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Lectures & Events

All of our events are generously funded by the the English Department's Center for Literary and Comparative Studies and the History Department.

Spring 2018

Fall 2017

MEM-UM Kickoff Reception

Join us for a glass of wine and treats as we cellebrate the begining of the academic year!

September 18, 2017


Tawes Hall, 2nd Floor Lobby & room 2115


Annual Conference: Migration(s): Body, Word, Spirit


November 10th & 11th, 2017

College Park, Maryland 

For more information, visit our conference website


Spring 2017

Faculty Works in Progress

Thursday,  February 9th, 2017

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Tawes Hall (2nd Floor Lobby)


Guest Lecture: Carmen Nocentelli, "Europe and the Black Legend"

Monday,  March 6th, 2017

4:00 PM

Tawes Hall (2nd Floor Lobby)

Fall 2016

Inaugural Reception

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

4:00 - 6:00 PM

Tawes Hall (2nd Floor Lobby)


Symposium on Early Modern Religious Conflict and the Material Book

Friday, December 2nd, 2016.





Spring 2016

Colonial Latin American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue 

Friday, March 25, 2016, 3:00-5:00pm, Merrill Room in Francis Scott Key Hall

Valeria Añón, Associate Professor of Latin American Literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires

“Rhetoric of Silence and Deviation: Women Cronistas in Colonial Latin America,” focusing on women-cronistas in 16th century Colonial Latin American Chronicles through legal and historical discourses in letters, “peticiones,” and “probanzas” in order to analyze the rhetoric of “silence,” of “neglect and claim,” and of “deviation.” 

Barbara Mundy, Professor of Art History at Fordham University

“The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan (Or How One of the World’s Largest Cities Was Erased From the Map of History)” in which she looked at the ecology and ritual life of Aztec Tenochtitlán and demonstrated the historiographic erasure of the city to be a fiction through maps and manuscripts. 

MEM-UM co-sponsored this event. Read more about it here.




Fall 2015

Faculty and Graduate Student Lunch with Tom Conley

Tom Conley, Abbot Lawrence Lowell Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 12:30-2:00pm, 2115 Tawes Hall

In 2015-16, Tom Conley is a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in the Department of Garden and Landscapse Studies, working on a project entitled, "Mapping River and City in France, 1600-1640." Professor Conley will meet with interested MEM-UM students and faculty for an informal lunch discussion of his ongoing work at Dumbarton, as well as of broader questions raised in and by the interdisciplinary study of space and mapping in the early modern period.








Spring 2015

Giorgio Vasari, Six Tuscan Poets, 1544, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

(Re)Building Networks Lecture Series: Graduate Student Symposium

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 3:20-5:30, 2115 Tawes Hall

This event will feature works-in-progress of four University of Maryland graduate students. Those students will circulate their papers beforehand and, at the symposium, speak briefly about how those excerpts fit into their larger research projects.

For access to pre-circulated papers, available on our Canvas page, please email Chris Maffuccio at

The schedule for the event is as follows:

3:20     Professor Andrea Frisch: Opening Remarks

3:30     Stephen Rojcewicz (PhD Candidate, Department of English, Comp. Lit.) will discuss his paper:

"Latin Poetics in John Donne: 'I Finde Myself Scattered'"

John Donne (1572-1631), metaphysical poet and famed Church of England preacher, takes maximum advantage of the flexibility and characteristics of Latin poetics to wrestle with life-long emotional and theological concerns. Although he wrote only a few poems in Latin, in these works Donne rivals the Latin elegists through what Donald Lateiner has identified as syntactic enactment, in which the sentence structure or word placement mimics and reinforces the sense of what is being said. Ramie Targoff has demonstrated that Donne’s writings often reflect the fear that his body would be scattered after his death, perhaps even mixed with the remains of other individuals. Central to Donne’s writings in addressing this fear is the metaphor of his body as a book, a metaphor that takes on another dimension in his Latin poems, “De Libro Cum Mutuaretur” [Concerning the book, when it was lent] (1612), and “Stationes,” the poetic preface to Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624). Modern critics have often ignored these poems or, like Novarr, have dismissed them as not being poems at all. “De Libro” was written in elegiac couplets after Donne lent a printed book to Dr. Andrews, whose children tore it to pieces; Dr. Andrews then reconstituted the book as a handwritten manuscript. The creation of a new, perfected manuscript from scattered parts, as reenacted in the Latin syntax itself, is a figure for a perfect reunion of the body and soul at the Resurrection. A focus on Latin poetics demonstrates how Donne not only expresses the metaphor of his body as a book, but also turns the metaphor into action through syntactical enactment. The Latin poetic effects enable Donne to address his lifelong fears by identifying with the power of God to turn metaphor into reality.

