2022-2023 Folger Institute Scholarly Programs

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This article lists the scholarly programming of the Folger Institute for the 2022-2023 academic year, during which programs were co-sponsored by Consortium universities, convened virtually, or experimented with hybrid formats. For more past programming, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

Summer 2022

Making Meaning: Hands-on Basic Paleography and Book Production (weeklong intensive skills course)
Directed by Margaret J.M. Ezell and Kevin M. O’Sullivan, with Lucas Tucker

Co-sponsored with Texas A&M University

Integrating traditional seminar-based discussion with experiential inquiry, this course will investigate the physical means of knowledge production during the early modern period. Daily lab sessions concentrating on historical book production will include hands-on exercises in allied trades such as typecasting, papermaking, ink-making, typesetting, and hand-press printing. In addition to this print-oriented praxis, participants will also experience manuscript production through experimentation with contemporary writing materials such as goose quills and iron gall ink as part of their paleography work. Throughout the week, guided discussions of assigned theoretical readings will synthesize issues raised by the hands-on practice within a wider theoretical framework on media intersections. The course will seek to demonstrate the ways technologies of textual production drove meaning-making in the early modern period and foster an understanding of the rich interrelations between the manuscript tradition and renaissance printing. Equipped with these skills, participants will be able not only to read and analyze the texts, but to locate their place in the larger context of early modern written culture. Held from Monday through Friday, 11–15 July 2022, at Texas A&M University.

Directors: Margaret J.M. Ezell is Distinguished Professor of English and the John and Sara H. Lindsey Chair of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. In her most recent work, the Oxford English Literary History, Volume V: 1645–1714, the Later Seventeenth Century, she offers an alternative model of literary history exploring how oral traditions, handwritten manuscript practices, and print media intersected and influenced each other. Kevin M. O’Sullivan is Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts for the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives at Texas A&M University, where he also serves as the Director of the Book History Workshop. He is a founding partner of the 3Dhotbed Project, a collaborative digital humanities effort that seeks to enhance book history instruction through 3D technologies. They will be joined by Lucas Tucker, Scribe and Chemist at Scribal Work Shop with over twenty-five years of experience in historic calligraphy and creating books using entirely historic tools and methods.

Teaching Intermediate Paleography (weeklong skills and pedagogy course)
Directed by Crawford Gribben, Claire McNulty, and Kathleen Miller, with Heather Wolfe

Co-sponsored with Queen’s University Belfast

This weeklong intensive course offers up to a dozen intermediate and advanced paleographers the opportunity to enhance their paleography skills, acquire strategies for teaching paleography at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels, and visit Irish and British archives and collections to pursue their own research interests. The week begins at Queen’s University Belfast, with experienced instructors leading an intensive workshop on methods for teaching secretary hands found in the Folger’s digitized manuscripts collection and manuscripts held by QUB’s Special Collections. Following this training, participants will visit archives and collections such as those located at Trinity College Dublin, Marsh’s Library in Dublin, and the Robinson Library, Armagh, to acquire images of suitable teaching manuscripts before the group reconvenes in the TCD Long Room Hub on Friday to share their discoveries. Upon completion of the intensive course, participants will have acquired the necessary skills to teach paleography at their home institutions. Held from Monday through Friday, 1-5 August 2022, at Queen’s University Belfast, various manuscript collections, and Trinity College Dublin.

Organizers: Crawford Gribben is professor of early modern British history at Queen’s University Belfast. He is the author of several books on early modern religious history, including God’s Irishmen: Theological debates in Cromwellian Ireland (2007) and John Owen and English Puritanism: Experiences of Defeat (2016). Claire McNulty (PhD, Queen’s University Belfast) researched at the Folger (2018-19), and served as a tutor in history at Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin (2017-20). She researches parish discipline in Covenanting Scotland. Claire has a chapter in an edited volume on The Clergy in Early Modern Scotland with Boydell’s St Andrews Studies in Scottish History. Kathleen Miller (PhD, Trinity College Dublin) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Toronto / Queen’s University Belfast), working on women’s plague writing in early modern England. Her first monograph, The Literary Culture of Plague in Early Modern England (2016), was published in Palgrave Macmillan’s Early Modern Literature in History Series. They will be joined by Dr. Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian of Audience Development at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Yearlong Programs

