A Folger Introduction to Research Methods and Agendas (seminar)

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For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a spring 2014 semester seminar led by Denise Albanese.

This seminar illustrated and exemplified graduate-level work in the humanities, surveying the tools of research in early modern studies through a semester-long immersion in one of the world’s major Renaissance collections. Representative fields and approaches addressed included various forms of historiography (e.g., theatrical, cultural, social, scientific, and political), the book as a material object, the visual analysis of images, manuscript studies, and editorial practice. Participants developed their research skills through a series of exercises linked to the strengths and ranges of the collection and current trends and debates in scholarship. They outlined potential research projects; identified and discussed theses and hypotheses; and engaged with the varieties of expertise found in the scholarly community at the Folger Shakespeare Library, including those of fellows and professional staff. Each student assembled a portfolio of exercises throughout the term, with shared copies of all so that students are prepared for further graduate work with a broad-based sourcebook for early modern studies.

Director: Denise Albanese is Professor of English and Cultural Studies at George Mason University, where she teaches courses in Shakespeare, Milton, and other early modern writing; critical and literary theory; and the cultural study of science and technology. Author of New Science, New World (1996) and Extramural Shakespeare (2010), she is currently completing a study on division and the natural world in seventeenth-century England.