Premodern Studies Seminar | Newberry

Premodern Studies Seminar

This seminar provides a forum for new approaches to classical, medieval, and early modern studies, allowing scholars from a range of disciplines to share works-in-progress with the broader community at the Center for Renaissance Studies. Our sessions feature discussion of a pre-circulated paper and a presentation of materials from the Newberry collections. We meet three times a year. Every meeting is free and open to the public, and participants are encouraged to attend as many seminars as they are able.

Organized by Timothy Crowley, Northern Illinois University; Megan Heffernan, DePaul University; Lydia Barnett, Northwestern University; and Christopher Fletcher, the Newberry.

The seminar will meet 2-4 pm at the Newberry in Chicago on the following days during the 2019-2020 academic year: Friday, December 6, 2019; Friday, February 21, 2020; and Friday, May 1, 2020.

The Premodern Studies Seminar Call for Proposals for 2019-20 seminars is now OPEN. The theme of the 2019-2020 seminars will be “Premodern Knowledge.” Our aim is to explore how knowledge was made, preserved, and disseminated in the medieval and early modern periods, and to consider the ways in which premodern knowledge continues to shape how contemporary society views and makes sense of the world. What counted as knowledge in an age that witnessed an expanding awareness of the physical and natural world, constantly developing technologies for transmitting information, and profound changes in social and intellectual networks? And how ought we to understand the legacy of this knowledge today?

We encourage papers that draw upon the Newberry collection. In addition to a classroom seminar format, presenters may request a hands-on workshop with original materials from the collection; please indicate interest in this option in your proposal. Proposals will be accepted until June 1, 2019.

To submit a proposal, visit our webform and upload a one-page proposal (200 words), a list of Newberry materials related to your research, a statement explaining the relationship of the paper to your other work, and a brief CV. The Newberry is unable to provide additional funds for travel or lodging, but can assist in locating discounted accommodations.

If you have any questions about the seminar, please send an email to

Upcoming Events

Friday, December 6, 2019
Premodern Studies Seminar
Ordering the Ground Lauren Cannady, Clark Art Institute Respondent: Claudia Swan, Northwestern University
Friday, February 21, 2020
Premodern Studies Seminar
Literature and Knowledge in Late Medieval England: A Codicological Perspective Michael Johnston, Purdue University Respondent: Nicole Clifton, Northern Illinois University
Friday, May 1, 2020
Premodern Studies Seminar
“I await the financial recovery of France”: Funding Archaeological Fieldwork in the Age of Enlightenment Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Louisville