Rebecca Zorach, Thinking with Stones in Early Modern Europe | Newberry

Rebecca Zorach, Thinking with Stones in Early Modern Europe

Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University

Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University

Ten-week graduate seminar
Friday, January 15, 2016Friday, March 18, 2016

2 to 5 pm, ten consecutive Fridays

Room B-91

Led by Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University
The application deadline has passed
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Graduate Seminar

This seminar asks how it might change the study of early modern Europe’s material culture to organize our thinking around one particular type of matter: stone.


Using theoretical reference points associated with the “new materialism” and ecocriticism, we will try to think from (or around) the position of stone, stones, and stoniness in a series of different ways:


  • mining
  • building
  • writing
  • growing
  • imaging
  • healing
  • decaying, etc.

Tracing the many manifestations of stone in early modern culture (ca. 1400-1800), we will in the process touch upon many key cultural phenomena for this period, from architecture to collecting to medicine to geology. Over the course of the term, each student will prepare and carry out one or more short presentations of rare books in the Newberry‟s collection. Presentations will involve contextualizing the author, the text, the edition, and any illustrations, giving a few examples of passages and images (they do not assume in-depth familiarity with the entire book) and will enable students to gain familiarity with the study of early modern books and begin developing a research topic for a final paper of 15-20 pages, due at the end of the term.


Prerequisites: Latin strongly recommended but not required; other research languages (French, German, and Italian in particular) are welcome. Previous coursework in early modern art history, history, and/or literature desirable.


Learn more about the instructor: Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University.


Download a PDF flyer to post and distribute.


Students may take this seminar on a not-for-credit basis or arrange to earn credit at their home campuses. When space permits, consortium faculty members are encouraged to audit Newberry seminars, and graduate students from non-consortium schools may also enroll.


Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and Registration Information 

Enrollment is limited, by competitive application, with priority to students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions, in accordance with the consortium agreement. The course fee is waived for consortium students.


The application deadline has passed.