Hilary 2021

Expand All

Organisers: Professor Margaret Bent and Dr Matthew Thompson

Time: Thursdays (Week 1, 5 and 7), 5pm.

Venue: Zoom. To register please fill in this form. Please see attached document for further details on the seminar's online format. 


Week 2: Thursday 28th  January 2021, 5 p.m. 

Grantley McDonald (University of Oxford) 

Emperor Frederick III as patron of music

DiscussantsReinhard Strohm (University of Oxford), Andreas Zajic (University of Vienna) and Catherine Saucier (Arizona State University) 

Abstract: Frederick III (born 1415, ruled 1440–1493) was the first Habsburg to be crowned as Holy Roman Emperor. This paper will discuss several aspects of his musical patronage during his long reign. Firstly, it presents new evidence for the membership of his chapel. Secondly, it discusses problems presented by the surviving sources of polyphonic music containing music written by musicians associated with Frederick’s court, such as Johannes Brassart and Johannes Tourout. Thirdly, it presents a chant book from Frederick’s collection, which appears to record the liturgy of St Jerome’s convent in Vienna, a religious house founded in 1378 for fallen women. This paper presents a sometimes unexpected view of the cultural programme of this pivotal figure in fifteenth-century Imperial politics.  


Week 5: Thursday 18th February 2021, 5 p.m.  

Charles M. Atkinson (The Ohio State University and Universität Würzburg) 

On Modulation in Eastern and Western Chant: Techniques, Texts, and Rhetoric

DiscussantsCalvin Bower (University of Notre Dame), Susan Rankin (University of Cambridge), Alexander Lingas (City, University of London, EHRC Oxford, and Cappella Romana) 

Abstract: This paper will focus on the discussions of modulation in Regino of Prüm's Epistola de harmonica institutione (ca. 900 C.E.), Manuel Chrysaphes' On the Theory of the Art of Chanting (1458 C.E.), and the anonymous 9th-century Scolica enchiriadis, and will present musical examples illustrating the techniques described in these works. Although these techniques are strikingly similar in East and West, the way modulation functions in relation to texts differs drastically in the two regions. As a result, while Regino characterizes modulating chants as nothae--degenerate and illegitimate--Chrysaphes can advance one type, the nenano, as "sweetest and finest." 


Week 7: Thursday 4th March 2021, 5 p.m. 

Cristina Alis Raurich (Schola Cantorum, Basel and Universität Würzburg)  

Flos vernalis and Robertsbridge intabulation style: ornamentation, diminution and intabulation in the 14th century

DiscussantsKarl Kügle (Universities of Oxford and Utrecht) and David Catalunya (University of Oxford) 

Abstract: Until recently, only two sources of Flos vernalis were known: fragments of a vocal version in binding strips in All Souls College, Oxford (MS 56); and its ornamented intabulation in the so-called Robertsbridge MS. Two more concordances of the vocal version have meanwhile been discovered, by Cristina Alís Raurich in Karlsruhe, and in binding strips in Koblenz discovered by Karl Kügle. The new findings allow a reconstruction of almost the entire piece, together with evidence of an otherwise absent third voice. They permit an analysis of the diminution, ornamentation and adaptation techniques in the intabulation which can be related to theoretical texts of the fourteenth century; Flos vernalis was more abundantly embellished than the other intabulations in Robertsbridge. Several of the sources have Cistercian connections.

Time: Wednesday (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7), 2-3.30pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams.

To receive a link to enable you to join online, please register here.


Week 1: Wednesday 20th January  

SARAH GWYNETH ROSS (Boston College):

(Social) Places, Please! The Commedia dell’Arte and the Problem of ‘Class’

SUSAN WISEMAN (Birkbeck, University of London): Non-Elite Women and ‘the Network’: Compatible Categories?


