Theme Courses Theme Events Theme Links

The 2007-2008 EMC Theme, "Science & Technology," will provide a forum to explore these two terms as interrelated and mutually constitutive fields of inquiry in the early modern period. We conceive of science and technology as a broad range of social and cultural practices, cultural and historical formations, and epistemological perspectives. Fields of study that might fall under such a broad definition of science and technology include: horticulture, botany, engineering, automata, stage machinery, navigation, cartography, anatomy, medicine, alchemy, the occult, taxonomy, archiving, printing, and information science. Across these and other fields, we want to ask questions such as: How and why were systems of knowledge created and proliferated? What particular scientific developments participated in the exploration of the body, the mind, time, and space? How were individuals, communities, and nations impacted by new systems of knowledge, particular objects or hardware, or advanced procedures to accomplish tasks?

Each year the Early Modern Center and its affiliates organize a number of exciting courses and events around the yearly theme. Several early modern graduate and undergraduate courses will be in dialogue with the year’s theme. The EMC will host a Winter conference on "Science & Technology, 1500-1800" as well a Spring undergraduate conference showcasing students’ work from participating courses throughout the year.

Other than in previous years, this year's Fall Colloquium will be on a theme separate from the annual theme, and will instead commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade.

Science and Technology Courses

(Spring 2008) ENGL 149: Media and Information Culture: Media History of the American Revolution (Undergraduate)
This course is developed out of three cardinal and interrelated assumptions:

1. History: The American Revolution is the formative historical episode of American history; it not only brings ‘invents’ America as an independent state; it also seeds our political culture with its most characteristic ideas, its dominant narrative (the struggle for freedom in popular cinema like Star Wars and The Matrix), as well as its specific scenarios for political action and social reform. More than a founding myth, the American Revolution haunts our political culture and periodically returns, for example in the struggle for Abolition (of Black slavery); Women’s Suffrage; Civil Rights; the Free Speech Movement; and even the Internet ‘Revolution’. Although our course will center on writing of the 18th century, we will occasionally cross cut between the first American Revolution and its periodic “returns.”

2. Action: To make revolution, the first men and women to call themselves Americans had recourse to a wide range of communications practices and media: speeches, letters, the newspaper article, pamphlets, the political petition, street demonstrations, songs, and, most consequentially of all, the collective public “declaration.” We will study this rich ecology of communication to take account of a) the media and communications infrastructure of colonial America: the Royal Post, the newspapers, and various voluntary associations (clubs, assemblies, town meetings); and b) some of the distinctive communication innovations of the revolution (Boston’s development of a network of towns and colonies; the organization of the Continental Congress; and, the performance of a collective public declaration {e.g. The Declaration of Independence in 1776}). Finally we will study how the communications protocols developed in the revolutionary period, which valued media that was distributed, open, public, and free, were incorporated into the official media policy of the American Republic.

3. Ideology: The core idea of the American Revolution is liberty. In the centuries since the American Revolution, liberty has been given numberless extensions and a daunting variety of roles. Liberty is often seen as the means, the end, and the chief virtue of American culture. It has been used to claim the natural rights of women and black slaves. But, more problematically, the claim to liberty has also been used to justify the conquest of the West and the invasion of other countries. Through a reading of some of the founding documents of this country, we will seek to analyze and specify this complex and multi-faceted concept. We will take account of its origins in the history and culture of England and seek to understand how “liberty” acquired new articulations in the struggle against British imperial rule.

