A Conversation with Dr. Pamela Allen Brown

Today’s post is from a Zoom chat on September 21st, 2022 with Dr. Pamela Allen Brown, Professor of English, who discusses her previous and most recent work and shares her thoughts on what might come next. 

For some introductory information, can you tell me a bit about your background—academic and otherwise? Where are you from? Where else have you taught, researched, et cetera?

I was a Cold War-era military brat. My father was an Air Force officer and missile engineer, my mom an ex-intelligence officer. I was born in Cape Canaveral, before it became Cape Kennedy. We moved around a lot. I lived on bases in Germany, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, California, all before sixth grade. And then we settled in Maryland. I’m pretty mobile, I would say, having lived for periods in Turkey, Italy, and the UK as well, but I’m a New Yorker now. I’ve lived in New York off and on since 1976. I lived in Manhattan and moved to Brooklyn many years ago. I’ve been in Brooklynite for a long time, and I live in Fort Greene right now.

This is my second career. There’s quite a number of us in the department who are second-career people. After college and then a period of wandering and working some very odd jobs, I eventually became a magazine editor in New York. I was in journalism for a dozen years, most of them as a senior editor at American Lawyer. This wasn’t your average trade publication, but a muckraking investigative journal at first; it was always an incubator for a lot of writer-editors who went on to places like the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, Reuters, and The New York Times. I also reported, but I was mostly a mentor of writers, and I was known for being the writerly one with a literary bent.

I had no legal background at all, and no interest in becoming a lawyer; and after working for some years I realized I’d had enough of journalism. When I made the decision to try for grad school in literature, I was thirty-eight. Getting into a top program at thirty-eight is a very unusual thing. And Columbia was welcoming, for a brief shining moment in the early 1990s. A couple of professors (including Jean Howard, who became my mentor) pressed the English Department to admit non-traditional students like me. Jean is a feminist materialist scholar and a well-known leader in the field of early modern gender studies.  With her support, I got through and even won a distinction on my defense, which I did not expect. At Columbia at that time, the graduate admission policy was notorious: They admitted fifty master’s students, put them to work teaching writing, and then winnowed it down to twenty in the Ph.D. program, so thirty were cannon fodder. This is what we all knew. There was terrible competition, and you knew your closest friend in the MA program might be gone next year. That was very tense, and I had left a good job in journalism to go to grad school. If it didn’t work out. I knew I could have gone back to journalism, but I would be saddled with massive debt. Some people were funded, some weren’t, and I wasn’t.

It was a big risk, so even before I applied to Columbia, I spent a year as an adjunct to find out if I had any aptitude for teaching, while still working full time as a journalist. At 7:30 in the morning I taught in the remedial writing program at CUNY LaGuardia. The students had all failed out twice, and they had one more shot to stay in college. I thought, if I can get through this, then I will stick with the idea of going to grad graduate school. And I found it to be this really difficult, heart-rending because I had students who would say, “I couldn’t do my paper because my friend was shot yesterday.” I actually got some through, and they were able to stay in college. I was a novice, but I poured a lot of effort into it. I thought, this is really much more useful and fulfilling than editing, so I stayed in.

Columbia was very demanding for me: I hadn’t done academic work in many years. People were much younger, and much better trained in theory and academic discourse, but I had a strong imagination and an ability to meet deadlines. So I made it to the next phase.

Can you tell us about your previous work, particularly your book that came out earlier this year?

My dissertation became my first book. I planned it that way because I knew—with being older—I really needed something very strong, and I needed it right away. It was accepted and published in maybe the fourth year that I came to UConn. When I came up with the idea, I had been arguing with another graduate student. I have always been interested in satire and comedy, and I was taking an eighteenth-century satire course from Michael Seidel. We were arguing because the other student said women couldn’t be satirists: “It’s just not possible.” He was restricting satire to what he judged as canonical, that is eighteenth-century Augustan satire—Swift, Johnson. He just thought that is the only kind of satire there is. This is 1993 perhaps. I started arguing with him that satire could be popular. Satire doesn’t have to be written or literary/poetic. Obviously, there is satiric prose as well, but I was saying that you could even tell a joke and be satiric, and he was saying, “No, no, no, no, no.” There could be satiric songs, and they could be against men. And he said, “No, there is no anti-masculine satire because satire is always attacking from a position of power, and that’s why the male satirist is such a crucial figure. There are no women satirists.” We got pretty heated, but when I was arguing with him, it gave me the grit in the oyster that led to my book.

