2004–2005 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

This article stub lists the programming of the Folger Institute for the 2004-2005 academic year. For more past programming, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

Religious Conflict and Toleration in the Early Modern World

A 2004 Fall Faculty Weekend Seminar, September 17–18 2004
The history of religious toleration has traditionally been written in intellectual and political terms, focusing on the ideas of pre-eminent thinkers who argued for toleration and the policy of governments toward religious dissenters. Recently, however, attention has shifted toward the social and cultural, as scholars have investigated how, in the wake of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, non-elites as well as elites experienced and responded to the new religious diversity of Europe and its colonies. This faculty weekend seminar will gather twelve-to-sixteen participants to explore how the members of Europe’s various religious groups—the competing Christian denominations in the first place, but also Christians, Jews, and Muslims—related to one another in the early modern era. How, in religiously mixed communities, did these groups negotiate their daily encounters? What kinds of arrangements and accommodations made peaceful coexistence possible in some places? Why did toleration prevail in some communities while others (or the same communities at different times) descended into sectarian violence? Such an investigation will necessarily examine religious conflict as well as toleration. Themes to be explored will be shaped by participants’ own research interests, but may include the rise—and limits—of confessional piety; the equation of civic and sacral community; the intersection of religion with national and ethnic identities; arrangements for worship, power-sharing, charity, education, and burial; boundary-formation and -violation; and patterns of integration versus segregation. The selection committee will seek a diversity of expertise in different geographic areas, including possibly the Ottoman Empire, opening a comparative perspective onto these issues.
Director: Benjamin Kaplan is Professor of Dutch History at University College London, with a joint appointment at the University of Amsterdam. His publications include Calvinists and Libertines: Confession and Community in Utrecht, 1578–1620 (1995). He is currently working on a book entitled Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe.

Culinary Cartographies: Food, Gender, and Race in the Early Modern Black Atlantic

A 2004 Fall Semester Seminar
The “Atlantic” has been a concern in early modern literary and cultural studies for some time now, but the vanishing point of most work on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England is England’s relation to its mainland colonies. This seminar changes the perspective on early modern English literature and history by privileging the heterogeneous traffic in goods, people, and ideas that constituted England’s contact with Africa and the West Indies. Focusing particularly on the circulation of foodstuffs in the seventeenth century, participants will investigate early modern England’s development of its Caribbean colonies, asking what ideas about cultural and racial differences circulated and were created in the interactions between Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and America? How did newly available commodities and their production influence England’s cultural imagination? With the production and consumptions of foodstuffs as the focus of discussion, the seminar will give sustained attention to women and gender, as well as highlight connections between households and the currents of trade flowing through the Atlantic. Food—simultaneously physical, aesthetic, political, and mercantile—will also allow the class to address a range of concerns: the development of racialized labor and slavery, the influence of ideologies of the “household,” the emergence of capitalism, colonial rivalry, conspicuous consumption, and the performance of status.
Director: Kim F. Hall is the Thomas F.X. Mullarkey Chair in Literature at Fordham University. She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (1995), among other works. Her Othello: Texts and Contexts is forthcoming. She is currently working on a book entitled Sweet Taste of Empire: Gender, Sugar, and Material Culture in the Seventeenth Century.

