Launched in 2020, the Early Modern Workshop is a multidisciplinary forum where scholars working on the early modern period (broadly defined) can discuss their work with colleagues across departments. The aim is to foster conversations that go beyond departmental, disciplinary, and regional parameters, and to create an active community of early modernists here at the University of Virginia. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please don't hesitate to contact us. We have an exciting schedule of presentations this autumn, and we look forward to seeing you there!

 

Kunyu wanguo quantu 坤輿萬國全

Great Universal Geographic Map

Matteo Ricci, Zhong Wentao, and Li Zhizao | Beijing, 1602

Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/item/2010585650)

 

 

  • 2020 Sep 25
    RICARDO PADRÓN | “The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West”
    Friday, Sep 25, 2020, 08:00am - Friday, Sep 25, 2020, 09:30am
    Location
    Zoom (link to register below)

     

    Please join us

    on

    Friday, September 25 | 12-1:30pm

     

    for a presentation by

     

    Ricardo Padrón

    Associate Professor

    Spanish, Italian, & Portuguese

     

    Ricardo will be speaking about his new book, The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago 2020), which challenges prevailing narratives about the so-called “invention of America” by exploring the transpacific commitments of the Spanish Indies as a geopolitical concept.

     

     

    Friday, September 25 | 12-1:30pm

    Free and open to the public. Please register for the Zoom meeting below:

    Zoomhttps://virginia.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0ocuiqqDssHNC1NCmea-iDtRnzMd...

    Padron, Indies of the Setting Sun

  • 2020 Oct 15
    October 15 | Nükhet Varlik, "Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World" | Medieval Studies + the Early Modern Workshop
    Thursday, Oct 15, 2020, 04:00pm - Thursday, Oct 15, 2020, 05:00pm

    Please join us for the following special event, a collaboration between Medieval Studies and the Early Modern Workshop: 

    Screen Shot 2020-08-28 at 8.41.58 AM

    October 15 | 4-5pm on Zoom | Discussion of Nَükhet Varlik's Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347-1600 (Cambridge UP 2015). 

    We're delighted to announce that Nükhet Varlik (Associate Professor, History, University of South Carolina and Rutgers University-Newark) will be joining us virtually as well. Dr. Varlık is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and Rutgers University–Newark. She is a historian of the Ottoman Empire interested in disease, medicine, and public health. She is the author of Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347–1600 (2015) and editor of Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean (2017). Her new book project, “Empire, Ecology, and Plague: Rethinking the Second Pandemic (ca.1340s-ca.1940s),” examines the six-hundred-year Ottoman plague experience in a global ecological context. In conjunction with this research, she is involved in developing the Black Death Digital Archive and contributing to multidisciplinary research projects that incorporate perspectives from palaeogenetics (ancient DNA research in particular), bioarchaeology, disease ecology, and climate science into historical inquiry. She is the Editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA).

     

    For those interested in joining the discussion, please contact the Director of Medieval Studies, Deborah McGrady (dlm4z) for a copy of the book and for details about the zoom meeting. 

    This event is a collaboration between the Medieval Studies Program and the Early Modern Workshop. Thanks to the generous support of New Literary History, the Medieval Studies Program is able to purchase 15 copies of Nükhet Varlik's book that will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis to individuals interested in joining the group for the designated discussion hour. Those to be invited range from undergraduate Medieval Studies majors and minors, Medieval Studies affiliated graduate students and faculty, and “friends” of Medieval Studies. Every effort will be made to balance distribution of copies of the books among these groups, but we will also assure that an electronic copy of the book, when possible, or at least a pdf copy of the representative chapter is made available to everyone. If you would like to participate in this reading group, please contact incoming Medieval Studies director Deborah McGrady (dlm4z@virginia.edu).

    For more information about other upcoming Medieval Studies events, please visit the Medieval Studies Program website.

  • 2020 Oct 23
    AMANDA PHILLIPS | Beyond Text: What Objects Can Tell Us
    Friday, Oct 23, 2020, 12:00pm - Friday, Oct 23, 2020, 01:00pm
    Location
    Zoom

     

     

    Please join us

    at the Early Modern Workshop

    on

    Friday, October 23 | 12-1:30pm

    for a presentation by

     

    Amanda Phillips

    Assistant Professor

    Art

     

    Beyond Text: What Objects Can Tell Us”

     

    Amanda will be speaking about her new book, Sea Change: Ottoman Textiles between the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean (University of California Press, 2021), which argues for the central role of textiles in daily life across the social and economic continuum. In this talk, Amanda will discuss how objects can, and do, tell stories not found in written sources.

     

    Our events are free and open to the public.

    Please register on the link below:

    Zoom: https://virginia.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMtcu6gqz8oE9UIY2aCW_T37tQv0VJieo3V

     

     

    Amanda Phillips Sea Change

     

     

  • 2020 Nov 13
    NIZAR F. HERMES | “This Tunis, Sir, Was Carthage:" Abū al-Fatḥ al-Tūnisī’s Nostalgia for the Besieged "Bride of the Maghrib"
    Friday, Nov 13, 2020, 12:00pm - Friday, Nov 13, 2020, 01:30pm
    Location
    Zoom

     

    Please join us

    at the Early Modern Workshop 

    on

    Friday, November 13 | 12-1:30pm

    for a presentation by

    Nizar F. Hermes

    Associate Professor

    Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures

     

    “‘This Tunis, Sir, Was Carthage:’

    Abū al-Fatḥ al-Tūnisī’s Nostalgia for the Besieged ‘Bride of the Maghrib’”

     

    Dr. Hermes will present materials from his forthcoming book on premodern and precolonial Maghribi city poetry, Of Lost Cities and the Poetic Imagination in the Premodern and Precolonial Maghrib: 9th-19th Centuries AD.

