Research and Writing the Early Modern Dissertation (seminar)

This 2021-2022 seminar, designed for writers of early modern dissertations, is directed by Joyce E. Chaplin, Julie Crawford, and Jenny C. Mann.

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. Initially meeting virtually to share works-in-progress, 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.

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, 1500–1676 (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." Jenny C. Mann is an Associate Professor of English at New York University with a joint appointment with NYU Gallatin. She has followed her first book, Outlaw Rhetoric: Figuring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare’s England (2012), with The Trials of Orpheus: Poetry, Science, and the Early Modern Sublime (2021). Her new research project explores problems of self-reference in utopian literature from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.


Alexander Batson, History, Yale University

Megan Bowman, English, Boston University

Olivia Branscum, Philosophy, Columbia University

Benjamin Card, English and Renaissance Studies, Yale University

Julia Carroll, American & New England Studies, Boston University

Jin-Woo Choi, History, Princeton University

Madison Forbes, English, Fordham University

Tess Grogan, English, Yale University

Eve Houghton, English, Yale University

Alice King, History, University of Virginia

Sarah-Gray Lesley, English, University of Chicago

Promise Li, English, Princeton University

Jessica Lugo, English, The City University of New York

Meaghan Pachay, English, The Ohio State University

Ian Takaes, Art History, Columbia University

Lanier Walker, English, University of North Carolina

Madison Wolfert, English, Princeton University