2021-2022 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

Schedule as of May 28, 2021

2021–2022 finds the Folger Shakespeare Library in the midst of a major building renovation project. As had been planned long before the pandemic, the Folger Institute continues to rely on our consortium universities to convene scholarly conversations that take advantage of local knowledge, sites, and communities of inquiry and practice. We are also eager to adapt lessons learned during the pandemic to open up our advanced scholarly conversations to new audiences whenever possible. If you have not previously participated in a Folger Institute scholarly program, we hope that this will be the year you join us.

With this model of distributed programming, it was inevitable that many of our partnered programs would involve regionalisms, highlighting what might be learned about the interactions and encounters involving unfamiliar cultures in a particular place, or the constructedness of a localized past, or the forms of enmity found in specific locations. Scholars organizing these programs have also been sensitive to our historical moment, embracing new modes of inquiry into the enduring questions of early modern culture and literature, especially critical race theory. As has long been our hallmark, Institute programs offer a spectrum of approaches, and we welcome you to find the one that best fits your current research project.

We at the Folger Institute acknowledge that these upcoming programs are being planned in the midst of much uncertainty. We are cautiously optimistic that travel in North America will be possible beginning in the late fall of 2021, and we have decided to begin announcing our application deadlines on July 1 on a rolling basis in hopes that we can be more confident when scheduling in-person gatherings, but of course the program formats and schedules may be adjusted as local circumstances dictate.

Below are the descriptions for the programs on offer during 2021–2022. Some of these programs will look familiar; several partnered programs originally scheduled for 2020–2021 opted to reschedule for this academic year, while others are taking lessons learned from the pandemic to share signature parts of their conversations with new online audiences. When programs are revised and adjustments are made to their formats and delivery throughout the year, we will announce those changes on this page and promote them through our various channels, including our bi-monthly newsletter, the Research Bulletin. Those not yet subscribed can do so here.

As some of our programs remain online and others bring scholars together in person, we will be looking for innovative ways to increase access for those who would not otherwise be able to participate. Accordingly, some upcoming programs will be filled entirely by registration, while others will offer online open sessions with in-person participation funded by competitive application. Others will require applications from all those hoping to participate to ensure that those selected to attend will be strong contributors to the conversation.

As always, participants are encouraged to pursue their individual research interests within a given program’s specific topic. Before submitting an application, applicants should read the description carefully so that they can tailor their statement of research plans to the program in question. Folger Institute consortium affiliates should consult with their campus representatives. Please visit our application information page for further details about the application process.
If you have any questions about these programs, or the logistics of submitting an application, email institute@folger.edu.


Fall 2021

Spring 2022


Full Program Details


Researching and Writing the Early Modern Dissertation (yearlong dissertation seminar)

Co-directed by Joyce Chaplin and Julie Crawford

This program focuses on the use of primary materials available for the study of the history, culture, society, and literature of early modern Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic World, broadly conceived. Should conditions allow, participants will visit rare materials collections in the spring to explore a variety of printed and manuscript sources relevant to Ph.D. candidates in history and literature, and they will learn (with the assistance of staff at the host university libraries) essential research skills as well as strategies for working with digital resources and remediated rare materials. The goal throughout will be to foster interdisciplinary scholarship while considering broad methodological and theoretical problems relevant to current work in early modern studies, especially when working in fields that contain deliberate elisions and silences in their historical archives. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed course work and preliminary exams; they should be preparing a prospectus or beginning to write chapters. Applicants should consult with their dissertation directors before applying to ensure that their work is at a stage that would benefit from the seminar, and their directors should certify that this is the case in their recommendation letters. Those whose dissertations are substantially complete will not be competitive applicants.

Directors: Joyce E. Chaplin is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. A former Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, she has published five monographs, one co-authored book, and two Norton Critical Editions. She did research for her second book, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 15001676 (2001), at the Folger. Julie Crawford is the Mark van Doren Professor of Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Marvelous Protestantism (2004), Mediatrix (2014), and numerous essays on authors ranging from Shakespeare to Anne Clifford and on topics ranging from the history of reading to the history of sexuality. In 2016 she taught a Folger Seminar on Cavendish and Hutchinson, and she is currently completing a book manuscript entitled “Margaret Cavendish’s Political Career."

