An Introduction to Research Methods at the Folger (seminar)
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 (theatrical, cultural, social, 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 developed potential research projects; identified and sharpened 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: Thomas Fulton is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, where he teaches literature and the history of the book. His work on Erasmus, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and other medieval and early modern writers has appeared in several journals and edited collections. He is the author of Historical Milton: Manuscript, Print, and Political Culture in Revolutionary England (2010), and co-editor (with Ann Baynes Coiro) of Rethinking Historicism from Shakespeare to Milton (2012).