Week 3: Wednesday 3 February

IMOGEN CHOI (Exeter College, Oxford): Exile, Migration and Hospitality: Visions of a Cosmopolitan Society in the Poetry of the Sephardic Diaspora

NEIL KENNY (All Souls College, Oxford): Peasants and Representation: The Case of Noël Du Fail


Week 5: Wednesday 17th February

DAVID LINES (University of Warwick):

Renaissance Aristotelianism and the Problem of Publics between Latin and Vernacular

JONATHAN PATTERSON (St Edmund Hall, Oxford): ‘Greatness going off’: Renaissance Antony and Cleopatra Plays


Week 7: Wednesday 3rd March        

WARREN BOUTCHER (Queen Mary, University of London): Learning, Vernacular Cultures, and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern Europe

DORINE ROUILLER (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin): Erasmus, Citizen of the—or of a—World?

Seminar Leaders: Ros Ballaster, Ellen Brewster, Christine Gerrard, Katie Noble, Nicole Pohl, David Taylor, Ben Wilkinson-Turnball, Abigail Williams

Time: Tuesdays (Weeks 2, 4, 6), 5.30-7pm*. Please note alternate time in Week 6.

Venue: Zoom. Sign up information circulated on Twitter @EngFac18thC.

Seminar programme in front of an 18th century caricature of men in a library


Week 2: Tuesday 26th January, 5.30-7pm

Screening and discussion of Aphra Behn’s The Emperor of the Moon (R/18 Collective)


Week 4: Tuesday 9th February, 5.30-7pm

Roundtable in Memory of Professor Terry Richard (University of Northumbria). Register here.


Claudia Van Hensbergen

An Introduction to Richard Terry’s Work


Christine Gerrard

Mock Heroic: A ‘Life Unaccompanied by Satire’


David Taylor

Richard Terry on Words, Concepts, and the Arrival of ‘Literature’


Ros Ballaster

Friendship no Fallacy: Richard Terry’s Contribution to Feminist Recovery and the Study of Women’s Writing


Jim McLaverty

Pope and Banking: Richard Terry Uncovers the Inauthentic Life?


Abigail Williams

Richard Terry and the Postscript


Week 6: Tuesday 23rd February, *12.30-2pm,

Lucy Powell (Oxford), Jakob Bogdani’s Balding Bullfinch: Still Life Paintings and their Global Stories.

Seminar Convenor: Katherine Ibbet

Time: Thursday (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7),  5pm*. Note the earlier start time in 5th week.   

Venue: Zoom.

Week 1: Thursday Jan 21st, 5pm

Frédéric Charbonneau, McGill: ‘Querelle autour d'un héritage chinois à l'Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1713-1743)’


Week 3: Thursday 4th February, 5pm

Social hour for Oxford early modern French, students and staff


Week 5: Thursday 8th February, 12pm* (note lunchtime slot) - joint session with the APGRD

Tristan Alonge (Maison Française d’Oxford/La Réunion), 'Qui graecizabant lutheranizabant: apprendre le grec de Montaigne à Racine.'


Week 7: Thursday 4th March, 5pm

Matthieu Dupas (Northwestern), Savoir comique, sagesse galante : Mélite ou les fausses Lettres (1629) de Pierre Corneille’


Convenor: Dr Ruggero Sciuto

Time: Tuesdays (Weeks 2*, 4, 6, 8), 5pm

Venue: Zoom. For link email earlymoderndiplomacy@torch.ox.ac.uk .


Week 2: *tbc.


Week 4: Tuesday 9th February, 5pm

Florian Kühnel (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), 'Diplomatic Staff and Competing Norms. A Case Study from 17th-Century Istanbul'.


Week 6: Tuesday 23rd February, 5pm

Mia Rodríguez-Salgado (The London School of Economics), 'Charles V’s diplomatic relations with Muslim powers: rhetoric and reality'.


Week 8: Tuesday 9th March, 5pm

Timothy Hampton (University of California, Berkeley), 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered; Ratification and the Time of Tragedy'.

Seminar Organisers: Louis Morris, Lyndal Roper, Edmund Wareham, Róisín Watson

Time: Wednesdays (Weeks 2,4,6,8). Start times varies.