3:40     Chris Maffuccio (PhD Candidate, Department of English) will discuss her paper:

"Reading Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales"

How would fifteenth-century readers have approached the Chaucerian canon? In other words, how would they have read Chaucer? For models, they could have turned to Chaucer’s works themselves. Among them, the Canterbury Tales offers perhaps the largest array of readerly approaches, as many of its tellers bear their own literary values and stances. In this paper, I analyze two fictionalized readers of Chaucer inscribed within Canterbury Tales itself. The first is the Man of Law, who tells his fellow pilgrims about the writer, “Chaucer.” The second is Harry Bailey, the Host of the pilgrimage, who judges the narrator-pilgrim (that is, Chaucer’s literary persona) and the narrator-pilgrim’s tales. Harry Bailey’s version of Chaucer, I argue, can be read as an answer to the limits that Man of Law places on English writers, limits that, from an international perspective, would relegate them to perpetual cultural inferiority. By interpreting the pilgrim-narrator’s Tale of Melibee through his everyday London experience, the Host demonstrates how English readers and writers can join an elite international literary network—on their own terms

3:50     Professor Judith Hallett (Classics) will respond to Steve's and Chris's papers.

4:05     Discussion    

4:20     Matthew D. Lincoln (PhD Candidate, Department of Art History) will discuss his paper:

"The (Inter)National Networks of Dutch Printmaking, 1500-1700"

My research draws on computer-aided analysis of databases of etchings and engravings, rather than individual case studies alone, to more rigorously describe the macro-scale changes in the way that Dutch and Flemish artists, printmakers, and publishers collaborated with each other in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This paper examines the surprising shifts in Dutch printmakers' preferences for working with domestic vs. foreign colleagues, and how these trends compare to those in other countries in this period. The results of this study suggest the importance of structural incentives, under-analyzed in the current literature, that may have impacted the "domestic turn" in both style and content in Dutch prints, and which may have guided the development of regional artistic print production in other countries as well.

4:30     Rob Wakeman (PhD Candidate, Department of English) will discuss his paper:

"Follow the Scent: Jonson's Fast Food Economics"

The market calendar creates communities of eaters bound together by common diets. Whether it is the feast day of Bartholomew Fair or the fast day of Every Man in His Humour, Jonson’s city comedies uses the bodily, sensory experiences of a live audience to convey the material qualities of food and their ability to hook the nose of the city’s consumers. On fish days the stench of herring hangs in the air; in a diatribe against fasting, Oliver Cob says of a herring that he “smell[s] his ghost, ever and anone” (Every Man In His Humour 1.3.20). For Rabbi Busy on St. Bartholomew’s Day, it is nigh impossible “to decline or resist the good titillation of the famelic sense, which is the smell” of Ursula’s roast pork. “Huh, huh, huh,” snorts Busy. “Follow the scent. Enter the tents of the unclean” (Bartholomew Fair 3.2.82-85). The lingering smell of animals’ “ghosts” reminds the audience of the animals’ continued agency even into death. This paper considers the affective powers of market aromas in Ben Jonson’s London and the use of smell to represent systems of food production on stage. Especially in urban environments where consumers are visually sequestered from sites of food production, the smells of slaughter and butchery to cooking and consumption convey the broad networks that connect eater to eaten.

4:40     Professor Sabrina Baron (History) will respond to Matt's and Rob's papers.

4:55     Discussion


The final discussion will be followed by a brief reception. All are warmly invited.