In order to gain a useful preliminary understanding of the American Revolution, we will read a short but authoritative book, entitled The American Revolution, by Gordon Wood. To relate the American Revolution to its media history and ideology, we will read a broad spectrum of the literature of the American Revolution: Joseph Addison’s popular play about republican liberty, Cato {1704}; the influential articles written by the Pennsylvania lawyer John Dickinson to defend the colonists against new British laws, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania {1768-9}; the pamphlet published by the Boston Committee of Correspondence to network the towns to Massachusetts and mobilize them to resist British measures, The Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston {1772}; Thomas Jefferson’s Summary View {1774}; the most popular pamphlet of the revolutionary era, which convinced most of the need for American independence from Britain, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. By reading this ‘literature of liberty’ against the backdrop of the revolutionary events they reference and support, this course should provide a new context for reading American’s founding documents — The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the first acts establishing copyright and the post. Because of the persistence of the American Revolution in later epoch, we will be exploring modern media culture for analogs of 18th century American events. For example, we will discuss how the Vietnam War and the Iraq war have been justified through appeal to liberty and freedom.

Requirements: one short in class presentation; a quiz, a midterm, a paper (that links some aspect of the American Revolution to the present) and a final exam.

WARNING & TRUTH IN ADVERTISING: Although I find the writing of American’s revolutionary epoch to be political “literature” of the highest quality, it is not to everyone’s taste. While we will do the close readings of complex texts found in many of our English courses, we will also develop an historical and media studies approach to these texts that will be quite different than many English department courses.

Texts (key): • Course Reader o Milton, John. Areopagitica, selections o Locke, John. 2nd Treatise, selections o Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennyslvania. [check on possible editions — perhaps I can Xerox from a 19th century edition in the public domain…or from newspaper editions] o Boston Committee of Correspondence, Votes and Proceedings o Jefferson, Thomas. Summary View o Yankee Doodle and other ballads o Arendt, Hannah. Selections from On Revolution and “Labor, Work, Action” o Habermas, Jurgen. Encyclopedia article on Public Sphere • Wood, Gordon. The American Revolution • Addison, Joseph. Cato • Paine, Thomas. Common SenseDeclaration of Independence and Other Documents: from Patrick Henry to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Applies to LCI Specialization.
(Spring 2008) ENGL 231: Studies in Renaissance Literature: Technologies of Reading in Early Modern England (Graduate)
In this course we will explore technologies of reading in early modern England. In the first part of the course we will consider the materials of reading (scrolls, codices, script, print, type, glosses, indices) and ask how these materials might shape the ways readers attend to texts. We will then turn to historically specific methods of engaging with the written (humanist, Christian, literary) in order to better understand the strategies and purposes of early modern reading. We will not only discuss the work of scholars concerned with the history of the book and the history of reading (Chartier, Eisenstein, Grafton), but will also take up scholarship addressing the history of hermeneutics and exegesis (Cave, Derrida, Ricoeur). Early modern writers we will address will include Bacon, Erasmus, Luther, Marlowe, Petrarch, Shakespeare, and Spenser.
(Winter 2008) ENGL 10EM: Introduction to Literary Study: Early Modern (Undergraduate)
Acquaints students with purposes and tools of literary interpretation. Introduces techniques and vocabulary of analytic discussion and critical writing. Emphasis is on early modern studies. The class also introduces students to the Early Modern Center located within the English Department. Materials will focus on the EMC annual theme for 2007-2008, Science and Technology. Readings will include an assortment of poetry, nonfiction essays, short prose and two plays, Dr. Faustus and The Alchemist. Work for the course consists of two essays and a final exam, in addition to other in-class assignments.
(Fall 2007) ENGL 197: Upper-Division Seminar: Writing Nature in the Eighteenth Century (Undergraduate)
What do we mean by "nature"? Do natural entities have rights? Are there non-human forms of agency? Who might "speak for" (or represent) Nature, and how? What is "environmental literature," and where did it come from? Questions like these - ethical, historical, literary, scientific, and political - emerged in the early modern period, when new ways of thinking about the natural world developed that still shape environmental debates today.

Starting with the story of the Golden Spruce, a 250-year-old genetically unique specimen destroyed in 1997 by an ex-logger fighting against clearcutting, we trace the modern conflict of preservation and productivity in 18th-c. novels, poetry, satire, and travel and scientific writing by Swift, Pope, Leapor, Collier, Goldsmith, Cowper, and Goethe, among others.