Venue: Zoom. For the link email edmund.wareham@seh.ox.ac.uk


The seminar meets four times this term on Wednesday afternoons on Zoom. It is held this year once again in collaboration with the Oxford Brookes School of History, Philosophy and Culture.


Week 2:  Wednesday 27 January, 2-4pm,  Perspectives on Early Modern Germany from the GDR, chaired by Paul Betts (St Anthony’s)

Marcus Colla (Christ Church) ‘Luther, Müntzer and the GDR's "Historical Turn" in the 1970s’

Tina Mendelsohn (Lincoln) ‘The Making of the GDR Woman Artist Past and Present’

Bethan Winter (St Peter’s) ‘Baroque to the Future: The SED’s appropriation of Bach for the Teleological Narrative of their Nation Building Project’


Week 4 Wednesday 10 February, 4-6 pm: New Research on the Senses

Jacob M. Baum (Texas Tech) Hearing Loss & Deaf Gain: The Problem of Visual Acuity in the Chronicle of Sebastian Fischer (1513-c.1555)

Philip Hahn (Tübingen) “Rather back to Ceylon than to Swabia”: Global Sensory Experiences of Swabian Artisans in the Service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC)


Week 6 Wednesday 24 February, 4-6 pm

Ruth von Bernuth (North Carolina), ‘Karlstadt and the Jewish Bible’


Week 8 Wednesday 10 March, 2-4 pm

Holly Fletcher (Cambridge), ‘Dress and the Materiality of Bodyweight in Early Modern Germany’

Organisers: Emma Smith, Katie Murphy, Lorna Hutson, Joe Moshenska 

Time: Tuesdays (Week 1, 3, 5), 5.15-7.15pm

Venue: Zoom. 

The Zoom link will be sent out with the weekly CEMS email. Any pre-circulated reading will be made available via the CEMS email. Seminars are open to all (unless otherwise stated) and all are very welcome.


Week 1: Tuesday 19thJanuary, ‘The Fortinbras Effect’

Professor Paulina Kewes, Jesus College, Oxford.

Abstract: Our understanding of Hamlet (c. 1600), a tragedy which famously fuses medieval and Reformation outlooks, changes when we relate it to the unfolding contest over the royal succession. Critics do recognize topical resonance in the play. The extinction of the royal house of Denmark is thought to prefigure the extinction of the Tudors. More specifically, the imminent accession of the Norwegian warrior-prince Fortinbras– a shadowy figure missing from Shakespeare’s Latin and French sources – is taken to suggest the enthronement of the first Stuart king, the Scottish James VI/I. However, differences between the two earliest printed versions of the play (1603, 1604/5) hint at a more complex story. Combining textual criticism and cultural, religious, and historical perspectives, this paper explores Shakespeare’s changing response to immediate concerns about the succession and to larger questions about foreign kingship, religion, and the union of the crowns which had exercised the English – and the Scots, and the French, and the Dutch – for over fifty years. 


Week 3: Tuesday 2nd February, ‘Thinking Genres Globally’

Professor Ayesha Ramachandran (Yale): Lyric Intersections: Ariosto & Harrington

This talk considers the challenges and affordances of thinking with and about lyric in global, cross-cultural contexts. Beginning with a crucial moment of translation in canto 23 of the Orlando furioso, it examines how the lyric poem becomes a node for intersectional investigations of language, race, religion and nation. How do the scales and theoretical frameworks of early modern globality modify or reframe categories of identity, which are the focus of much recent debate in the field? How might attention to lyric thinking—and the position of radical particularity and personhood it embraces—help us to revisit urgent questions about alterity, diversity and the need to recognize individual voices in the sweep of history?  


Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki (Warwick): Tragedy, Travel, Translation

Abstract: This talk considers the formal and conceptual connections between tragedy and travel writing, paying particular attention to the fluctuating fortunes of diplomat Sir Thomas Smythe (1558-1625) and to the writings of poetic theorist and translator William Scott (c. 1571- c. 1617). I propose that poetics supplied travellers with the narrative shapes with which to think about, and describe, their experiences; in turn, travellers tested out and theorised various modes of narration and description, charting fresh territory that was not only geographical, but literary, too.