Emerging Ethnographies in Shakespeare's England

A 2004 Fall Semester Seminar
Although the cultural descriptions offered by early modern English writers were never systematic or scientific in the modern sense of ethnography, they nevertheless demonstrate English interest in the appearance, customs, politics and religion of peoples other than themselves. A broad range of texts including travelers’ accounts, promotional tracts, poems, and plays reflect English writers’ perceptions of non-English peoples. Recent studies have generally focused on one ethnic category—Jews, for instance, or Turks—or one area of the globe, such as the new world or Africa. Others have attempted to provide a theoretical framework for understanding early modern cultural description. By reassessing such works, and by examining a wide array of primary sources, this seminar, sponsored by the Center for Shakespeare Studies, will try to see the world as Shakespeare’s contemporaries saw it. Using Andrew Borde’s The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge, George Abbot’s A Briefe Description of the World, and John Speed’s The Theatre of Great Britain as touchstones, we will examine how cultural description changed during Shakespeare’s lifetime as England became more involved with overseas trade and travel. Additional readings will address a broad range of peoples—from America to Africa to India to the Ottoman Empire to Europe—in an attempt to tease out contradictions, conflations, and cross-fertilizations in England’s engagements with other cultures, elements that not only generated a discourse of ethnography but also contributed to the construction of an emerging English nationalism.
Director: Virginia Mason Vaughan is the Andrea B. and Peter D. Klein ’64 Distinguished Professor of English at Clark University and Director of the Higgins School of Humanities there. Her many publications on Shakespeare include Othello: A Contextual History (1994). Her most recent book, Performing Blackness on English Stages, 1500–1800, is forthcoming.
Renaissance Paleography in England
A 2004 Fall Semester Skills Course
This skills course is designed to provide an introduction to English handwriting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and to introduce participants to a wide range of documents of historical and literary interest from the manuscript collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library. These may include correspondence, literary works, accounts, inventories, wills, and deeds. Enrollment is limited to eight participants. Applicants are encouraged to describe the manuscript resources they are consulting in their own research, as participants will have an opportunity to discuss with the class the textual problems they are encountering in their work with Renaissance English manuscripts.
Director: Laetitia Yeandle is Curator Emeritus of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She coedited with Richard Dunn The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649 (1996) and edited the text of The Tractates for the Folger Library edition of The Works of Richard Hooker (1990). With Jean Preston, she coauthored Handwriting in England: 1400-1650 (1992) and with Giles E. Dawson, Elizabethan Handwriting, 1500-1650: A Manual (1966).

Rethinking Word and Image: History/Literary History/Art History

A 2004-2005 Year-long Colloquium
No discipline is an island entire of itself. In the study of early modern culture, historians, art historians, and literary critics cover interlocking sites but often with too little consciousness of each other. Among the territories necessarily claimed by all the disciplines is the relationship between word and image. Questions of the visual and the verbal loom significantly, whether the subject is rhetoric and figura, playtexts and theatrical performance, the classical tradition and its recovery, or perspective, portraiture, iconoclasm, or even the natures of political power, of law, and of language. In each case, scholarly investigations require skills and knowledge that cross traditional disciplines. This colloquium, intended for literary, historical, and art historical specialists in conversation with each other, places these concerns at the center of its attention. Meeting monthly throughout the academic year, participants will contribute their own work in progress as bases for group explorations of emergent and hitherto unforeseen connections between reading and seeing, painting and writing, or drawing and printing in writing from any discipline invested in the analysis of art, namely the literature, culture, and politics of the early modern world.
Director: Leonard Barkan is Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He is the author of the Unearthing the Past: Archeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (1999) among other works.
Director: Nigel Smith is Professor of English at Princeton University. He is the author of Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660(1994) and editor of the Longman edition of Marvell’s Poems (2003), among other works.

British Political Thought in History, Literature, and Theory

A 2005 Spring Conference, Thursday evening, Friday, and Saturday, March 31–April 2 2005
Sponsored by the Center for the History of British Political Thought to commemorate the first two decades of its methodical inquiries, this international conference will examine the work of the Center and identify new areas for future study. Scholars from history, political theory, and literature, the fields with which the Center has been most closely associated, will consider the ways in which the history of British political thought as practiced and developed by the Center have interacted with the multinational approach to British history, with the historical study of literature, and with the discipline of political theory.
Speakers will include: Nicholas Canny (National University of Ireland, Galway), Richard E. Flathman (The Johns Hopkins University), Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex), Jean E. Howard (Columbia University), Duncan Ivison (University of Toronto), Colin Kidd (University of Glasgow), Kirstie McClure (UCLA), John Morrill (University of Cambridge), Karen O'Brien (University of Warwick), Joanne Wright (Brock University), and Steven Zwicker (Washington University), with Quentin Skinner (University of Cambridge) as respondent.

