A Sense of the Archive (seminar)

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This was a spring 2007 semester seminar for Master's students.

This seminar introduced Master’s-level students to the Folger collections through an exploration of the early modern sensory world. Students plumbed the Library’s materials in an attempt to reconstruct how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century men and women heard, smelled, tasted, saw, and experienced touch. How, for example, did people perceive cold? Or experience the introduction of tobacco? How did the early modern experience and perception of the environment differ from our own? To what extent can archival work even answer these questions? While the seminar was guided by readings in current scholarship, the primary aim is for students to encounter a broad sampling of genres, such as cookbooks, travel narratives, chorographies, natural histories, urban surveys, theater documents, and demonological tracts. The seminar introduced students to tools for archival research and encouraged the development of individual research interests.

Director: Kristen Poole is Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton: Figures of Nonconformity in Early Modern England (2000) and numerous articles on early modern literature.