Week 5: Tuesday 16th February, ‘Early Modern Women and the Poetry of Complaint’

Professor Rosalind Smith (Australian National University) and Professor Sarah Ross (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Abstract:  Our two brief papers will consider how early modern women poets engaged with the mode of complaint, exploring the findings from a three-year collaborative project that has uncovered over 500 complaint poems written by early modern women. Discussion will consider how women’s poetic complaints might be read across multiple textual, material, and performance contexts; how these poems make us reassess questions of form, agency and gender in the period; and what this research tells us about the mode of complaint more broadly.


There will be no seminar in Week 7, due to the Oxford-Harvard Doctoral Workshop which will be taking place on 26th February. Participation in this event is limited to Oxford and Harvard doctoral students and supervisors.

Convenors: Dmitri Levitin and Noel Malcolm

Time: Tuesdays (Weeks 5-8), 2-4pm

Venue: Zoom. Register here to receive the Zoom links.

For an introduction from the convenors, and the termcard please see the attached PDF: 


Week 5: Tuesday 16th February, 2-4pm

DMITRI LEVITIN (All Souls, Oxford), ‘“No Other Issue in the History of Ideas has ever been Subjected to the Same Degree of Scrutiny”. The Origins of the Synoptic Problem, from Palestine to Göttingen (via India)’


Week 6: Tuesday 23rd February, 2-4pm

MICHELLE PFEFFER (Magdalen, Oxford), ‘The Making of a Materialist in Seventeenth-Century England: Scholarship, Society, and the Soul’


Week 7: Tuesday 2nd March, 2-4pm

GRANTLEY MCDONALD (Faculty of Music, Oxford), ‘Georgius Slatkonia and the Viennese Network of Humanists and Natural Philosophers around the Court of Maximilian I Habsburg’


Week 8: Tuesday 9th March, 2-4pm

 AUDREY BOROWSKI (Queen’s, Oxford), ‘Gottfried Leibniz on the Querelle des anciens et des modernes and the Republic of Letters’

Convenors: Kate Allen (Exeter College) and Leah Veronese (Balliol college)

Time: Tuesdays (Weeks 2,4,6,8), 5.15pm.

Venue: Zoom.

All early modern graduate students warmly invited

2nd week: Tuesday 26th January, 5.15pm

Lakshmi Balakrishnan (The Queen’s College): The Economy of Emotions in Shakespeare

Heather McTaggart (Lincoln College): An Honest Heretic?: The Spanish Ambassadors’ Depictions of Elizabethan Courtiers


4th week: Tuesday 9th February, 5.15pm

Molly Clark (Merton College): Macbeth’s Ambiguous Couplets

Flynn Allott (Oriel College): Ramist Tabulae and Cartographic Metaphor in The Anatomy of Melancholy


6th week: Tuesday 23rd February, 5.15pm

Rachael Hodge (St John’s College): “With the tragedie of...”: Tragedy as “Play-Patch” in the 1590s theatres.

Lucy Fleming (New College): A Mole Upon Her Neck: Rewriting Chaste Rape in Cymbeline for Young Readers.


8th week: Tuesday 9th March, 5.15pm

Alexander Laar (New College): “Furnished for all matters”: humanism and astrology in the library of Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577).

Katie Mennis (Somerville College): Roman-Cast Similitude: The ‘Self-Latinisations’ of Thomas May and Andrew Marvell.

Convenors: Ian Archer, Alexandra Gajda, Steven Gunn and Lucy Wooding

Time: Thursday, 5pm.

Venue: Teams

Suggested preparatory reading follows the titles.


Week 1: Thursday 21st January, 5pm

Dr Martin Ingram (Brasenose College) ‘Anxious Patriarchs? Male Complaints of Spousal Abuse in Tudor England’

Preparatory reading: Laura Gowing, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London (Oxford, 1996), ch. 6; Bernard Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family, and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2003), pp. 10, 13–14, 31–33, 72–9, 84–90, 103–25; Martin Ingram, ‘Ridings, Rough Music and the “Reform of Popular Culture” in Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 105 (Nov. 1984), 79–113 and/or idem, ‘Charivari and Shame Punishments: Folk Justice and State Justice in Early Modern England’, in Herman Roodenburg and Pieter Spierenburg (eds), Social Control in Europe. Volume 1, 1500–1800 (Columbus, OH, 2004), pp. 288–308.