This course counts toward the English Department's "Early Modern Studies" and "Literature and the Environment" emphases.
(Fall 2007) ENGL 197: Upper-Division Seminar: Brave New Worlds: Utopianism in Early Modern England (Undergraduate)
In this course we will explore utopian thought in the imaginative writing of early modern England. After a brief survey of relevant classical and medieval texts at the beginning of the term, we will read More’s Utopia, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Neville’s Isle of Pines, and Cavendish’s The Blazing World. Our study of these texts will be driven by questions concerning the rise of science and the desire to master nature; the economics of labor; the rationalization of the state; and the impact of the discovery of the new world on the cultural imagination of Europe.

This course cannot be repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
(Fall 2007) ENGL 10EM: Introduction to Literary Study: Early Modern (Undergraduate)
Acquaints students with purposes and tools of literary interpretation. Introduces techniques and vocabulary of analytic discussion and critical writing. Emphasis is on early modern studies. The class also introduces students to the Early Modern Center located within the English Department.
(Fall 2007) ENGL 236: Studies in Literary Criticism and Theory: Editing the Archive, Archiving the Edition. (Graduate)
Literary texts are increasingly sourced from and deposited within electronic archives. This course will survey the history of editing and archiving in the humanities, from its beginnings to our digital present. Whilst an ‘archival turn’ away from the printed critical edition towards the digital archive has been widely predicted and generally welcomed, the terms through which the archive might be critically addressed are as yet unclear. The course will ask how far book history and bibliography, editorial and archival theory and the emerging disciplines of textual studies and digital humanities might shape archival practices, and how they might be shaped by them in turn. We will explore fundamental archival and editorial practices such as collection, transcription, annotation and commentary through historical, methodological and theoretical readings, and through selected case studies.

Science and Technology Events

(10/16/2008) A Lecture with Thomas Pettitt
Thursday, October 16, 2008, 4.30-6.30pm; SH 2635.

Renowned folklore and media studies scholar Thomas Pettitt (University of Southern Denmark) will present a lecture titled "The Gutenberg Parenthesis (Renegotiating Mediaeval Studies and Media Studies)" - all interested persons are invited to attend.

For more information on Thomas Pettitt, please visit his homepage.
(5/16/2008) Work-in-Progress: Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook
Friday, May 16, 2008, 11.30-1pm, in South Hall 1415.

Please join us for Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook's presentation of a part of her current research on "Arboreal Values" in an informal lecture, followed by a Q&A period.

For more information on Professor Cook's current research, please visit her Early Modern Center CV page.
(5/16/2008) Arnhold Lecture
Friday, May 16, 3-5pm; South Hall 2635.

Giles Bergel, the current Arnhold Postdoctoral Fellow in Early Modern Literature and Media Technology, will present the final lecture of his tenure at this event, entitled: "What was The Wandering Jew's Chronicle? Reflections on the History of the Book in the Age of Digital Reproduction."

The lecture will be followed by a reception to celebrate Giles's work at UCSB and congratulate him on his move to other, equally green pastures.

For more information on Giles Bergel's current work, please visit his Early Modern Center CV page.

For information regarding the Arnhold Postdoctoral Fellowship, click here.
(4/14/2008) Seminar & Lecture with Robert Davis
Monday, April 14 & Tuesday, April 15, 2008.

Professor Robert Davis (History, Ohio State University) will be participating in three events on UCSB campus:

Class Lecture: Mon, Apr 14, 2pm; Bren 1414.
Prof. Davis will lecture in Carole Paul's undergraduate class on The Grand Tour.

Seminar: Tue, Apr 15, 12-2pm; IHC Seminar Room 6056.
Prof. Davis will present a chapter of his new research project entitled "Counting slaves in the Early-modern Mediterranean." The chapter will be distributed in advance to all those who will request it; please contact Claudio Fogu in the Department of French and Italian ( A cold lunch will also be served.

