conference | June 5, 2009
South Hall 2635, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

This conference will be a forum to showcase outstanding undergraduate work on the early modern period (1500-1800). The event will take place from 1-4 on June 5 in South Hall 2635, and will be followed by a reception.


Call for Papers | Newberry Library Colloquium 2008 | September 25-27, 2008
Newberry Library, Chicago.

The Making Publics Project is soliciting submissions for a colloquium titled “New Worlds, New Publics: Re(con)figuring Association and the Impact of European Expansion, 1500-1700” at the Newberry Library in Chicago; please refer to the Call for Papers for further information.

Thomas Pettitt Lecture | October 16, 2008
“The Gutenberg Parenthesis (Renegotiating Mediaeval Studies and Media Studies)”
Thomas Pettitt (University of Southern Denmark)
South Hall 2635, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Renowned folklore and media studies scholar Thomas Pettitt will present a lecture titled “The Gutenberg Parenthesis (Renegotiating Mediaeval Studies and Media Studies)” – all interested persons are invited to attend. For more information on Thomas Pettitt, please visit his homepage.

Brownbag Lunch with Thomas Pettitt | October 17, 2008
“Ballads before Broadsides”
Thomas Pettitt (University of Southern Denmark)
South Hall 2635, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Renowned folklore and media studies scholar Thomas Pettitt (University of Southern Denmark) will present an informal talk on “Ballads before Broadsides” – all interested persons are invited to attend. For more information on Thomas Pettitt, please visit his homepage.

Debora Shuger Lecture | October 28, 2008
“Sir Thomas Browne, the Laudian Moment, and the Birth of Modernity”
Debora Shuger (English, UCLA)
HSSB 3041, 4:00 PM

Fall Colloquium | Before Environmentalism |  November 14, 2008
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020), 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

This year’s EMC Fall Colloquium will feature speakers Professor Robert Watson and Professor Beth Fowkes Tobin, both of whom will present work that illuminates this year’s theme, “Before Environmentalism.”

Robert N. Watson is a Professor of English at UCLA, and author of Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance (Pennsylvania UP, 2006), named the Best Book of Ecocriticism of 2005-2006 by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. He was the winner of the 2006 Elizabeth Dietz Memorial Prize for the year’s best book in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, by the editors of Studies in English Literature. Professor Watson’s presentation for this EMC event is entitled “The Ecology of Self in Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Beth Fowkes Tobin is a Professor of English at Arizona State University, and the author of Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760-1820 (Pennsylvania UP, 2005) and Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth-Century British Painting (Duke UP, 1999). Professor Tobin’s presentation for the Colloquium is entitled “The Duchess’s Shells: Natural History Collecting, Gender, and Scientific Practice.”

Andrew Griffin Lecture | January 26, 2009
“Tragedy, History, and Marlowe’s Dido”
Andrew Griffin (Wilfrid Laurier University)
South Hall 2635, 3:30 PM

Andrew Griffin completed his Ph.D. in 2008 at McMaster on untimely deaths in Renaissance drama and is currently a lecturer in English at Wilfrid Laurier University. His work is a remarkably fresh and deep investigation into the meaning of early modern history that addresses both received notions of historicity, such as the de casibus tradition, and newer, “messier” ideas of history being made and unmade by changing urban conditions of early modern London. Griffin’s next project naturally evolves out of his first as an investigation of London in terms not of a single history or nation but of a conglomeration of fractured communities. His co-edition of a collection of essays on the Queen’s Men—a traveling company of players that toured the provinces—as well as his five articles and two editions of dramatic plays, show an active scholar deeply serious about thinking through the big picture and nitty-gritty details that make early modern drama in its own historical time.

Mimi Yiu Lecture | January 29, 2009
“Othello’s Blackwork: Embroidering the Moor”
Mimi Yie (Georgetown)
South Hall 2635, 3:30 PM

Mimi Yiu received her Ph.D. from Cornell in 2005, held a one-year position as Postdoctoral Lecturer in English and Art History at USC in 2005-2006, and is currently in her second year as a tenure-track assistant professor at Georgetown. Her book-in-progress examines how the architectural discourse and practice of the “façade” impacts the development of an early modern subjectivity that is specifically theatrical. Carefully researched and extremely original, this is simultaneously an art historical as well as a theoretical, feminist, and drama project. Yiu’s second book project on the early modern arabesque continues her interest in the visual but this time focuses on Arabic designs (in knot gardens, textiles, stage architecture, etc.) as a way of accessing early modern importations and reworkings of Middle-Eastern Otherness. Yiu is remarkably productive—with six articles published or in press and others in the works—and she offers us extensive knowledge of drama, theory, gender, and visual culture.

András Kiséry Lecture | February 2, 2009
“Politics from the Margins”
András Kiséry (Vanderbilt University)
South Hall 2635, 3:30 PM

András Kiséry completed his Ph.D. in 2008 at Columbia on the circulation of political knowledge in early seventeenth-century English drama, and is currently a visiting assistant professor at Vanderbilt University. Rather than a return to “politics as usual,” Kiséry’s dissertation is a rethinking of politics that employs serious training in book history together with a pre-Habbermasian notion of communities of publics formed by participation in the performances and printed texts of the stage. Kiséry’s abundant publications (and language skills) emerge from his work in Hungary, England, and the U.S., as do his cosmopolitan interests, which complement his intensive training in English dramatic literature. His second book project continues his book history interests in questioning the emergence of the notion of “fictionality” in seventeenth-century England, which he pinpoints around the development of the distinctive feature of “uselessness.”

EMC Annual Meeting | April 17, 2009
The EMC Annual Meeting (during which we will decide on the annual theme for next year) will be on Friday, April 17 from noon-1 in the EMC. Please come!

Work-in-Progress Ann Plane | May 6, 2009
“‘When I Awaked’: Colonial Encounters, Gendered Meanings, and the Cultural Significance of Dream Reporting in Seventeenth-Century New England”
Ann Plane (History, UCSB)
Early Modern Center (South Hall 2510), 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Ann Plane, Associate Professor of History at UCSB, will present a paper as part of the Early Modern Center’s works-in-progress series. Her presentation, entitled, “‘When I Awaked’: Colonial Encounters, Gendered Meanings, and the Cultural Significance of Dream Reporting in Seventeenth-Century New England,” explores the convergence of two distinctive ‘dream cultures,’ that of the Algonquian-speaking natives of the region and that of the seventeenth-century nonconformist English colonists. Her paper also considers how these dream cultures reveal the gendered dynamics of colonization, particularly focusing on the representation of masculinity among both colonizer and colonized. Her presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

Bliss-Zimmerman Memorial Lecture | Angus Fletcher | May 15, 2009
“Poetry, Environment, and the Protected Circle of Wonder”
Angus Fletcher (Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the City University of New York Graduate School)
South Hall 2635, 2:00 PM

On May 15, Angus Fletcher will present a talk entitled “Poetry, Environment, and the Protected Circle of Wonder.” Fletcher is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the City University of New York Graduate School, author of A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination. According to Jonathan Bate, “Angus Fletcher is a highly distinguished critic and his New Theory for American Poetry is an appropriately distinguished contribution to the new wave of literary theory that restores the imagination, the aesthetic, the emotions and the natural world to critical discourse.” Harold Bloom says, “Angus Fletcher and his work have strongly influenced the way I read poetry…His new book is the crown of his career: bold, original, brimming with imaginative energy on every page.”

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