I started gathering anti-masculinist jest and humor, and I found a lot in plays. I found a lot in early jest books, the jest books became my archive, and that led to Better a Shrew than a Sheep. I got a grant to do research at the Huntington Library in California, and that was crucial. I basically transcribed or pulled out the meat from forty different jest books. Then I was able to correlate them and correspond them to scenes and moments in drama and also to the lived experiences of non-elite women. That became my dissertation, and I had several publishers interested. Cornell published it. It was Jean’s advice at every turn that got me going.

In the course of doing the book, I came across something a footnote in a piece by Phyllis Rackin, saying that foreign actresses may have influenced Shakespeare. She was citing Frances Barasch, who had done two articles on the famous Italian actresses. I read those, and I kept thinking about the charisma and talent of the first divas. Then I started finding and putting stuff in a pile, and then it became an article and then a book idea. This was 2003, and it’s twenty years later, right? I never thought it would take almost two decades from the initial idea. Progress was slowed down by my work on another project, a teaching edition of As You Like It, which I co-wrote with Jean Howard. But I really didn’t know how difficult it would be to do a cross-channel topic on the Italian divas, and really get Shakespeareans to listen, not to mention the readers for Oxford who sent me pages and pages of questions. I worked hard to make sure that it penetrated the anglocentrism of Shakespeare scholarship, and broke through institutional resistance to the idea that foreign artistry — by women players no less — influenced the all-male stage of Shakespeare, Webster, and Marlowe. I realized I had to build up my evidence to such a depth that it was unignorable, and I had to create a persuasive method for assessing the impact of female performers on playmaking across borders, extending from Italy, France, and Spain to remote England. I wanted to write it in such a way that reviewers weren’t put off by a huge mass of Italian plays, so I leaned on a varied archive of performance texts, including letters, poems, and accounts of actress acting, in Italian and French. This meant I had to do a lot of translating.

Speaking of divas on the stage and translating Italian, that segues into the bilingual edition of Lovers’ Debates for the Stage. You’re attending a conference with a special presentation on this in Chicago next week [the week of September 25th], correct?

Right. I have two co-editors: Julie Campbell and Eric Nicholson, and we worked on this for ten years. Julie and Eric are Italianists, so I’m the outsider. It came about because I talked to Eric, and then we brought in Julie, because I was translating so much for Diva’s Gift, and Isabella Andreini is the most-published Italian diva. There are a lot of Italian scholars and some English-language scholars who write articles and books on Andreini, so there’s a market for it. It’s also that this particular posthumous publication that her husband put together, who was her playing partner, is from both memory and documents that he compiled from their life together of lovers’ contrasti, or amorous debates. This was well known in that small world of Andreini people and commedia dell’arte people. Many had said that this should be translated, because it’s the only document that shows the arte Lovers’ techniques and what they talked about and how they spun out these dialogues on different topoi. It’s an important document for theater history. There’s nothing like it. We decided to call it Lovers’ Debates.

Julie is an organizer of the conference in Chicago, called Attending to Premodern Women, and this year’s theme is Performance. It perfectly slotted in with the launch of our book that just came out this fall. And about six months ago, a director got involved who is from The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. We are just so incredibly excited because they are memorizing and rehearsing a few dialogues we’ve translated, starring Isabella and Francesco. I feel honored and thrilled, and I can’t predict what they’re going to do, because there are two lovers in each debate. We have Cleopatra and Palamede, or we have Artemisia and Dioneo — thirty-one different pairs of famous men and women who weren’t necessarily paired in their histories. That makes the debates a kind of intellectual guessing game. In addition, instead of just having one Isabella and one Francesco, we’re having two Isabella actresses and two Francesco actors. To make it even more diva-like, one Isabella is also going to play a male role, because she often cross-dressed in the stage vehicles she wrote herself.

What are some of your current ideas or projects that you might like to share?

I’m working on a couple of talks about the racialized performances of the diva, who played a wide variety of roles, including African queens, gypsies, Arab astrologers, Turkish castaways, and cross-dressed Moors. In terms of creative writing, I have a poetry reading coming up with a collective called Treehouse, which formed during the shutdown to write together.  In the past I have published only poetry, not prose, but right now I’m sketching my ideas for personal essays that try for the meandering eccentric freedom of Montaigne. Each would take up my own obsessions—a perception that you’ve mulled it over for so long that it would be easy to write. I realized I have a half dozen essays in mind, that I could just write without footnotes, without all that building of an argument in a more academic way.  One is about women looking into mirrors in novels: I can’t start a book without coming across it; why is it always there?  Another is my theory that often one animal or human in a film serves as moral center, arbiter of the good and true, often mutely, a role I call “the movie dog.” I also want to write about why women rush to clean up messes they don’t make, as if guilty of what I dub “the female stain.”