(Re)Building Networks Lecture Series: "Intertwining Networks: The Libertine Accademia degli Incogniti"

Stefano Villani, Department of History, University of Maryland

Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 4:00pm, 2115 Tawes Hall

The Venetian Accademia degli Incogniti – Academy  of the knowns – was  founded by Venetian nobleman Giovan Francesco Loredano in 1630. For thirty years, until 1661, the Incogniti weaved a libertine network throughout all continental Europe. In the seventeenth century many of the works published by members of this Academy were also translated into English, thanks to homogenous networks of Italianate translators and publishers.

This case study allows us to investigate the importance of a network analysis  to understand the dynamics of cross-cultural exchange in early modern Europe.

All are welcome. Snacks and drinks will be served.



Fall 2014

Knowing Nature Lecture Series: "Artificial Wind and Vitruvian Currents in Early Modern Thought"

Craig Martin, Department of History, Oakland University, and Fellow, Folger Shakespeare Library

Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 4:00pm, 2115 Tawes Hall

What causes winds was regarded as one of the most difficult questions of early modern natural philosophy. Vitruvius, the ancient Roman architectural author, put forth an alternative to Aristotle’s theory by likening the generation of wind to the actions of the aeolipile, a device used in place of bellows, which he believed made artificial winds. As Vitruvius’s work proliferated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, numerous natural philosophers, including Descartes, used the aeolipile as a model for nature. Yet, interpretations of Vitruvius’s text and his interpretation of the relation of the aeolipile to natural winds varied according to definitions and conceptions of air, wind, rarefaction, condensation, and vapor.






Fall Meeting and Reception & Knowing Nature Lecture Series: Dr. Surekha Davies, "Of Monsters and Men: Mapping Ethnography in Renaissance Europe"

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 4-6p.m., 2120 Key Hall (Merrill Room)

The Fall Meeting and Reception is a great opportunity to meet new colleagues and catch up with the old, to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with the Graduate School Field Committee, and to hear about the exciting events on our horizon. All medieval and early modern faculty and staff are welcome, as are graduate students in medieval and early modern studies from across the University. 

On the agenda:

  • Fundraising and budget report
  • Update: Fall 2014 Interdisciplinary Conference: Knowing Nature in the Medieval & Early Modern World (Oct. 24-25, 2014)
  • Update: Fall 2015 Interdisciplinary Conference: Networks (Oct. 2015)

Snacks and drinks on us!

Our first lecture of the year will immediately follow:

Knowing Nature Lecture Series: "Of Monsters and Men: Mapping Ethnography in Renaissance Europe"

Dr. Surekha Davies, Department of History, W. Connecticut State, and Kislak Fellow, Library of Congress

Sixteenth-century European travellers to the Americas encountered peoples who challenged their conceptions of what it meant to be human. European mapmakers devised distinctive motifs for the inhabitants of different parts of the Americas, and marketed their works as uniquely suited for comparing societies and the influence of environment on human bodies, temperaments and mental abilities. At a time when some readers were complaining that there was too much to know, maps made peoples of different regions memorably distinct from one another. In so doing, mapmakers brought monsters to the centre of new world ethnology. This paper explores the visual epistemology of placing monsters and men on maps: the workshop contexts in which these representations emerged; the ways in which they were read by Renaissance viewers; and the impact of spatial thinking on early modern conceptions of the human and its relations to the notion of the monster. In so doing, it elucidates a key arena in which early modern science was constituted and understood.







Spring 2014

Knowing Nature Lecture Series: "The Anatomy of the Avenger: Violence and Dissection on the Early Modern Stage"

Attila Kiss, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of English, Institute of English and American Studies, University of Szeged, Hungary; with a response paper by Jeffrey Griswold, Ph.D. student, English Department, University of Maryland

Wed., May 14, 12:00p.m., 2115 Tawes Hall

We are thrilled to host Prof. Kiss, whose current research focuses on drama, dissection, and anatomy in Renaissance England. This lunchtime workshop will include a discussion of Prof. Kiss's recent article, "The Anatomy of the Avenger: Violence and Dissection on the Early Modern English Stage."

Register by emailing Chris Maffuccio ( for a copy of the pre-circulated article. Registration includes lunch and is required.

Our flier features a woodcut, titled, Vesalius conducting an anatomical dissection, which was printed in Flanders in 1543 (from ArtStor Slide Gallery).