In the Maelstrom of the Market: Women and the Birth of the European Market Economy

A 2005 Spring Faculty Weekend Seminar, all day Friday and Saturday, March 4–5 2005
In two days of intensive discussion, this faculty weekend seminar will examine structural changes affecting gender relations during the long period from 1300 to 1700. The seminar reposes Joan Kelly's famous question “Did women have a Renaissance?” by focusing on the explosion of market production and its role in disrupting traditional practices and representations of gender. A group of twelve to sixteen faculty members will contribute their own perspectives to a reassessment of such issues as: commercialization’s effect on the sexual division of labor and the new visibility of labor in discourses about trade and the economy; changes in marriage patterns and family forms, along with the attendant pressures on conjugality; shifting patterns of inheritance and marital property arrangements and their effects on women’s property rights; and material culture itself, proposing that, as things acquired new, more powerful meanings in this age, women’s attachments to things came under ruthless cultural and legal scrutiny.
Director: Martha Howell is Miriam Champion Professor of History at Columbia University. She is the author of The Marriage Exchange: Property, Social Place, and Gender in Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1500 (1998), Women, Production, and Patriarchy in Late Medieval Cities (1986), and coauthor with Walter Prevenier of From Reliable Sources: an Introduction to Historical Methods (2002).

Early Modern Books and Readers

A 2005 Spring Semester Masters’ Seminar
Designed to acquaint Masters’-level students with archival research at the Folger Library, this seminar will focus on the material forms of texts produced and read in England between 1475 and 1700. Drawing on examples from the Folger’s rich collections, participants will study the variety of manuscripts and track the development of printed books during this period. A central preoccupation of the course will be the evidence in early modern books about the production, circulation, consumption, and interpretation of texts. The class will examine the nature of this evidence and its role in contemporary critical and historicist scholarly practice. Attention to emerging notions of authorship, widening circles of literacy, and continuities between print and manuscript culture will further organize class discussions. Classwork will introduce participants to paleography and bibliographical description, while readings in literary theory and editorial practice will frame discussions. An introduction to traditional and electronic tools for archival research will include an examination of the ways in which these systems limit research questions and answers. Students will undertake research projects using primary materials at the Library and discuss their findings as well as their interpretations with fellow participants.
Director: Heidi Brayman Hackel is Assistant Professor of English at Oregon State University, and the author of Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy (forthcoming 2004) as well as several articles on early modern readers, literacy, and libraries.

Ballads, Broadsides, and Eighteenth-Century Culture

A 2005 Spring Semester Seminar
Ballads and broadsides constitute the literature of the people—from the often illiterate old women who hawked them in the streets to the ordinary laborers who tacked them on the walls of their cottages as decor and as aides memoire. Sung by minstrels, peddlers, and ordinary people in their domestic lives, these songs gave literary expression to everyday experience. They recorded popular reactions to current and historical events, were a common entertainment, and provided a rudimentary source of reading material. Drawing on the collections of the Folger and the Library of Congress, the seminar will examine the late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century impulse to collect the oral literature of ballads—or the liminal literature of printed broadsides—as the impulse of an increasingly literate society with an antiquarian interest in its past. Participants will study ballads and folk songs for their literary qualities, their historicity, and their evidence of social and political attitudes, and the work of collectors for evidence of their special interests. Literary historians interested in reconstructing the interface of oral and print culture, political historians interested in gauging popular reactions to public events, historical sociologists trying to find materials that reflect laboring-class positions, musicologists tracing melodies, and folklorists interested in the history of their field—all are welcome.
Director: Ruth Perry is Professor of Literature at MIT and a past President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She has written widely on eighteenth-century English literature and culture. Her most recent book, Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748-1818, is forthcoming.