Week 2: Thursday 28th January, 5pm

Dr Sonia Tycko (St Peter’s College and RAI) ‘Consent in Apprenticeship Indentures’

Preparatory reading: Steve Hindle and Ruth Wallis Herndon, ‘Recreating Proper Families in England and North America: Pauper Apprenticeship in Transatlantic Context’, in Ruth Wallis Herndon and John E. Murray, eds. Children Bound to Labor: The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America (2009); Patrick Wallis, ‘Labor, Law, and Training in Early Modern London: Apprenticeship and the City’s Institutions’, Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012), 791–819; Laura Gowing, ‘Girls on Forms: Apprenticing Young Women in Seventeenth-Century London’, Journal of British Studies, 55 (2016), 447–73.


Week 3: Thursday 4th February, 5pm

Natasha Bailey (New College) ‘John Mill’s Chapel Lectures in Early Enlightenment Oxford: Between Textual Criticism and Apologetics’

Tim Wade (New College) ‘Erasmus and the Religious Orders of England: the case of Merton Priory’

Preparatory reading: James Clark, 'Humanism and Reform in Pre-Reformation English Monasteries', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 19 (2009), pp. 57-93.


Week 4: Thursday 11th February, 5pm

Dr Laura Flannigan (Christ Church) ‘The King's Justice: Local Issues in the Royal Council Courts of Tudor England’

Preparatory reading: John Guy, ‘Wolsey, the Council, and the Council courts’, English Historical Review 91 (1976), 481- 505; Richard Hoyle, ‘Petitioning as popular politics in early sixteenth-century England’, Historical Research 75 (2002), 365-89; Laura Flannigan, ‘Litigants in the English “Court of Poor Men's Causes”, or Court of Requests, 1515-1525’, Law and History Review 38 (2020), 303-37.


Week 5: Thursday 18th February, 5pm

Dr Fred Smith (Clare College, Cambridge) ‘“[A]n exempler to the rest”: The Marian Church in Counter-Reformation Europe’

Preparatory reading: E. Duffy, Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor (London, 2009), ch. 9; A. Pettegree, ‘A. G. Dickens and his critics: a new narrative of the English Reformation’, Historical Research, 77 (2004), 39–58.


Week 6: Thursday 25th February, 5pm

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (Trinity College, Dublin) ‘Ireland, Empire, and the Early Modern World: Discussion of the James Ford Lectures in British History’

Preparatory reading: William O'Reilly, 'Ireland in the Atlantic World: Migration and Cultural Transfer', in Jane Ohlmeyer (ed), The Cambridge History of Ireland vol. II 1550-1730 (Cambridge, 2018), pp. 385-410; Charles Ivar McGrath, Ireland and Empire 1692-1770 (London, 2012), ch. 3.


Week 7: Thursday 4th March, 5pm

Graduate student transfer of status presentations


Week 8: Thursday 11th March, 5pm

Graduate student transfer of status presentations

Convenors: Sophie Aldred (Worcester) and Alex Beeton (New College)

Time: Mondays (Weeks 1,3,5,7), 5pm.

Venue: Teams.


Week 1: Monday 18th January, 5pm

Jason Peacey (UCL): ‘Radical thought and political practice: retinking ideas of accountability in the English Revolution’.


Week 3: Monday 1st February, 5pm

William White (York): ‘Episcopalians and the Interregnum Church: Remembering Conformity after 1660’.


Week 5: Monday 15th February, 5pm

David Como (Stanford): tbc.


Week 7: Monday 1st March, 5pm

Sarah Ward, (UWE Bristol): ‘God’s Vigilant Watchmen: The Oppositional Words of Episcopalian Clergy in Wales, 1646-1660’.