World, Globe, Planet: The Scales of Relation in Early Modernity (hybrid yearlong monthly colloquium)
Directed by Joseph Campana (Rice University)

Recent decades have witnessed the fruits of longstanding conversations about both a Global Renaissance and an environmental turn in early modern studies. Many questions remain about these frameworks, especially concerning their intersections (or lack thereof) and to what directions they might now turn. Often those conversations, be they in early modern thought or recent debate, consider the vast scale and complexity of global interrelations of early modernity. And yet, how to manage such scope? This seminar weds renewed interest in these macrocosmic considerations with a series of scalable concepts with broad historical, theoretical, and geographic versatility. Core terms — interconnection, traffic, waste, population, extraction, horizon, habitability, and universe — will help specify grander concepts such as world, globe, and planet, anchoring them in the complex histories of the period, which include massive political, commercial, colonial, and ecological developments from the Columbian Exchange to the Little Ice Age. Over the course of the year, participants will propose their own scalable concept to guide where future conversations about a Global Renaissance and an environmental turn in early modern studies might go. A late-spring session will be devoted to an archival visit followed by a public conversation involving the participants’ works-in-progress.

Director: Joseph Campana is William Shakespeare Professor of English and Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice University. He is a poet, arts writer, and scholar of the literature and culture of Renaissance England. He is the author of The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity, and co-editor of the forthcoming special issue of World, Globe, Planet (SEL), and Lesser Living Creatures of the Renaissance. Recent essays consider creaturely life, personhood, scale, affect, and waste refracted through a range of early modern arts and media.

Invited speakers with distinct disciplinary, geographic, methodological, and linguistic expertise will be asked to explore core terms with the seminar participants, including, among others, interconnection, traffic, waste, population, extraction, horizon, habitability, and universe.

Researching and Writing the Early Modern Dissertation (yearlong dissertation seminar)
Co-directed by Herman L. Bennett, 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. 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. 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 support and assistance of staff at the host university libraries) essential research skills as well as strategies for working with digital resources and remediated rare materials. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed course work and preliminary exams; they should be preparing a prospectus or beginning to write chapters. Applicants should consult with their dissertation directors before applying to ensure that their work is at a stage that would benefit from the seminar, and their directors should certify that this is the case in their recommendation letters. Those whose dissertations are substantially complete will not be competitive applicants.

Directors: Herman L. Bennett is Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Director of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC). Among his monographs are Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640 (2003); Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (2009); and African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty & Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic (2019). 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. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled “Margaret Cavendish’s Political Career” and editing the Oxford Handbook of Margaret Cavendish. 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 current research project explores problems of self-reference in utopian literature from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.

Anticipated Schedule: Participants will meet virtually over a Friday and Saturday in October, December, and June. In the spring, participants will travel to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University and other special collections in New York that are relevant to their dissertation projects.

Fall 2022
Shakespeare and Performance Studies: Researching and Teaching Recorded and Live Broadcast Theatre (virtual fall workshop)
Organized by Peter Holland, with Pascale Aebischer and Erin Sullivan

Over the last few years, two events have probably irrevocably changed the ways in which we watch live theatre. The first has been the development of live broadcast theatre as a synchronous cinema screening, as a time-shifted version to allow for viewers in different time-zones, and as an “encore” broadcast, and then, increasingly, as a recording available for streaming, non-cinema viewings. The second event has been the Covid-19 pandemic, with its creation of “live” Zoom performances, new experiences for spectating communities, and increased access to archived recordings. Productions of Shakespeare have been exceptionally dominant in these transformational processes, sometimes outnumbering the rest of such output combined. The phenomena have already had enormous consequences for the teaching of Shakespeare in and through performance and for the forms of scholarship investigating this change, with a flood of studies appearing at unprecedented speed. Two interrelated virtual workshops will explore this material and scholarly interactions with it, first for its potential for future research and second for pedagogic possibilities and applications.

