2022-2023 Folger Institute Dissertation Seminar with Bennett, Crawford, and Mann

Researching and Writing the Early Modern Dissertation (yearlong dissertation seminar)


Co-directed by Herman L. Bennett, Julie Crawford, and Jenny C. Mann

This program focuses on the use of primary materials available for the study of the history, culture, society, and literature of early modern Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic World, broadly conceived. The goal throughout will be to foster interdisciplinary scholarship while considering broad methodological and theoretical problems relevant to current work in early modern studies, especially when working in fields that contain deliberate elisions and silences in their historical archives. Should conditions allow, participants will visit rare materials collections in the spring to explore a variety of printed and manuscript sources relevant to Ph.D. candidates in history and literature, and they will learn (with the support and assistance of staff at the host university libraries) essential research skills as well as strategies for working with digital resources and remediated rare materials. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed course work and preliminary exams; they should be preparing a prospectus or beginning to write chapters. Applicants should consult with their dissertation directors before applying to ensure that their work is at a stage that would benefit from the seminar, and their directors should certify that this is the case in their recommendation letters. Those whose dissertations are substantially complete will not be competitive applicants.

Directors: Herman L. Bennett is Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Director of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC). Among his monographs are Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640 (2003); Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (2009); and African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty & Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic (2019). Julie Crawford is the Mark van Doren Professor of Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Marvelous Protestantism (2004), Mediatrix (2014), and numerous essays on authors ranging from Shakespeare to Anne Clifford and on topics ranging from the history of reading to the history of sexuality. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled “Margaret Cavendish’s Political Career” and editing the Oxford Handbook of Margaret CavendishJenny C. Mann is an Associate Professor of English at New York University with a joint appointment with NYU Gallatin. She has followed her first book, Outlaw Rhetoric: Figuring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare’s England (2012), with The Trials of Orpheus: Poetry, Science, and the Early Modern Sublime (2021). Her current research project explores problems of self-reference in utopian literature from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century.

Anticipated Schedule: Participants will meet virtually over a Friday and Saturday in October, December, and June. In the spring, participants will travel to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University and other special collections in New York that are relevant to their dissertation projects.

Apply: 11 July 2022 for admission and grants-in-aid. This program is only open to consortium affiliates.