Do you have any writing tips for graduate students, especially on picking a project to pursue? How do you know when to pick up a project or when to set one aside?

You’ll need to find something that will sustain your interest over years, but you also need to face the indifferent reader and her fatal question, “So what?” Every field needs shaking up; you need an argument that will alter it for the better and be useful in a wider sense than getting the diss done. What do you care about and why should others care too?  Make sure your central question reaches well beyond anything you can write about it in one book. In other words, don’t stop until you know it’s a big idea, then can cut off a doable part of it. The issue is when you have something and you think is big enough, but it isn’t. I would say that’s the real issue.


Q&A with Dr. Gregory Kneidel

Today’s post is a Q&A with Dr. Gregory Kneidel, Professor of English, who discusses his recent work with the Variorum edition of the poetry of John Donne. 

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from, and how did you get to UConn?

I grew up in Wichita and went to school in San Antonio and Chicago, then taught for a couple years in Fort Worth before coming to UConn-Hartford in 2001. So a pretty Midwestern background, though of course Texas is just Texas.

  1. Can you tell us about your previous projects?

I wrote a book about Protestant poetics from Spenser to Milton and then a book about John Donne’s verse satires and the English legal tradition (which are more connected in my mind than they seem at first glance). After those two monographs, I got involved in a very different kind of project: I spent about seven years doing textual work for the Donne Variorum, a multi-generational project that started about 30 years ago, won nine NEH grants (I was involved in the last two), and will be officially finished when the final two volumes, containing Donne’s Songs and Sonets, are published this Fall. As Associate General Editor and Principal Textual Editor for the final four volumes, I generated about eight hundred total pages of textual analysis derived from over a thousand individual witnesses in over two hundred early modern manuscripts – honestly, it looks rather more like DNA sequencing than literary criticism. It was all produced in collaboration with a group of scholars from around the world (for years we met twice weekly on Skype and shared documents in Dropbox, which turned out to be good practice for pandemic pedagogy).

  1. What are your current projects?

Even though the Variorum is complete, interesting new textual problems concerning Donne’s poetry will no doubt continue to appear: for example, back in 2018 a manuscript was found with a very large Donne collection (the Melford Hall manuscript, now at the British Library). It became publicly available just this summer, so now I’m trying to figure out how it fits within the known Donne manuscript universe (incidentally, I think it might have emendations in Donne’s hand).

The Variorum also generated a lot of data. Its digital component, DigitalDonne, overlaps slightly with the two other key digital resources for studying early modern manuscript poetry, Peter Beal’s The Catalog of English Literary Manuscripts and the Folger’s Union First Line Index. The data on these three sites are structured differently, but I managed to reconcile them enough so that I’ve got a spread sheet with the bibliographical details of 41,753 individual manuscript copies of early modern poems. I’d like to find a way to visualize them, to do for early modern manuscript poetry what Tudor Networks does for sixteenth-century letters or The Viral Texts Project does for nineteenth-century newspaper articles. Before Covid, a colleague and I were scheduled to attend a couple Digital Humanities conferences in order to shop this data around to people with stronger DH skills. Hopefully we can relaunch once we are allowed to travel again. Next spring the Folger is running a seminar on “Digital Projects as Early Modern Research Objects” and it may be interesting to think about DD, CELM, and UFFI as research objects in their own right.

Finally, it’s more of a pedagogical project, but UConn’s lovely new campus in Hartford is right across the street from the Wadsworth Atheneum (I brag to my friends that I have a very short “office to Picasso” commute). I try to take my classes there at least once or twice a semester, so I’d like to develop a more specialized class on literature and museum culture.

  1. What sparked your interest in pursuing your current project?

Well, I got very involved with the John Donne Society and that’s how I got recruited into the Variorum project once many of the original researchers involved with it started to retire. It has been important for me to have a core group of supportive colleagues and a defined research agenda (a crew and an archive, as it were). I didn’t know I’d be studying early modern manuscript poetry ten years ago, but a lot of it is just getting to work with people that you like.

  1. What are your other interests?

I ride my bicycle a lot and chaperone my dogs around our neighborhood. I sit in the East Stands at Hartford Athletic matches (and probably watch too much European football, but at least I don’t have to stay up late). But more than anything I like to travel with my wife and eat spicy food and stare at art.