Organizers: Peter Holland is the McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame—and that makes him, as far as he knows, the holder of the only named chair in Shakespeare in the world not permanently assigned to an English department. His research focuses on Shakespeare in performance, especially Shakespeare on many kinds of screens. Pascale Aebischer is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies at the University of Exeter. She has a background in Shakespeare performance studies and is an expert in present-day performance cultures and digital technologies, including motion capture, live streams and Zoom performance. She is co-editor of Shakespeare and the ‘Live’ Theatre Broadcast Experience (Arden Bloomsbury) and author of Shakespeare, Spectatorship and the Technologies of Performance (CUP 2020) and Viral Shakespeare: Performance in the Time of Pandemic (CUP, 2021). Erin Sullivan is Reader in Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, where she leads its distance learning MA programme. Her current research focuses on the impact of digital technology on Shakespearean performance, including theatre broadcasts and livestreams. She is the co-editor of Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions in Performance and Adaptation (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2022) and author of Shakespeare and Digital Performance in Practice (Palgrave, forthcoming).

Spring 2023
Early Modern Intersections in the American South (plenary lecture, workshop, and historic site visits)
Organized by Heather Miyano Kopelson, Jenny Shaw, and Cassander L. Smith

Co-sponsored with the University of Alabama

Following the virtual spring 2022 symposium that discussed what is “early modern” about the region we now call the American South in terms of geography, temporality, race, slavery, indigeneity, and migration/displacement, this workshop reconvenes its participants and other interested scholars at the University of Alabama for a plenary lecture, pedagogically oriented sessions, and site visits. Participants are encouraged to bring syllabi, reading lists, assignments, and lesson plans and workshop them with the aim of putting relevant materials on the early modern South into practice in the classroom. Participants will also tour and discuss the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, and a tour and closing dinner will be held at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Organizers: Heather Miyano Kopelson is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama and is also affiliated with the Gender and Race Studies Department. She is the author of Faithful Bodies: Performing Race and Religion in the Puritan Atlantic (2014) and is currently writing a book with the working title, “Speaking Objects: Indigenous Women and the Materials of Dance in the Americas, 1500–1700.” Jenny Shaw is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. Her research focuses on race, enslavement, and colonization in the English Atlantic. The author of Everyday Life in the Early English Caribbean: Irish, Africans, and the Construction of Difference, she is completing a serial biography of five women who bore children with the same Barbados planter. Cassander L. Smith is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama. She is the author of Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Narratives of the Early Atlantic World (2016). Currently, she is completing a book about respectability politics and the early modern black Atlantic.

Invited Speaker: Robbie Ethridge (University of Mississippi) will deliver the plenary lecture on Thursday evening.

Rac(e)ing the Shakespearean Archive: Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction New Orleans (spring weekend workshop)
Organized by Michael P. Kuczynski and John “Ray” Proctor

Co-sponsored with the Departments of English and Theatre and Dance at Tulane University, in conjunction with the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane (NOCGS).

Provocatively defining the archive to include publications, performances, adaptations, and influences, this workshop will adopt a critical approach to “Shakespeare” in New Orleans, one of America’s most racially diverse cities. The period before, during, and after the Civil War witnessed a consistent engagement with Shakespeare’s work in New Orleans and the American South generally which inevitably reflected the racial dynamics of the city, one of America’s most important ports and a center of the American slave trade. Nineteenth-century New Orleans’ engagement with Shakespeare, in turn, influenced twentieth-century reactions to the playwright and his works in the city and continues to impact Shakespeare’s adaptation and use in twenty-first-century classrooms, libraries, streets, and theatres. Among the topics to be discussed will be acting, the semiotics of race in performance, and the performative implications of color-conscious casting; the collecting, printing, and reading of Shakespeare’s plays and their role in elementary and higher education; and Shakespeare’s presence in Mardi Gras and related forms of cultural spectacle. Special focus will be given to Shakespeare’s status within contemporary Critical Race Studies.