Anticipated Schedule: A virtual fall organizational meeting will be followed by quarterly workshops, in-person if possible, whose objectives will be determined by participants’ current needs and dissertation progress.


The Global Atlantic (yearlong colloquium)

Co-directed by Philip Morgan and François Furstenberg

Co-Sponsored with Johns Hopkins University

In a world increasingly concerned with the political limits of globalization and its economic and environmental costs, Atlantic history offers an opportunity, as an analytic paradigm, to contend precisely with the historical roots of this sharp increase in modern interconnectedness. This monthly colloquium takes stock of the field of Atlantic History in order to assess where the current strengths of the scholarship lie and to map future directions for research. It seeks to critically explore the relationship between the Atlantic and Global frameworks that have structured so much historical research and production. While the invited speakers listed below will present and lead discussion on their respective topics, the workshopping of seminar participants’ scholarship will be a central focus of the monthly meetings.

Directors: Philip Morgan, Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, focuses particularly on slavery in North America, but his scholarship also ranges widely across many aspects of the Atlantic World. He is currently at work on a history of the Caribbean and Wider World, c. 1450 to 1850. François Furstenberg focuses on early American history and the Atlantic World. Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, he is currently at work on projects related to U.S. expansion in the Early Republic, and on the historical writing of Frederick Jackson Turner.

Invited Speakers: An opening roundtable will include Alison Games (Georgetown University) and Neil Safier (Brown University). Confirmed speakers include: Sam White (The Ohio State University) and John McNeil (Georgetown University) on the Atlantic environment; Barbara Mundy (Fordham University) on Indigenous confrontations with the Atlantic; Pablo Gomez (University of Wisconsin) on the “Plantationocene”; Marcy Norton (University of Pennsylvania) on materialities; Surekha Davies (University of Utrecht) and Earle Havens (Johns Hopkins University) on cartography and book history; Byron Hamann (The Ohio State University) on archives; and Matt Matsuda (Rutgers University) on thinking beyond the Atlantic.

Anticipated Schedule: Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 8 October, 12 November, 10 December 2021; 14 January, 11 February, 15 April, and 13 May 2022 at Johns Hopkins University. Fall 2021 sessions may be held virtually depending on local conditions. On 10–12 March 2022, colloquium participants will join a conference on Richard Eden and Peter Martyr organized by Surekha Davies (Utrecht University) and Earle Havens (Johns Hopkins University). 


Fall 2021

Race Before Race: Region and Enmity (virtual symposium)

Organized by Patricia Akhimie, Ana Laguna, Mayte Green-Mercado, Sylvester Cruz, and Henry Turner

Co-sponsored with Rutgers University and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Enmity is a sustaining force for systemic racism, a fervent antipathy toward a category of people. Enmity exists at the nexus of individual and group identity and produces difference by desiring opposition and supremacy, imagining separation by force, and willing conflict. Enmity unfolds in different ways in different places, according to local logics of territory, population, language, or culture, even as these geographical divisions are subject to constant change. This interdisciplinary symposium at Rutgers University focuses on how premodern racial discourses are tied to cartographical markers and ambitions. The notions of enmity and region provide a dual dynamic lens for tracing the premodern racial repertoires that developed in response to increasingly hostile contention between cultural and political forces. The symposium will invite scholars to take up this intersection between region and enmity and to examine how belief in difference, or the emergence of polarizing structures and violent practices, configured race thinking and racial practices in ways that are both unique to different territories and that transcend them.