Check out the final volume of the Donne Variorum here!

Q&A with Dr. Kaveh Yazdani

Today’s Post is a Q&A with a new member of the EMSWG. Dr. Kaveh Yazdani is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History. 

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your background (academic and otherwise)? Where are you from? Where else have you taught, researched, etc?

I was born in Tehran (Iran) and raised in Paris and Berlin. I studied history and philosophy at the Humboldt and Free Universities in Berlin, Germany. During my MA I got an Erasmus grant and went to Granada (Spain) as an exchange student for a year. I received my Master’s degree from Humboldt University in 2008 and a Ph.D degree from the University of Osnabrueck in 2014. For my dissertation, which focused on pre-colonial India, I conducted research in several Indian archives (i.e. in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai) for about six months between 2012 and 2013 and also spent several months doing research in Paris, London and Halle. In 2015, I obtained a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam. In late 2015, I was granted a 2-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2017, I was a Visiting Residential Fellow at the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study (UK). Between 2017 and 2020 I became a faculty member at the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and taught courses in economic and social history. In 2020, I was also Visiting Professor in Global Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna (Austria).


  1. Can you tell us about your previous works/projects?

In both my Master’s and doctoral theses, I grappled with the “great divergence” debate. I tried to find out why the Industrial Revolution took off in England and not in India. To be more precise, I enquired into the question why two of the most dynamic regions of 17th and 18th century South Asia, i.e. Gujarat (in northwestern India) and Mysore (in southern India), did not industrialize first, how “modern” they were in comparison to advanced parts of Europe and I further examined the impact of early colonial rule in India. The monograph was published by Brill in 2017 and is titled India, Modernity and the Great Divergence. Mysore and Gujarat (17th to 19th C.). In 2020, my former supervisor in Johannesburg and now friend Prof. Dilip Menon and I published an edited volume titled Capitalisms: Towards a Global History with Oxford University Press.


  1. What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a revised version of my first book that will be published with Primus Books in India. Unfortunately, the first edition of my book that was published by Brill costs $246 and is obviously inaccessible to most people. The new edition will hopefully allow a larger number of interested readers to purchase the book. Apart from that, I’m working on a monograph with my esteemed mentor Nasser Mohajer on the socio-economic relationships and connections between the Zoroastrians of Persia and Parsis of India between the 17th and early 20th centuries. I’m also working on a number of papers related to conceptual history, namely a Begriffsgeschichte/historical semantics of the terms capital, capitalist and capitalism as well as discourses on free and unfree labor between the 17th and early 20th centuries.


  1. What sparked your interest in pursuing your current project?

The book project on the Zoroastrians emanated from my interest in the spectacular rise of the Parsi community in India as the subcontinent’s leading 19th century capitalists and modernizers and a dearth of work on the socio-economic relationships between the Parsis and their coreligionists in Persia. My interest in capitalism goes back to when I still was a teenager and has a lot to do with my fascination with questions related to the multifaceted reasons behind inequality, asymmetrical global power relations and the underlying historical dimensions of the modern world. 


  1. What are your other interests? (As a scholar or otherwise—everyday preoccupations, hobbies, grand ambitions, etc.?) Do these other interests inform your research in some way and, if so, how?

I’m very much interested in theories of modernity and the periodization of global history in a longue durée perspective. I’m also closely following publications in the fields of Indian Ocean studies, comparisons and entanglements between the Mughals, Ottomans and Safavids as well as global labor history, especially works on labor relations that span from slavery to wage labor. Last but not least, I’m intrigued by works on the Persianate world spanning from East Africa to Northwestern China. I do have a number of diversions but, unfortunately, due to time constraints, I often only have enough time to follow the news and feuilleton, talk to my loved ones, watch movies or listen to music once in a while. Indeed, the sidelines I pursue help me to better understand the present continuities and ruptures of the historical processes that I study. But more importantly, along with the privilege of being able to visit new places in the course of doing research in archives or giving lectures and meeting new people, they give me strength, help me to get out of my bubble and connect to the world that I live in.

Q&A with Dr. Santiago Muñoz-Arbeláez

Today’s Post is a Q&A with a new member of the EMSWG. Dr. Santiago Muñoz-Arbeláez  is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History and the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages. 

1. Can you tell us a bit about your background (academic and otherwise)? Where are you from? Where else have you taught, researched, etc?