Organizers: Michael P. Kuczynski is Professor of English at Tulane University. John “Ray” Proctor is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Tulane University.

Program: Following a live-streamed keynote dialogue on Thursday evening with Ayanna Thompson (Arizona State University) and Kara Tucina Olidge (Getty Research Institute), on Friday and Saturday faculty and archivists will offer dialogues that feature one-on-one object and performance-based encounters preserved in the vibrant collections and larger cultural archive of New Orleans itself. The workshop will give participants the opportunity to partner with featured local professional Shakespeare performers as they draw examples from a wide range of New Orleans-based archives, including the Amistad Research Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and Tulane’s Special Collections Department of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (especially its Carnival Collection) and its Hogan Jazz Archive.

Gilding the Guilt: The Gilded Age, Craft Production, and the Construction of Cultural Capital (spring weekend workshop)
Organized by Barbara Bono, Carrie Tirado Bramen, Maria S. Horne, and Stacy Carson Hubbard

Co-Sponsored with the Departments of English and Theatre and Dance at the University of Buffalo, and the University at Buffalo Library, and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

What role has “Shakespeare” played in reinforcing and contesting wealth and class, and how should scholars critically reconsider that tension at a moment when economic injustice has been so starkly underlined for all Americans? This workshop considers these questions with the case study of Buffalo, New York, a regional city situated at a geographic and historical crossroads in America. While Buffalo’s wealth and cultural opportunities were unevenly distributed, its elite’s ambitions were vast and included an aggressive practice of Gilded Age book collecting, focused on Shakespeare. Meanwhile major cultural countercurrents included the American Arts and Craft movement headquartered at the nearby Roycroft Campus. Topics to be discussed include the tensions found in late-nineteenth-century American cities during the fraught economic, industrial, and cultural expansion of the Gilded Age, especially those involving studies into non-elite acculturation through Shakespeare and other signifiers of high culture, and creative American counter-responses to European art and culture that continue to resonate today. Scholars working on these and related topics are welcome to attend.

A video description of the workshop may be found here.

Organizers: Barbara Bono is Associate Professor Emerita of English and of the Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo. Carrie Tirado Bramen is Professor of English at the University at Buffalo. Maria S. Horne is Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University at Buffalo. Stacy Carson Hubbard is Associate Professor of English at the University at Buffalo.

Program: Thursday afternoon and evening will offer two opening plenaries. The first features novelist Lauren Belfer, whose novel City of Light revolves around the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. It will be followed by a panel of three distinguished scholars who will speak on Shakespeare in relation to African-American culture, frontiers / la frontera, and Indigenous reception and adaptation: Joyce Green MacDonald (University of Kentucky), Kathryn Vomero Santos (Trinity University), and Scott Manning Stevens (Syracuse University). Subsequent workshop sessions will involve the organizers and local librarians and archivists at the downtown Buffalo and Erie County Library, the University at Buffalo Libraries, and the Roycroft Campus.

Global Early Modern Trans Studies (spring symposium)
Organized by Simone Chess, Nicholas R. Jones, Will Fisher, Colby Gordon, and Melissa E. Sanchez

This symposium invites its participants to consider the intersections of early modern trans studies and early modern race studies in a global context. The symposium begins from the premise that discerning the contours of gendered embodiment in early modern texts requires sustained attention to the emergence of modern racial hierarchies. Thinking with trans studies presses us to account not just for gender, but also for racialized gender as it is imbricated with other social vectors including nation, religion, disability, and status. Focusing on a period that predates the U.S.-centric lens through which transgender and racial histories are often considered, the symposium will trace the manifold ways that forms of trans embodiment taking shape in early modernity intersect with genocidal histories of white supremacy, anti-blackness, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, settler colonialism, and empire. Invited speakers will address both the multiplicity and specificity of racialization and the ways that different gender and racial categories and identities are generated within specific geographic and cultural contexts and as part of the processes of imperialism and colonization.

