Glossary of Folger Institute program formats

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Each year, the Folger Institute typically offers a variety of scholarly programs with different formats—the list below explains what is meant by the various terms:

Colloquium
A dozen to fourteen scholars meet monthly in the afternoon or early evening over the course of an academic year. Director sets expansive topics and frames discussion with core readings. Most sessions focus directly on participants’ pre-circulated works-in-progress.
Conference
Scores of scholars meet over two or three days. No concurrent sessions. Invited speakers deliver papers followed by question-and-answer sessions. Open to all interested scholars by registration; non-consortium scholars should look for announcements of external funding that makes at-large travel and lodging grants available by application.
Occasional Lecture
Open to all; no registration necessary. Shakespeare’s Annual Birthday Lectures feature a paper presented by an invited scholar for the general public.
Paleography Skills Course
Meets weekly for ten sessions over the course of a semester, intensively for one week, or intensively for one month (with external support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). Semester-length course is limited to eight participants. Participants learn how to decipher early modern handwriting. No prior experience is necessary for introductory course, but students should articulate relevant research interests in application’s research statement.
Semester-Length Seminar
Generally meet weekly for ten sessions over the course of a semester. Features regular, formal meetings, a syllabus, and discussions of assigned readings. Similar to a graduate-student seminar, but both faculty and graduate students are welcome to apply. Gathers faculty and graduate student participants with relevant research projects for sustained investigation of the designated topic. Participants may have the opportunity to present their own work. Generally limited to twelve participants.
Dissertation Seminar
Meets monthly over the course of an academic year for a total of eight sessions. Designed for doctoral candidates actively writing their dissertations on early modern topics in literature or history. Co-directors introduce candidates to scholarly resources, help them to develop advanced research skills, and welcome them into the Folger scholarly community.
Late-Spring Seminar
Meets for two afternoons per week over five weeks in May and June. Otherwise much like semester-length seminars (see above), with a director guiding discussion of a particular topic and faculty and graduate-student participants bringing individual research projects to bear on discussion.
M.A. Seminar
Meets weekly for ten sessions over the course of a semester. Gathers Master’s-degree candidates for a semester-length introduction to archival research skills under a director’s guidance. In recent years, this has been superseded by the Folger Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas described below.
Folger Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas
A weeklong skills course intended for students in the early years of graduate work to help them pose and sharpen research questions in the midst of an exploration of the Folger's collection.
Weekend Seminar
Often limited to faculty only. Convenes over a Friday and Saturday for fourteen-to-sixteen participants to introduce and situate their advanced projects on a designated topic and receive feedback from colleagues.
Symposium
Rather than present papers, a dozen to sixteen invited speakers pose provocative questions on a designated topic to open extended conversations. Several dozen participants may be admitted.
Weekend Workshop
Several dozen participants gather for a day-long conversation on a particular topic, historical event, or category of materials.