I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. I went to college at Los Andes University in Bogotá, where I majored in history and minored in Geography and Anthropology. The department of History at Los Andes is a true gem. There I had the chance to learn from a diverse and innovative faculty in areas like environmental history, the history of science, and colonial and modern Latin America. I cultivated an interest in indigenous history and the early modern Spanish empire, which has continued to guide my work.

In 2011, I moved to New Haven, CT, to work on my Ph.D. in History, which I took from Yale University in 2018. I was strongly influenced by the faculty in the History Department in areas like Latin American, Atlantic, Native American, Borderlands, and Early Modern History, but also by the incredible Agrarian Studies program led by James C. Scott. In 2017, I began a position as Assistant Professor of History at Los Andes University, where I taught for three years before coming to UConn.

As a student of the Spanish empire in South America, my research has taken me to archives and research libraries in Spain, the United Kingdom, Colombia, and the United States.

2. Can you tell us about your previous works/projects?

My research to date has examined how the indigenous peoples of South America engaged in the creation and contestation of the Spanish empire in South America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. My first book, published in Spanish under the title Costumbres en disputa: los Muiscas y el imperio español en Ubaque, siglo XVI, revisits the encomienda as a global, transcultural institution that took shape in the daily encounters between Indigenous peoples (in this case the Muisca  of the northern Andes) and the Spanish settlers in the 16th century.

I have also published widely on the history of Colombia’s map, from the earliest Indigenous and European depictions of the New World to the early 20th century.

3. What are your current projects?

I am currently at work converting my dissertation into a book. This project is a history of the making of a centralized polity, an entity of imperial governance termed the “New Kingdom of Granada”, amidst the diverse ethnic groups and landscapes of northern South America (present-day Colombia). At the time of the conquest, this area was composed of a patchwork of very different groups and landscapes with no cultural or political unity. In my research I ask how the Spanish imperial state sought to extend its rule upon the mountainous landscapes of the New Kingdom of Granada and convert the diverse Indian groups into catholic, tribute-paying vassals from the Spanish invasion in 1530s to 1650.

I also have several ongoing projects in public history and digital humanities. In 2015, I cofounded Neogranadina—a Colombian non-profit organization devoted to making digitization and digital tools available to local archives and community groups in Latin America. In 2021, I will launch Colonial Landscapes: Redrawing Andean Territories in the 17th Century—a digital history project that explores the transformation of indigenous homelands into colonial landscapes through the analysis of a 17th-century painting of the Bogota savannah.

I am looking forward to collaborating with students and faculty at UConn in areas like: Native American and Indigenous history; early modern history; the history of books, maps, and textual artifacts; agrarian and environmental history; and digital and public history.

4. What sparked your interest in pursuing your current project?

I believe that revisiting the history of early modern empires (and the modern world) from the point of view of Native American peoples is essential to our current world. And the new voices and stories that emerge must be narrated in formats that are available to different audiences. This conviction has motivated my current projects and those I envision for the future.

5. What are your other interests? (As a scholar or otherwise—everyday preoccupations, hobbies, grand ambitions, etc.?) Do these other interests inform your research in some way and, if so, how?

I am a very committed rock climber. Though right now my greatest ambition is to be able to actually arrive in Storrs, CT—a seemingly simple task that has proven unachievable in the pandemic world. (While I formally began my position as Assistant Professor of History and Spanish in January 2020, I am teaching virtually from Tenjo, a rural area in the outskirts of Bogotá.)

Works in Progress Writing Group: Réme Bohlin

Réme Bohlin


Last semester, in the fall of 2020, I had the opportunity to share an early draft of my dissertation chapter with the Works in Progress Writing Group. The chapter, “The Rhetoric of Ownership in Shakespeare Pedagogy,” is the second chapter in my dissertation which focuses on approaches to teaching Shakespeare. 

In “The Rhetoric of Ownership in Shakespeare Pedagogy,” I take as a point of departure Ayanna Thompson and Laura Turchi’s observation that “the rhetoric of ownership is ubiquitous in rationales for the teaching of Shakespeare.”1 I analyze the frequent use of this rhetoric in Shakespeare pedagogy, and ultimately offer a critique. I argue that the rhetoric of ownership often stands as an ambiguous and rarely defined  learning objective. What does it mean to “own” Shakespeare? The rhetoric of ownership also, I argue, perpetuates problematic arguments about Shakespeare’s so-called universality.   