Organizers: Patricia Akhimie is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark, where she teaches Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and early modern women’s travel writing. Sylvester Cruz is a doctoral student in the English department at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the graduate student coordinator of the Race and the Early Modern World Research Seminar. Mayte Green-Mercado is Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University-Newark, where she teaches Islamic, Mediterranean, and Iberian history, and directs the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies minor. Ana Laguna teaches Cervantes as an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Rutgers University-Camden and is co-convenor of the “Race and the Early Modern World” Research Seminar. Henry S. Turner is Professor of English and Vice President for Academic Initiatives at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Invited Speakers: A keynote address by contemporary artist Shazia Sikander with interlocutor Kishwar Rizvi (Islamic Art and Architecture, Yale University). Other speakers include: Yonatan Binyam (Classics, The Pennsylvania State University); Allison Blakely (European and Comparative History, Boston University); Ireri Chávez-Bárcenas (Music, Bowdoin College); Elsa Dorlin (Social and Political Philosophy, Université de Paris 8-Vincennes Saint-Denis); Diego Luis (History, Davidson College); Ruen-chuan Ma (English & Literature, Utah Valley University); Bindu Malieckal (English, Saint Anselm College); Dan-el Padilla Peralta (Classics, Princeton University); Kristina Richardson (History, Queens College CUNY); Miguel Valerio (Spanish, Washington University in St. Louis); Cristi Whiskey (History, University of California, Los Angeles);  Shao-yun Yang (History and East Asian Studies, Denison University)

Program: Each day will include a panel session with three speakers and one “conversation steward.” Informal “chat” sessions (designed for early career scholars and graduate students) will be interspersed throughout the symposium.  

Schedule: Tuesday through Friday, October 19–22, 2021

Register: This virtual symposium is open to all who register; information forthcoming.

Special Opportunity: Registrants may apply to speak one-on-one with an editor about their work-in-progress. Invited editors include Ayanna Thompson (Series Co-editor, RaceB4Race: Critical Race Studies of the Premodern, University of Pennsylvania Press); Christina Lee (Series Co-editor, Connected Histories in Early Modern Europe, Amsterdam University Press);  and Nick Jones (Editor-in-Chief, Caribbeana: The Journal of the Early Caribbean Society, Series Co-editor, Critical Junctures in Global Early Modernities, Routledge). Those interested in this opportunity will supply a two-page curriculum vitae and a 150-word abstract of their book project. Details will be provided to all those who register.


John Locke and England’s Empire (virtual weekend seminar)

Directed by David Armitage

Sponsored by the Folger Institute Center for the History of British Political Thought

By the end of his life, John Locke (1632–1704) was one of the two or three best informed observers of England’s Atlantic empire. Early in his career, as a client of the Earl of Shaftesbury, he had been involved with the Bahamas, the Royal African Company, and the Carolina colony; towards its close, a member of the newly founded Board of Trade, he gained intimate knowledge of English labor and penal policy, the Irish economy, and the North American colonies from New York to Virginia. Throughout, he was engaged with slavery, property, Indigenous policy, agricultural improvement, gender and family relations, constitutionalism, expropriation, and migration, among other topics. Welcoming up to twelve participants, this seminar will potentially examine the late seventeenth-century English empire through Locke’s eyes, using newly edited texts of his colonial writings alongside contemporary pamphlets, travel literature, and manuscript material. Participants will work together to determine what Locke knew and when; how this knowledge shaped his writings, especially the Two Treatises of Government; and what follows from scholars privileging him as their guide to understanding England’s empire.

Director: David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University. His books include The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000), Foundations of Modern International Thought (2013), and Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (2017). His edition of Locke’s colonial writings will appear in the Oxford University Press Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke. He is now working on a global history of treaty-making and treaty-breaking since the early modern period.

Schedule: On Thursday afternoon, 18 November 2021, Mark Goldie, FRHistS, will offer an open session on Locke, political thought, and empire. On Friday and Saturday, admitted seminar participants will focus their discussion on short, pre-circulated pieces.