Lecture Series: Auxiliary Methods and Disciplines
for Medieval and Early Modern Studies:

Paleography & the Archives: A Seminar & Practicum

Sabrina Baron, Holly Brewer, Alejandro Cañeque, Professors of History, and Ralph Bauer, Professor of English, University of Maryland

Friday, Apr. 18, 9:15a.m. - 5:00p.m., Michelle Smith Collaboratory, 4213 Art/Sociology Building

This day-long workshop aims to deepen participants' research knowledge and skills. Morning events will include panels on the problems and opportunities of paleography and the archives, especially of the trans-Atlantic world. Afternoon events will include guided, hands-on practice. 

The image above, A Man Reading, was painted by Roger van der Weyden c. 1450. For more information, visit the National Gallery, London.





Lecture Series: Auxiliary Methods and Disciplines for Medieval and Early Modern Studies:

Claudia Rousseau, Professor of Art History, Montgomery College

This talk will discuss the interpretation of the astrological impresa of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici. This interpretation was based on actual astrological data, and so demonstrates that the interpretation of astrological imagery in Renaissance art is actually more complicated than many have thought. The difference, of course, is that everyone believed in the system in the 15th and 16th centuries as it was  appreciated as nothing less than a mirror of reality and a clue to Divine Providence.




Lecture Series: Auxiliary Methods and Disciplines for Medieval and Early Modern Studies: "The Golden Age of Western Civilization (Formerly Known as Late-Antiquity)"

James O'Donnell, Professor of Late Antiquity, Georgetown University

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 3p.m., in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory, 4213 Art/Sociology Building

Late antiquity? Later Roman empire? Fall of the Roman Empire? Early middle ages? Early Byzantium? The Birth of Europe? The Birth of Christendom? Sub-Roman Europe? Mediterranean of the longue durée? What name and what story should we assign to the period 200-700 CE? The answer matters more than you might think, especially to historians and students of later cultures, because each name assumes and defends a grand story and most of those grand stories are now known to be untrue. (A few clues? Rome never fell until 1924, barbarians never invaded the Roman Empire, and there were no pagans.) So this will be both a report on the state of late antique studies and a provocation -- about the ways the changes our understanding of the late antique world make a difference for students of all later periods.




Fall 2013

Lecture Series: Auxiliary Methods and Disciplines for Medieval and Early Modern Studies: "Reading as Self-Portrayal in Early Modern Books and Manuscripts"

Aneta Georgievska-Shine, Lecturer in Art History, University of Maryland, College Park

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2p.m., in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory, 4213 Art/Sociology Building

The analogy between one’s consciousness and the letters inscribed upon the pages of a book can be traced back to Plato’s comparison of the mind to a wax tablet stamped with images of our experience. Ubiquitous throughout the early modern period, this analogy becomes especially important for one of the most intimate of literary genres – the book of friendship – which reached the height of its popularity in the closing decades of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century. The verbal and pictorial dedications found in these alba amicorum provide uniquely personal insights into the evolving ideas about the public and the private self during this period, and the manner in which such self-inscriptions could create and and maintain a communitas that defies the boundaries of space and time. In her presentation, Dr. Georgievska-Shine focuses on the nature of this virtual community as exemplified by one of the most remarkable friendship books from seventeenth century Holland, the album amicorum of Jacob Heyblocq (1623-1690).




Lecture Series: Auxiliary Methods and Disciplines for Medieval and Early Modern Studies: "Reconstructing the Architecture of Shakespeare's Theaters: Archaeology, Iconography, and Archives"

Frank Hildy, Professor of Theater History, University of Maryland College Park

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 4.p.m., in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory, 4213 Art/Sociology Building

This talk will examine the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Theatre in London, which opened in 1997, and the reconstruction of an Elizabethan style indoor playhouse, the Wanamaker Theatre, which will open in 2014. These are examples of applied theatre history with wide ranging implication for the concept of authenticity. The talk will focus on how, when direct evidence is insufficient, cognate evidence is turned to in an attempt to fill in the blanks. When even cognate evidence does not suffice, historians note possible options, "this feature could have looked like A, or B or perhaps even C."  But when an actual building is being constructed, only one option can be chosen and each choice made will limit the possible options for other components of the structure.  The talk will review what we have learned since 1997 which would make a twenty-first century reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe different from the one which now exists in London.