Organizers: Simone Chess is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at Wayne State University. Will Fisher is Associate Professor of English at Lehman College and The CUNY Graduate Center. Colby Gordon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literatures in English at Bryn Mawr College. Nicholas R. Jones, Yale Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is the former King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center’s 2021-2022 Scholar-in-Residence at New York University. Melissa E. Sanchez is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature; Director of the Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies; and Director of the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Invited Speakers: Marquis Bey (Northwestern University) and Nicholas R. Jones (Yale University) will deliver a plenary conversation on Thursday evening to open the symposium. Over the following Friday and Saturday, speakers including Cecilio M. Cooper (University of Michigan), Esteban Crespo-Jaramillo (Yale University), Leah DeVun (Rutgers University), Carla Freccero (University of California, Santa Cruz), Miles Grier (City University of New York), Sawyer Kemp (Queen’s College, City University of New York), Greta LaFleur (Yale University), and Zeb Tortorici (New York University) will open up a range of relevant themes for extended conversation. Abdulhamit Arvas (University of Pennsylvania) and Howard Chiang (University of California, Davis) will serve as respondents.

Introduction to English Paleography (spring skills course)
Directed by Heather Wolfe

Co-sponsored with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This weeklong course provides an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Working from digitized and physical manuscripts, participants will be trained in the accurate reading and transcription of secretary, italic, and mixed hands. In conjunction with the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies’ Renaissance of the Earth research program, the workshop will include estate accounts, annotated almanacs, and household inventories that showcase how early moderns were practically and imaginatively transforming the earth. Recipe books, personal correspondence, and poetry miscellanies will also be drawn from the Folger collection. Participants will experiment with contemporary writing materials (quills, iron gall ink, and paper); learn the terminology for describing and comparing letterforms; and become skillful decipherers of abbreviations, numbers, and dates. Transcriptions made by participants will become part of the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) corpus.

Director: Heather Wolfe is Curator of Manuscripts and Associate Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library, co-director of the recently concluded multi-year research project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, and principal investigator of Early Modern Manuscripts Online. Author of numerous articles on early modern manuscripts, Dr. Wolfe has edited The Literary Career and Legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613–1680 (2007), The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608: A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232 (2007), Letterwriting in Renaissance England (2004) (with Alan Stewart), and Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland: Life and Letters (2001). She is currently working on a book on early modern writing paper in England.

An Orientation to Research Methods and Agendas (spring skills course)
Directed by Marcy North, Claire M. L. Bourne, and Whitney Trettien

Co-sponsored with the University of Pennsylvania

The best research is based on inquiry and allows for serendipity. A scholar needs to sharpen research questions and search skills simultaneously and with sensitivity to the ways questions and sources affect each other. The available evidence may invite a new thesis, require a revised approach, or even suggest a new field of exploration. This intensive week is not designed to advance participants’ individual research projects. Rather, it aims to cultivate the participants’ curiosity about primary resources by using exercises that engage their research interests. It is offered to help early-stage graduate students develop a set of research-oriented literacies as they explore Penn’s special collections in ways that will be useful for navigating other collections. With the guidance of visiting faculty and curatorial staff from the Folger and Penn Libraries, twelve to fourteen participants will examine bibliographical tools and their logics, hone their early modern book description skills, learn best practices for organizing and working with digital images, and improve their understanding of the cultural and technological histories of texts. Participants will ask reflexive questions about the nature of primary sources, the collections that house them, and the tools whereby one can access them.

Organizers: Marcy North is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Anonymous Renaissance and numerous articles on early print, manuscript, and women’s writings. She has directed a previous Folger seminar and participated in the Folger’s Teaching Paleography and Advanced Paleography workshops. She is finishing a book on the intersection of labor and taste in the production of post-print manuscripts. Claire M. L. Bourne is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Typographies of Performance in Early Modern England, which was supported by a long-term Folger fellowship, and is currently editing 1 Henry the Sixth for the Arden Shakespeare (4th series). Whitney Trettien teaches digital humanities and book history at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is Assistant Professor of English. She is the author of Cut/Copy/Paste, a hybrid monograph on digital book history staged on Manifold Scholarship through University of Minnesota Press.