Technologies of Writing

A 2005 Spring Semester Seminar
"Technologies of Writing" will explore the variety of writing surfaces (parchment, paper, wax), implements (quills, fountain pens, styluses, pencils), material formats (sheets, scrolls, tablets, codices) and writing techniques (including stenography and ciphers) that were used in early modern England, Europe, and America. Participants will look at the implications of these different technologies and the various purposes to which they were put, from forming the letters of the alphabet, to book-keeping, to collecting commonplaces, to writing poetry. At the same time, the seminar will examine the complex relations between reading and writing. Although reading and writing were usually taught as distinct practices, reading was for many purposes the precondition to learning not only how to write but also what to write. The seminar will pay particular attention to interrelations between the oral transmission of written texts and written transcriptions of the spoken word, to the exchanges among manuscripts and printed books, and to the variety of note-taking practices. While drawing widely upon the Folger's rich collection of manuscripts and printed books, the seminar will specifically examine the role that writing plays in the Bible, primers, letters, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Pepys's Diary, and Franklin's Autobiography.
Director: Peter Stallybrass is the Walter H. and Lenore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is coauthor, with Ann Rosalind Jones, of Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (2000).
Roger Chartier is the Annenberg Visiting Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and Directeur d’Etudes at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Singly and collaboratively, he is the author of numerous works, including The Order of Books (English, 1994).

Reformation Transformations of Visual Culture

A 2005 Late Spring Seminar
Recent scholarship has complicated our ideas of what constituted the "iconic" in post-Reformation England—the "image-mongering" of Catholics may have been as much a Protestant invention as a reality, and certainly it could be argued that Protestants turned the idea of The Word into an icon itself. Gathering participants from the fields of history, religion, art history, literature, and cultural studies, this five-week seminar reopens inquiries into the nature of the Protestant reformations and their impacts on visual cultures in England. The seminar will begin by assessing the actual nature and depth of the hostility to or discomfort with visual representation in Protestant theological texts. Participants will observe the transformations of visual and representational culture, reading closely the theatrical, religious, and cultural literatures, and studying the iconoclastic campaigns through the more purely visual media: paintings, monumental and funerary statuary, and graphic design in books both secular and sacred. The seminar’s brief will be to map what are undeniable changes in visual culture over two centuries and to ascertain what aspect of these can be attributed to theological teachings and which to broader issues of early modern social change: early modern governmental innovations in finance and censorship, the rise of religious sectarianism, the advent of print, the rapid development of the sciences, or the financial restructuring of gentry and aristocratic classes.
Director: Lori Anne Ferrell is Professor of Reformation and Early Modern Studies at Claremont Graduate University and the Claremont School of Theology. She is the author of Government by Polemic (1996) and co-editor of The English Sermon Revised (1999) and is currently working on Graspable Art: Secular Teaching and the Protestant Imagination, 1580-1630.

Garrick and Theatrical Death

The Annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture, Monday, April 25, 2005
“Is it possible,” a besotted Garrick fan once asked, that the great actor could be “subject to Pain, Disease, & Death, like Other Men?” In one way, of course, the answer to her question was a simple yes. Garrick could die, and die affectingly (shortly before the curtain-call moment of resurrection and applause), on every night that he performed in tragedy. But Garrick knew how to work the prospect of his own death for effects other than pathos: for laughs, in his comedies and in his audacious, self-portraying poems and prologues; and for an abiding, almost mesmeric hold over his audience. He is perhaps the first celebrity to harp so skillfully on the matter of his own mortality, playing the inevitability of his evanescence against the accumulating evidence of his staying power. Drawing upon the concurrent exhibition on “David Garrick, A Theatrical Life,” this lecture will describe the complex, innovative means by which Garrick both lost his bet and won it, in the process helping shape our ideas of theatrical death and deathlessness ever since.
Lecturer: Stuart Sherman is Associate Professor of English at Fordham University and the author of Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form, 1660–1785 (1996). He is currently working on a book entitled News and Plays: Evanescences of Page and Stage, 1620–1779.