Early Modern Studies Concentration for Graduate Students
in the Departments of English, History, Modern Languages and Literatures

The Early Modern Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures (Romance Studies, Spanish and French). Graduate students will continue to be housed in any one of the three departments and must fulfill the requirements of their discipline.  To qualify for the Concentration, students must successfully complete a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in one or both of the other two departments, substituting for courses within their department; and a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in early modern studies within their department.

Why an Early Modern Studies Concentration?
Support for Early Modern Studies at the University of Miami
Library Resources
CAS Faculty in the Early Modern Period
Early Modern Graduate Courses


Why an Early Modern Studies Concentration?

The University of Miami’s strength in early modern, transatlantic, and Caribbean studies translates into dynamic learning experiences for our graduate students. In conceptualizing the early modern period in both interdisciplinary and transnational terms, this concentration will better prepare our graduate students as scholars and teachers. As an example, students interested in the early modern English world can take advantage of classes that focus on literature as well as the histories of political and religious thought both in England and its colonies. Likewise, with our faculty’s wide-ranging coverage of the Spanish world, students can draw on literary analyses of the Golden Age as well as histories of Spanish-indigenous encounters, the Spanish colonial system in Latin America, and the Inquisition. The same can be said for students with interests in French colonial systems, given our faculty’s collective strengths in the French Caribbean. With the Early Modern Studies Concentration, students will:

• gain transcultural and interdisciplinary knowledge for stronger intellectual coherence within their program of study;
• enroll in courses with various faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences and interact with graduate students in other departments;
• apply their coursework in selected courses to their language requirements within their home department;
• gain the competency to design and teach interdisciplinary courses or comparative courses in one or more disciplines once graduated;
• be more competitive on the academic job market and in government and international positions. 

Support for Early Modern Studies at the University of Miami

The Department of English enjoys considerable strength in the study of literature and culture of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Scholars who teach and write about this period of English literary history are engaged in exciting and innovative work, particularly in the following areas: Women’s Writing, Gender Studies, and Sexuality; Race, Religion, Ethnicity, and the Transnational; Popular Culture and Cultural Studies; Genre Studies.  The department’s strengths in Caribbean, colonial, and trans-Atlantic studies further complement the courses and research by faculty in the early modern period, fostering a rich climate for the study of early modern European literature and culture in a truly transnational context.

The Department of History has strong representation in the early modern era, with faculty working on colonial Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America as well as England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. As this listing suggests, we conceptualize the early modern world broadly, employing transnational approaches to the study of this era. The History Department, moreover, has particular complementary concentrations in cultural, political, and religious history.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures hosts a biannual Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque symposium that invites distinguished faculty as keynote speakers, and attracts from 60 to 80 participants from across the United States and other countries. Several publications have resulted from papers read at the meetings. Its faculty teaches courses in Renaissance and Baroque Spanish and Colonial Studies as well as 17th and 18th century French. 

The Center for the Humanities sponsors a thriving interdisciplinary Early Modern Studies Research Group.  Organized by Professors Maria Stampino (MLL) and Karl Gunther (History), and drawing paricipants and presenters from universities across south Florida, the group meets monthly during the academic year to discuss pre-circulated work-in-progress over lunch.  The group provides an excellent forum for gradute students to participate in the vibrant intellectual community of early modernists in Miami and workshop dissertation chapters and conference papers.

The University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum is in possession of a permanent collection with impressive strengths in Renaissance and Baroque paintings, housed in its Kress Gallery, by artists including Lippo Vanni, Guidoccio Cozzarelli, Bernardino Fungai, Battista Dossi, Sofonisba Anguissola, Jacob Jordaens, Nicolaes van Galen, El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera, Thomas Gainsborough, Leonardo Carlo Coccorante, and numerous others.

Graduate students who have completed at least two courses in early modern studies may submit an essay for the yearly $1,000 Essay Award in Early Modern Studies.  Past award winners include 

  • Anne Schmalstig, "'To Our Owne Benefits': Strategic Humility and Redemption in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus" (2016)

  • Francesca Aguiló Mora, "Bilingüismo léxico por sujetos biculturales en los Comentarios reales del Inca Garcilaso y en la Primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno de Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala" (2015)

  •  Simonetta Marin, "A New Image for a New Devotion: The Fleshy Heart of Jesus" (2014)

Library Resources

The Special Collections at the University of Miami’s Richter Library has particular strengths in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish literature and drama; seventeenth-century British political and constitutional history and in eighteenth-century Caribbean cultural and political history. Access to important electronic resources is available through the University of Miami Library website.  Resources include Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), the Brown Women Writers Project, Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers 1500-1700; Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance; the Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts; the Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation; Early American Imprints (Series I, Evans); and the Chadwyck-Healey Individual Literature Collections. The Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Kirsch Rare Book Room at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Campus preserves 3,000 books dating from 1496 to 1900, including the first German textbook on ophthalmology written in 1583, a rare second edition published 100 years later, and a 1613 book on depth perception with drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, as well as books on optics by Johann Kepler (1611), René Descartes (1664), and Sir Isaac Newton (1704).