     

    Our events are free and open to the public.

     

    Please register on the link below:

     

    Zoom: https://virginia.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrduqgrzIpEtR2wl9TE9kNOP4R-WR_c92o

     

    The Spanish Siege of Tunis: Bab El Bhar et l'arsenal en 1535 lors du sac de Tunis par l'armée de Charles Quint

     

    Abstract

     

    The 15th/16th century exilic Tunisian scholar/poet’s 51-line Nūniyya (Ode Rhyming in the Letter Nūn [N]) which he penned in Damascus at the onset of the 1535 Spanish conquest of Ḥafṣid Tunis (13th-16th centuries) stands as one of the finest masterpieces of the neglected premodern and precolonial Maghribi city poetry, which I explore in my forthcoming Of Lost Cities and the Poetic Imagination in the Premodern and Precolonial Maghrib: 9th-19th Centuries AD. In his magnum opus Nafḥ al-ṭīb (The Breath of Perfume), famed Algerian historian and anthologist al-Maqqarī al-Tilmisānī (d.1632) extolled the Nūniyya as one of the greatest nostalgic and elegiac poems ever composed—of course, up until his own time. Al-Maqqarī’s eloquent praise of the Nūniyya is worth quoting in toto and should serve as a North African appetizer for the talk:

     

    “The poem of the renowned judge, the great litterateur whose poetic masterpieces captivated the minds as he extracted them from the hidden quarters of his thoughts. The sheikh, the imām, my lord [Sidi] Abū al-Fatḥ Muhammad ʿAbd al-Sālām al-Maghribī al-Tūnisī, resident of Damascus—may God sprinkle his grave with the rain of mercy and delight. This poem is the release of an ailing foreigner and the legitimate grief of a clever person. Like myself, he left his home country and never forgot it, and continued to [devotionally] read the verses of sorrow and recited them, and kept hoping that that Time would gift him the seeing of its gilded beauty.”

  • 2020 Dec 04
    RUSS LEO (Princeton) | "Nil Volentibus Arduum, Baruch Spinoza, and the Reason of Tragedy"
    Friday, Dec 04, 2020, 12:00pm - Friday, Dec 04, 2020, 01:30pm
    Location
    Zoom

     

     

    Please join us

    at the Early Modern Workshop

    on

    Friday, December 4 | 12-1:30pm

    for a guest lecture by

     

    Russ Leo

    Associate Professor of English

    Princeton University

     

    “Nil Volentibus Arduum, Baruch Spinoza, and the Reason of Tragedy”

     

    Our events are free and open to the public.

    Please register on the link below:

    Zoom: https://virginia.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYlcOisrTssGtZl61DfDzQmjl_ZDml0GQO4

    jan de baen

     

    Jan de Baen, The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers (ca.1672-1675)

     

    Abstract

    In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus Spinoza recognizes the importance of theater in civic life as well as the resources shared between stagecraft and statecraft, between poetics and scriptural exegesis. Students of politics and religion, he suggests, do well to consider how dramatists and orators mobilize affects and passions. He shared this perspective with his close friends Lodewijk Meyer and Joannes Bouwmeester, prominent members of the artistic society or kunstgenootschap Nil Volentibus Arduum—that is, “Nothing is difficult for the willing”—a group that began meeting in 1669 in order to reform poetry and language in the Dutch Republic; theirs is a neglected effort to develop philosophical theses on tragedy in particular, in conversation with advocates of neoclassicism as well as Cartesian and post-Cartesian philosophy. In this paper I illustrate how, just as Spinoza turned to theater in the Tractatus to express the abuses of wonder and the hazards of imagination, the members of Nil Volentibus Arduum seize theater as a medium, and tragedy as an imaginative means, to shape and influence a public at a crucial moment in the history of the Dutch Republic.

     

    Russ Leo, an associate professor in the English Department at Princeton University, received his PhD in 2009 from the Program in Literature at Duke University, where he also received certificates in Feminist Studies and Interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Leo’s first book, Tragedy as Philosophy in Reformation Europe, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. He is currently at work on a book on Spinoza, Spinozism, Locke, and the origins of political economy, tracing how Spinozan reflections on ethics and affects were integral to the study of desire, laboring bodies, and (anthropological) notions of interest and agency between 1650 and 1750. As part of this project he is also completing a translation of the complete Preface to Spinoza’s 1677 Opera Posthuma/Nagelate Schriften, a fascinating work by Jarig Jelles (in Dutch) and Lodowick Meyer (in Latin) that offers important insight into the early international reception of the Spinoza’s ideas and legacy. During quarantine he is at work on a book on antipsychiatry, labor, and subjectivity, placing postwar writing by Norbert Wiener, Thomas Szaz, and L. Ron Hubbard in conversation and tension with work by Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, R. D. Laing, Wilhelm Reich, and Fernand Deligny, among others.