Lecture: Tue, Apr 15, 3.30pm; McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020.
Prof. Davis will give his talk on "The Celebration of Slavery in the Christian-Muslim World." Refreshments will be served around 5:30.

Robert Davis is professor of Italian Renaissance and Early-modern Mediterranean history. He has researched and published on Italian – and especially Venetian - society and popular culture during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. He is the author of Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1991), The War of the Fists (New York: Oxford UP, 1994), and Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters (London: Palgrave UP, 2003); and co-author of the forthcoming Venice, Tourist Maze (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004). He has also contributed to and co-edited two collected volumes on Italian Renaissance topics: (with Judith C. Brown) Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy (Harlow, UK: Longman, 1998); and (with Benjamin Ravid) The Jews of Early Modern Venice (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins UP, 2001). His current research deals with brigand unrest in central Italy during the late sixteenth century.
(3/14/2008) EMC Winter Conference: "Science & Technology, 1500-1800"
Friday, March 14, 2008; McCune Conference Room, Humanities & Social Sciences Building 6020, UCSB.

An interdisciplinary one-day conference sponsored by the Early Modern Center, in collaboration with the Transcriptions Project, on the EMC's annual theme.

This one-day conference will be a forum to explore the two interrelated fields of science and technology in the early modern period. We conceive of science and technology as a broad range of social and cultural practices, cultural and historical formations, and epistemological perspectives. How and why were systems of knowledge created and proliferated? What particular scientific developments participated in the exploration of the body, the mind, time, and space? How were individuals, communities, and nations impacted by new systems of knowledge, particular objects or hardware, or advanced procedures to accomplish tasks? Since both the Early Modern Center and the Transcriptions Project undertake initiatives that bridge the study of digital media and the humanities, we are also interested in proposals that apply the perspectives of new media study to the cultural formations of the early modern period.

For more information about the conference - CFP, conference program and registration, and more - please visit the conference website.
(3/7/2008) UCSB Eighteenth Century Reading Group, Winter Meeting
Fri, Mar 7, 1.30-3pm; Early Modern Center (SH 2510).

You are cordially invited to join the UCSB Eighteenth Century Reading Group in a discussion of selections from Michael McKeon's book The Secret History of Domesticity. We will focus on the introduction as well as chapters 4 and 7, though you are very welcome to read more broadly. The selections have been posted on ERes; please email Sören Hammerschmidt for the required ERes password.
(2/15/2008) A Reading of Work-in-Progress: Anita Guerrini
Friday, Feb 15, 2008, 3.30-5pm; South Hall 2635

Please join us for an informal meeting to discuss a draft chapter of Professor Guerrini's current book project on "the animal projects of the early Paris Academy of Science and the King's Garden in the context of 17th century Paris."

For more information on Professor Guerrini's current research projects, please visit her webpage.
(2/8/2008) Seminar with Raymond G. Siemens
Friday, February 8, 2008, 2-4pm; South Hall 2635.

Please join us for a seminar on electronic editing and early modern texts with Raymond G. Siemens (English, University of Victoria). The event will feature a presentation on research currently conducted by Professor Siemens and a group of scholars at the University of Victoria, followed by an open forum for discussion of the issues the paper and presentation have raised.

New Title! "Drawing Networks in the Devonshire MS (BL Add Ms 17492)."
Based on work carried out by Ray Siemens, Johanne Paquette, and the ETCL group, work discussed in this presentation has its roots in the way in which physical and authorial space interact in manuscript miscellanies and the difficulties associated with conveying such representation, traditionally and otherwise. Especially, we will discuss the result of our experimentation in the conveyance of such information in the course of our exploring exchanges within the Devonshire MS (BL Add Ms 17492).