Spring 2022

Early Modern Intersections in the American South (symposium)

Organized by Heather Miyano Kopelson, Jenny Shaw, and Cassander L. Smith

Co-sponsored with the University of Alabama

What is “early modern” about the region we now call the American South? Historically, we point to the rise of plantation cultures and then Indian Removal policies and the American Civil War as formative in the development of this region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This symposium, however, will offer participants the opportunity to consider the early modern contours of the American South by re-thinking its temporal and geographical boundaries. Specifically, the symposium will explore the multiple meanings of the American South through the prisms of race, slavery, and indigeneity in the centuries surrounding the arrival of Europeans and Africans in the Americas. Invited speakers will ask how the interactions of people from four continents shaped culture and history in this region and beyond. Session topics include: geography, temporality, race, slavery, indigeneity, and migration/displacement. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to tour the award-winning Native American Moundville Archaeological site and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery. A closing reception will be held at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Organizers: Heather Miyano Kopelson is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama and is also affiliated with the Gender and Race Studies Department. She is the author of Faithful Bodies: Performing Race and Religion in the Puritan Atlantic (2014) and is currently writing a book with the working title, “Speaking Objects: Indigenous Women and the Materials of Dance in the Americas, 1500–1700.” Jenny Shaw is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. Her research focuses on race, enslavement, and colonization in the English Atlantic. The author of Everyday Life in the Early English Caribbean: Irish, Africans, and the Construction of Difference, she is completing a serial biography of five women who bore children with the same Barbados planter. Cassander L. Smith is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama. She is the author of Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Narratives of the Early Atlantic World (2016). Currently, she is completing a book about respectability politics and the early modern black Atlantic.

Invited Speakers: A Thursday keynote presentation by Robbie Ethridge, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Mississippi, will be followed by two days of sessions led by the following speakers: Nicole Aljoe (Northeastern University), Eric Gary Anderson (George Mason University), Herman Bennett (Graduate Center, CUNY), Allison Bigelow (University of Virginia), Alejandra Dubcovsky (University of California, Riverside), Elizabeth Ellis (New York University), Barbara Fuchs (UCLA), Miles Grier (Queens College CUNY), Nicholas Jones (Bucknell University), Malinda Maynor Lowery (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Caroline Wigginton (University of Mississippi), and Ashley Williard (University of South Carolina).

Anticipated Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday, 17–19 February 2022 at the University of Alabama. 


American Regional Shakespeares (two weekend workshops)

Organization led by Barbara Bono and Michael Kuczynski

The story of “Shakespeare” in America is more than a history of books and performances. It is also a story of politics and society – of race, class, gender, and their intersections, of “culture” in the fullest sense of the word – all of which is deeply inflected by the real and imagined past of particular places. In spring 2022 the Folger Institute will partner with two consortium universities to offer weekend workshops to explore two significant cities and communities that exemplify chronological sweep and geographical reach in their broad cultural and specifically Shakespearean histories. Scholars need not be working on Shakespeare in these two particular cities or regions to join their conversations. Those studying the regional reception of Shakespeare in America, the tension and synergies between high and low culture in the United States, book collecting, performance, and other related topics are welcome to participate. Scholars requesting funding to attend both workshops must submit two separate applications. 


Rac(e)ing the Shakespearean Archive: Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction New Orleans (weekend workshop)

Michael P. Kuczynski and John “Ray” Proctor at Tulane University

Co-sponsored with the Departments of English and Theatre and Dance at Tulane University, in conjunction with the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane (NOCGS).

Provocatively defining the archive to include publications, performances, adaptations, and influences, this workshop will adopt a critical approach to “Shakespeare” in New Orleans, one of America’s most racially diverse cities. The period before, during, and after the Civil War witnessed a consistent engagement with Shakespeare’s work in New Orleans and the American South generally which inevitably reflected the racial dynamics of the city, one of America’s most important ports and a center of the American slave trade. Nineteenth-century New Orleans’ engagement with Shakespeare, in turn, influenced twentieth-century reactions to the playwright and his works in the city and continues to impact Shakespeare’s adaptation and use in twenty-first-century classrooms, libraries, streets, and theatres. Among the topics to be discussed will be acting, the semiotics of race in performance, and the performative implications of color-conscious casting; the collecting, printing, and reading of Shakespeare’s plays and their role in elementary and higher education; and Shakespeare’s presence in Mardi Gras and related forms of cultural spectacle. Special focus will be given to Shakespeare’s status within contemporary Critical Race Studies.