We had  productive discussion in the Works in Progress Writing Group. We talked about the ways that the rhetoric of ownership seems to cross political boundaries, with both liberal and conservative commentators asserting that students should “own” Shakespeare; we noted the unique use of the rhetoric of ownership with Shakespeare (are students asked to “own” Donne, or Milton, or Beaumont and Fletcher?); and finally we discussed other ways to rhetorically acknowledge or encourage student agency in the study of Shakespeare.

I am grateful to the Works in Progress Writing Group for hosting me, and to the faculty and graduate students who thoughtfully read and responded to my work.    


1. Thompson, Ayanna, and Laura Turchi. Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centered Approach. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2016, 55.

Upcoming Events: Talk by Professor James Rice, “‘Early Modern’ and ‘Indigenous’ Histories”

The Early Modern Studies Working Group has a few exciting events in the next few weeks.

On March 7th, we are please to announce that Professor James Rice will be giving a talk titled “‘Early Modern’ and ‘Indigenous’ Histories.” The talk begins at 1pm and will be preceded by a lunch at 12:15. The talk will explore the intertwining questions of periodization, theories of historical causation, and identity. The ways in which scholars have traditionally periodized the ‘Early Modern’ match up with certain important turning points in Native American history, and that’s not a coincidence. Yet any attempt at marking the beginning and end dates of the Early Modern also serves to elide important continuities in Indigenous histories – elisions with significant consequences for the politics of today.

Professor Rice is the chair at the Tufts History Department and the Walter S. Dickson Professor of English and American History. His major publications are Tales from a Revolution: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America (2012) and Nature and History in Potomac (2009). Currently, the Early Modern Cross Cultural Interactions Reading Group is reading Tales from a Revolution on Tuesday’s between 12-1 in the UCHI conference room. All are welcome to join.

On February 21st we will be holding our first transcribathon meeting in the UCHI conference room at 11am. As always, we will be transcribing John Ward’s diary along with a guest transcription. All are welcome.

Scandal and Murder in the Folger Archives

This post comes from the Early Modern Studies Working Group’s Co-Coordinator, Melissa Rohrer. Melissa is a PhD Candidate in the English Department.

In October of 2018, I visited the Folger Shakespeare Library with generous funding from the UConn Early Modern Studies Working Group and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. My dissertation investigates how playwrights of the early modern period adapted notorious true events for the stage—events such as true crimes and scandals. I already had access to the plays which adapted these events, so I my trip to the Folger was centered largely on learning more about how these events were understood, circulated, and commented upon, both at the time of their unfolding and in the centuries after they transpired. Continue reading

Announcing The Early Moderns Works in Progress Writing Group

The Early Modern Works in Progress Writing Group—part of the UCHI-sponsored Early Modern Working Group and Folger Consortium Committee—brings together faculty members and graduate students with interests in early modern / Renaissance literatures, art, and history.  Our purpose is to support and promote the research of Early Modern Community members by providing them an occasion to present work in progress and receive constructive feedback and criticism on that work.  We also seek to foster an intellectual, interdisciplinary community, particularly in the hopes of bringing together graduate students and faculty members from UConn’s main and satellite campuses.


The Group meets once or twice each semester at times announced in September and January respectively.  Presenters are chosen each semester by members of the subcommittee who solicit nominations from the community at large.  Presenters will typically be UConn faculty members and graduate dissertators working on any aspect of early modern / Renaissance cultures.


Presenters are expected to send their work in progress (no published or “accepted” essays will be workshopped) to the group committee chair no later than two weeks prior the scheduled event.  The chair will disseminate the essay to all group members, who will read the work in advance of the meeting.  On the day of the 90-minute workshop, community members will gather to discuss the essay in a lively, collegial conversational format—with the primary goal of helping the presenter to refine the essay for eventual publication submission.  Essays should be between 15 and 30 pages of double-spaced prose.


We hope to see you at our meetings!

Folger Research Report: “My Experience in the Folger Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas Skills Course, Summer 2019”

Kristen Vitale is one of the Early Modern Studies Working Group’s New Co-coordinators and received a travel grant last spring to conduct research at the Folger Library This past July I participated in the Folger Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas Skills Course. The Library hosted twenty-six scholars from around the world to develop “a set of research-oriented literacies,” navigate the archive, and enhance our understanding of early modern book history. I left the Folger with thorough knowledge of the promised objectives and so much more. I now have a better grasp on my intended thesis project, refined paleographic proficiency, and a range of research skills that will aid in developing my ever-looming dissertation. I also gained a number of professional and personal relationships which formed with such ease that I, along with many others, viewed our meetings as pure serendipity.

Continue reading