Center for the Study of the Early Modern World

Center for the Study of the Early Modern World

Operating as usual


Join the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World on February 22 for a lecture on "The End of History? Michael Murrin, The Gunpowder Revolution and the Fate of Epic in the 16th and 17th Centuries" by Keith Sidwell (U. Calgary, CA). 5:30pm EST in RI Hall, 108.

Did epic poetry really suffer a demise after Milton, as David Quint and others have suggested? This question points to a rift between Latin and vernacular in the study of early modern literary culture, which can lead to distortions and sometimes even downright falsification. A case in point is Michael Murrin’s contention that heroic narrative moved away from the subject of war in the sixteenth century – and that this change was due to the “Gunpowder Revolution”, the introduction of cannon and muskets into an arena dominated before by hand-to-hand fighting. This lecture will test that claim by focusing largely on the Latin epic of the period, which Murrin neglects.

Keith Sidwell’s publications on early modern literature include Making Ireland Roman: Early Modern Latin Writing in Ireland (Cork University Press, 2009) and The Tipperary Hero: Dermot o’Meara’s Ormonius (1615) (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols 2011). He is also the author of Reading Medieval Latin (Cambridge University Press, 1995), Lucian: Chattering Courtesans and Other Sardonic Sketches (Penguin Classics, 2004), Aristophanes the Democrat (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and much more…


On Oct. 20, 2023, at 2:30 PM you are invited to attend the Early Modern World Colloquium "European Colonialism in the Americas: Consequences and Contemporary Responses."

While the view that knowledge is shaped by certain points of view or ways of thinking has long won acceptance in the humanities and social sciences, many early modernists continue to see themselves as detached from the circumscribed texts, peoples, or periods they study. Specialists in the cultures and histories of the Americas, however, are increasingly expressing awareness of colonialism’s ongoing and omnipresent inequities – in verbal ‘land acknowledgments’, or in other discourses or activities tangential to, or remote from, teaching and publication.

This colloquium will consider whether responses to the salient injustices arising from colonialism can or should transform traditional scholarly methods and content, and in what ways. The invited speakers are Gustavo Verdesio (University of Michigan), who has written extensively on indigenous studies and co-edited the seminal collection Colonialism Past and Present: Reading and Writing about Latin America Today, and Kim Borchard (Randolph Macon College), author of Appalachia as Contested Borderland of the Early Modern Atlantic 1528–1715, whose work now focuses directly on contemporary concerns of tribal sovereignty.

Preliminary schedule

2.30 Introduction

3.00 Kim Borchard: Apalache? Appalachia? The Talimali Band of Apalachee Indians, Twenty-First Century Colonialism, and the Struggle for Tribal Sovereignty

3.40: Gustavo Verdesio: Colonial Studies with a Subalternist Inflection: How to Avoid Colonial Practices and Contribute to Present-day Indigenous Struggles

4.30 Final discussion

5.00 Reception


Please join us for an Early Modern World lecture on April 26 at 5:30 PM in RI Hall, 108. Dr. Syrithe Pugh will give a talk on Human Resources: Class and Cannibalism in ‘The Hock-Cart’. Herrick's "The Hock-cart, or Harvest Home: To the Right Honourable Mildmay, Earle of Westmorland" was composed at a time when the upropertied rural laborers it depicts were facing unprecedented economic hardship—years which one historian has described as "probably the most terrible...through which the country has ever passed". It is often noted that the final lines of the poem give an unusually frank glimpse of their disempowered state, but this is normally seen as no more than a jarring note in a poem which otherwise reaffirms and celebrates the harmony of their relations with a benevolent landlord. On a closer reading, however, the unsettling close appears as merely the culmination of disturbing undercurrents running throughout the poem. Beneath the surface celebration, with its deeply conservative implications, runs a sombre critique of socioeconomic injustice and oppression, which draws on traditions of political protest stretching from the Old Testament to contemporary pamphleteers. As well as revealing the artistry with which Herrick’s deeply ambivalent poem sustains its two incompatible perspectives, the reading prompts further reflection on Herrick’s sense of his own socioeconomic position, of his relationship with his wealthy patron, and of the constraints on and purposes of his lyric composition.


Please join us for the lecture by Jinah Kim (Harvard University) on "Color Coding Knowledge/Five Colors of Indian Esoteric Buddhism" at 5:30pm - 7:30pm EDT
Pembroke Hall 305

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