Organizers:  Michael P. Kuczynski is Professor of English at Tulane University. John “Ray” Proctor is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Tulane University.

Program: Following a live-streamed keynote dialogue on Thursday evening with Ayanna Thompson (Arizona State University) and Kara Tucina Olidge (Amistad Research Center), on Friday and Saturday faculty and archivists will offer dialogues that feature one-on-one object - and performance-based encounters preserved in the vibrant collections and larger cultural archive of New Orleans itself. The workshop will give participants the opportunity to partner with featured local professional Shakespeare performers as they draw examples from a wide range of New Orleans-based archives, including the Amistad Research Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and Tulane’s Special Collections Department of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (especially its Carnival Collection) and its Hogan Jazz Archive.

Anticipated Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday, 17–19 March 2022 at Tulane University. 


“Gilding the Guilt”: The Gilded Age, Craft Production, and the Construction of Cultural Capital (weekend workshop)

Barbara Bono, Carrie Tirado Bramen, Maria Horne, and Stacy Carson Hubbard

Co-Sponsored with the Departments of English and Theatre and Dance at the University of Buffalo, and the University at Buffalo Library, and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

What role has “Shakespeare” played in reinforcing and contesting wealth and class, and how should scholars critically reconsider that tension at a moment when economic injustice has been so starkly underlined for all Americans? This workshop considers these questions with the case study of Buffalo, New York, a regional city situated at a geographic and historical crossroads in America. While Buffalo’s wealth and cultural opportunities were unevenly distributed, its elite’s ambitions were vast and included an aggressive practice of Gilded Age book collecting, focused on Shakespeare. Meanwhile major cultural countercurrents included the American Arts and Craft movement headquartered at the nearby Roycroft Campus. Topics to be discussed include the tensions found in late-nineteenth-century American cities during the fraught economic, industrial, and cultural expansion of the Gilded Age, especially those involving studies into non-elite acculturation through Shakespeare and other signifiers of high culture, and creative American counter-responses to European art and culture that continue to resonate today. Scholars working on these and related topics are welcome to attend.

Organizers: Barbara Bono is Associate Professor Emerita of English and of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo. Carrie Tirado Bramen is Professor and Stacy Carson Hubbard is Associate Professor of English at the University at Buffalo. Maria S. Horne is Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of Buffalo.

Program: Thursday afternoon and evening will offer two opening plenaries. The first features novelist Lauren Belfer, whose novel City of Light revolves around the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. It will be followed by a panel of three distinguished scholars who will speak on Shakespeare in relation to frontiers / la frontera, African-American culture, and Indigenous reception and adaptation: Ruben Espinosa (Arizona State University), Joyce Green MacDonald (University of Kentucky), and Scott Manning Stevens (Syracuse University). Subsequent workshop sessions will involve the organizers and local librarians and archivists at the downtown Buffalo and Erie County Library, the University at Buffalo Libraries, and the Roycroft Campus.

Anticipated Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday, 28 April–1 May 2022 at the University at Buffalo, with an optional field trip on Sunday.


Out of the Archives: Digital Projects as Early Modern Research Objects (weekend seminar)

Organized by Margaret Simon, Christopher Warren, and Christopher Crosbie

Co-sponsored with North Carolina State University

How do the digital humanities reconfigure our sense of “the archive?” As instantiations of humanistic inquiry during a period of rapid technological change, digital artifacts become research objects in their own right. Digital projects continually reshape our modes of accessing traditional archival objects and the very questions we ask of them. Supported by North Carolina State’s extensive digital technologies infrastructure, this seminar will combine discussion of shared readings with workshop experimentation on digital projects to consider a range of questions. What do digital models reveal about scholarly definitions of historical research? How might digital praxis, the exploration of multimodal research objects, and new forms of scholarly communication change researchers’ thinking about early modern communicative practices? How can digital methodologies accommodate diverse communities and improve the politics of access? What might we learn about the scope of the archive as we consider early modern research in distributed, digital, and often data-driven contexts? Those working in early modern studies, archives, library science, and digital scholarship are invited to apply.