Ray Siemens is Professor of English and Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing at the University of Victoria. He is President (English) of the Society for Digital Humanities Société pour l'étude des médias interactifs, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College London, and Visiting Research Professor Sheffield Hallam University. Director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and founding editor of the electronic scholarly journal Early Modern Literary Studies, he is also author of works chiefly focusing on areas where literary studies and computational methods intersect, is editor of several Renaissance texts, is series co-editor of Topics in the Digital Humanities (U Illinois P) and is co-editor of several book collections on humanities computing topics, among them the Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities (2004) and Mind Technologies (U Calgary P, 2006).
(2/4/2008) Lecture by Matthew Landrus
Monday, February 4, 2008, 5-6pm; Engineering Science Building 2001

Reknowned da Vinci scholar Matthew Landrus (Rhode Island School of Design) will deliver a lecture entitled "Leonardo da Vinci: The Process of Invention."
(11/30/2007) Conference: Science as Navigation: Leonhard Euler's Journeys
Friday, November 30, 2007, 9am-7pm; HSSB, 6th floor, McCune Conference Room. Free and open to the public.

An International Conference at UC Santa Barbara on the Occasion of Leonhard Euler’s 300th Birthday.
This one-day conference investigates the central role played, in the life and work of Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), by the description, calculation and analysis of sites or places (topoi). Active for many years in Saint Petersburg and Berlin and fluent in at least three languages, Euler was no stranger to changes in location and to the negotiation of different cultural and scientific contexts and their respective rhetorical, cultural, and scientific conventions. However, Euler's more specifically scientific activity in mathematics, astronomy, geometry, engineering and philosophy is also linked, in more ways than one, to the problem of topoi and their notation. Not only is his solution to the problem of the "Seven Bridges of Königsberg" considered one of the early foundations of mathematical topology, he also devoted much energy to ship building and navigation. During his stay at the Petersburg Academy, Euler carried out important work in cartography, which he blamed for contributing to his failing eyesight. Finally, many of the letters Euler wrote to the Princess of Anhalt-Dessau can be considered topoi in a more literary sense: they are reworkings of more or less traditional (scientific) sites and materials, building blocks for a comprehensive topology of culture founded on exact science and the ideals of the Enlightenment.

For more information and the conference schedule, please visit the official conference website.

This international conference is being organized by the Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies at UCSB, and co-sponsored by the EMC and the Department of English.
(9/19/2007) Text Encoding Seminar & Workshop

The UC Transliteracies Project and UCSB Early Modern Center are pleased to announce that they are jointly hosting a Text Encoding Seminar at UCSB instructed by Julia Flanders and Syd Bauman of Brown University. (See here for full description and schedule, and a suggested advance reading list.)

Registration for the event is free (please register with Alan Liu). All presentations are open except for the two hands-on workshops, which have limited enrollment (if interested, request enrollment in the workshops at the time of registration). Events will be held in the UCSB English Dept. (South Hall, 2nd floor).

The goal of the Seminar is two-fold: first, to provide faculty and students in the humanities and other fields with an opportunity to examine the significance of text encoding as a scholarly practice, through a combination of discussion and practical experimentation. And second, to provide supporting resources for researchers who want to experiment with text encoding on their own, or would like to start or become involved with a digital research project. The resources and events on the schedule of the seminar are all aimed at faculty and students who have little or no technical experience but are interested in digital textuality. In addition to providing support in grappling with the technical topics, these resources also engage with the scholarly issues that surround these technologies.

Dr. Julia Flanders is Director of Brown University Women Writers Project; Associate Director of Brown Scholarly Technology Group; Editor-in-chief of Digital Humanities Quarterly; and Vice-chair of the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) Consortium. Syd Bauman is Senior Programmer/Analyst at the Brown University Women Writers Project. The bulk of funding for this Seminar is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which gave the Brown University Women Writers Project a grant to support a series of such seminars around the nation.

See here for general information about text encoding and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines (an international and interdisciplinary standard that enables libraries, museums, publishers, and individual scholars to represent a variety of literary and linguistic texts for online research, teaching, and preservation).


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