Organizers: Margaret Simon is Associate Professor of English at North Carolina State University. Her current book project, “Open Books: Multi-Materiality and the English Renaissance Codex,” considers how early modern printed texts rendered objects in language and graphic technologies. She co-created the multi-media project “Intimate Fields,” in the University of Victoria’s MLab’s Kits for Culture series. Her chapter on the haptics of digital paleography will appear in Debates in the Digital Humanities. Christopher Warren is Associate Professor of English and, by courtesy, History, at Carnegie Mellon University. His research spans digital humanities, early modern literature, print culture, and the history of political thought. He is the author of the award-winning Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (2015) and co-founder of the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project. He is currently developing computer-assisted methods to identify clandestine early modern printers. Christopher Crosbie, Associate Professor of English at North Carolina State University, is the author of Revenge Tragedy and Classical Philosophy on the Early Modern Stage. His work on Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and classical philosophy has appeared in journals such as Shakespeare QuarterlyEnglish Literary RenaissanceRenascence, Renaissance PapersArthuriana, and in multiple edited collections. His current book project examines ethics and intentionality in Shakespearean drama.

Program: A live-streamed plenary presentation on Thursday evening by Anupam Basu (Washington University in St. Louis) will be followed by two days of seminar that mix discussion with hands-on experimentation with digital tools.

Anticipated Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday, 10–12 March 2022 at North Carolina State University. 


Reading Scotland before 1707 (symposium)

Organized by Margaret Connolly, Rhiannon Purdue, Jane Pettegree, and Harriet Archer

Co-sponsored with the University of St Andrews

The early modern period in Scotland was a time of extraordinary cultural ferment, creativity, and transformation. This symposium will consider vital questions of Scotland’s history and culture from the late fifteenth century through the unions of the crowns (1603) and parliaments (1707), regarding both Scotland’s relationship with England and its place in relation to Europe and the European Renaissance. How did Scotland negotiate its own complex heritage – its distinctive history, languages, and political institutions – in an era when it was assuming greater prominence on the European stage? The symposium will explore how far issues and themes that have dominated the wider field of early modern studies in recent years are applicable to Scotland. These include: the nature and extent of political power; constructions of nation, identity, race, and gender in early modern society; the social performance of these identities through the spoken word, drama, and music; the transition from manuscript to print; the presence and force of the classics and classical literature; the status of the vernacular as a literary language; and notions of periodization.

Organizers: Dr Margaret Connolly is Senior Lecturer in English and History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies. Professor Rhiannon Purdie is Professor of English and Older Scots at the University of St Andrews. She is the Editorial Secretary for the Scottish Text Society and a trustee of the Scottish Medievalists. Dr Jane Pettegree is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews School of English, and Associate Lecturer at the University of St Andrews Music Centre. Dr Harriet Archer is Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature at the University of St Andrews.

Anticipated Schedule: Friday through Sunday, 6–8 May 2022 at the University of St Andrews. 


Introduction to English Paleography (weeklong intensive skills course)

Directed by Heather Wolfe

Co-sponsored with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Working from digitized and physical manuscripts, up to fifteen participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. In conjunction with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies’ Renaissance of the Earth research program, the workshop will include estate accounts, annotated almanacs, and household inventories that showcase how early moderns were practically and imaginatively transforming the earth. Recipe books, personal correspondence, and poetry miscellanies will also be drawn from the Folger collection. Participants will experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper); learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms; and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. All transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian of Audience Development at the Folger Shakespeare Library, co-director of the multi-year research project Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, and principal investigator of Early Modern Manuscripts Online. Author of numerous articles on early modern manuscripts, Dr. Wolfe has edited The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 16131680 (2007), The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 (2007), Letterwriting in Renaissance England (2004) (with Alan Stewart), and Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001). Her current research explores the social circulation of writing paper and blank books and Shakespeare’s coat of arms.

Anticipated Schedule: Monday through Friday, 23–27 May 2022 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Historicizing Heritage (weekend workshop)

Organized by Carolyn Dinshaw and Christine Hoffmann

Co-sponsored with West Virginia University

How are familial, ethnic, and regional heritages constructed, and what affects and politics are mobilized in the processes? What do historical narratives and reenactments – be they factual, counterfactual, utopian, or all three – allow individuals and communities to reveal, desire, perpetuate, or protest? Participants in this weekend workshop will consider some effects of historicism by exploring public, performative, and literary examples of heritage-making from both modern and premodern sources. Those traveling to Morgantown, West Virginia will be well situated to consider the ardor for, and pursue alternatives to, heritages conceived as purity, insularity, or sanctification of an antiquity that never existed. Reductive or fanciful characterizations of Appalachia often equate it with an antiquated, even premodern, past. The state of West Virginia, like the Appalachian region it centers, is a frequent site of discourses of heritage that promote both solidarity and isolationism, both innovation and obsolescence. While gathered in this contact zone of contradictory legacies, workshop participants will contribute to an open-access, multidisciplinary “How to do things with heritage” syllabus, and session leaders will share and encourage research on the ways primary source material can be enfolded into heritage-making.

Organizers: Carolyn Dinshaw is Julius Silver Professor of English and Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her research and teaching have always engaged the issue of relationships between past and present. In How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time (2012), she touches on humans’ affective bonds with land and landscapes; her current research further pursues imaginary places and mirages. Christine Hoffmann is an Associate Professor of English at West Virginia University, where she writes and teaches about shared epistemologies between twenty-first-century social media and early modern humanist philosophy. She is the author of Stupid Humanism: Folly as Competence in Early Modern and Twenty-first-Century Culture (2017) as well as several essays on the uses and abuses of humanist practice for the fashioning of selves and societies.

Anticipated Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday, 26–28 May 2022 at West Virginia University. 


Making Meaning: Hands-on Basic Paleography and Book Production (weeklong intensive skills course)
Directed by Margaret J.M. Ezell and Kevin M. O’Sullivan, with Heather Wolfe

Co-sponsored with Texas A&M University

Integrating traditional seminar-based discussion with experiential inquiry, this course will investigate the physical means of knowledge production during the early modern period. Daily lab sessions concentrating on historical book production will include hands-on exercises in allied trades such as typecasting, papermaking, ink-making, typesetting, and hand-press printing. In addition to this print-oriented praxis, participants will also experience manuscript production through experimentation with contemporary writing materials such as goose quills and iron gall ink as part of their paleography work. Throughout the week, guided discussions of assigned theoretical readings will synthesize issues raised by the hands-on practice within a wider theoretical framework on media intersections. The course will seek to demonstrate the ways technologies of textual production drove meaning-making in the early modern period and foster an understanding of the rich interrelations between the manuscript tradition and renaissance printing. Equipped with these skills, participants will be able not only to read and analyze the texts, but to locate their place in the larger context of early modern written culture.

Directors: Margaret J.M. Ezell is Distinguished Professor of English and the John and Sara H. Lindsey Chair of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. In her most recent work, the Oxford English Literary History, Volume V: 16451714, the Later Seventeenth Century, she offers an alternative model of literary history exploring how oral traditions, handwritten manuscript practices, and print media intersected and influenced each other. Kevin M. O’Sullivan is Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts for the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives at Texas A&M University, where he also serves as the Director of the Book History Workshop. He is a founding partner of the 3Dhotbed Project, a collaborative digital humanities effort that seeks to enhance book history instruction through 3D technologies. They will be joined by Heather Wolfe (Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian of Audience Development at the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Anticipated Schedule: Monday through Friday, 11–15 July 2022 at Texas A&M University.