The Cuban Theater Digital Archive (CTDA) includes materials digitized and filmed in Cuba and outside the island as well as resources and information related to Cuban theater, with a special focus on theater produced by Cuban communities in the United States. Plays staged by Cuban theater repertoires and archived play scripts include those by early modern playwrights such as Calderón de la Barca, Carlo Goldoni, Lope de Vega, Molière, and Shakespeare.

CAS Faculty in the Early Modern Period

Art and Art History
Karen Matthews  Medieval art, Islamic art.
Perri Lee Roberts – Italian Renaissance.

English Department
Anthony Barthelemy  Renaissance literature, race and sexuality, Shakespeare’s Italy, intersections of politics and form. 
Tassie Gwilliam  Restoration and eighteenth-century popular culture and elite literature, sexuality and gender, medicine and literature.
Pamela Hammons  Renaissance and medieval literature, especially poetry; women’s writing; property and material culture; manuscript studies; literary theories, especially feminisms and queer theory.
Frank Palmeri  Comparative eighteenth- and nineteenth-century (including historiography, philosophy, and the visual arts), narrative theory, satire, postmodernism.
Jessica Rosenberg  Early modern English literature and culture, the history of science (especially of practical knowledge), the history of the book and of material texts; literary and critical theory, including science studies and poetics.
Mihoko Suzuki  Renaissance and early modern studies, English and continental; gender and authorship; early modern political thought and historiography; the classical tradition.
Susanne Woods  Renaissance literature, Milton, women writers, versification, literary feminisms, gender and authorship.

History Department
Karl Gunther  Early modern Britain, Reformation, politics
Mary Lindemann  Early modern Europe, Germany, history of medicine
Martin Nesvig  Latin America, Colonial Mexico, the Inquisition
Guido Ruggiero  Italian Renaissance, gender, sexuality, literature, microhistory.
Hugh Thomas  Medieval England
Ashli White  Atlantic world, slavery, revolutions, and material culture.

Modern Languages and Literatures
Susanna Allés-Torrent – Iberian medieval, digital humanities
Viviana Díaz Balsera – Early modern Spanish and Colonial Latin American literatures, cultures, and postcolonial studies.
Logan J. Connors – Eighteenth-Century French Theater, Theater and Performance Studies, Cultural Polemics, History of the Emotions, Early Modern European Literature
Laura Giannetti – Renaissance Italian, literature and culture, Renaissance drama, gender and sexuality, women's studies.
Ralph Heyndels – Classical, modern and contemporary French and comparative literature, critical theory, philosophy, postcolonial cultural studies, gay studies.
Maria Galli Stampino – Italian and French Renaissance and Baroque Literatures and cultures, performance studies

Early Modern Graduate Courses

Students in the early modern concentration may chose from a variety of courses offered each semester.  Some recent course offerings include:

  • Logan Connors (MLL), “Controversy and Creation: a polemical history of French Classical Theater”
  • Pamela Hammons (English), "Queering Early English Literary History"
  • Karl Gunther (History), "The Tudors" and "Field Seminar in Early Modern European History"
  • Mary Lindemann (History), “The Early Modern Urban Experience” and "Science, Magic, and Medicine"
  • Martin Nesvig (History), "New Conquest History"
  • Guido Ruggiero (History), "Fiction and Friction in History" and "Rethinking Machiavelli"
  • Mihoko Suzuki (English), "Gender and Authorship in Early Modern England" and "Order and Disorder in Seventeenth-Century England"

 Courses offered in Spring 2017:

 Courses Day Description

ENG 621: Studies in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama

 Prof. Anthony Barthelemy


The Age of Discovery and the flourishing of Merchant Capitalism all coincided with what used to be known as the Golden Age of English Drama.  England, long on the peripheries of Christendom with a limited sphere of influence, was beginning to glance west, as was the rest of Europe. The public theater, however, provided Englishmen an opportunity to see and understand the quickly-changing world and to contemplate their place in it.  Marlowe famously followed the map in Tamburlaine the Great and thrilled his audience by merely naming places in the mysterious east.  The stage opened the world to sixteenth-century Englishmen and women, and plays helped create a sense of national identity and nationalism that reflected the striving for empire that shaped the final decades of Elizabeth’s reign.   We will look at how playwrights like Marlowe and Shakespeare and their contemporaries understood England in a global context; how they understood distance and culture as a function of geography.  Did representing others do more than justify xenophobia and nationalism?  How aware were the English that economic and cultural shifts to the West and the Atlantic were also resituating England toward a new concept of place and center? Were the playwrights actively involved in a project of centering England in an evolving sense of the growing world and a global community?  What did it mean to them to force their audiences to recognize things about themselves in others?  Did nostalgia for an earlier period of geographic isolation impact a notion of national identity that was unique to place? While most of the plays we will read are set to the East, most acknowledge the economic possibilities of the West.  We welcome students from other disciplines who can expand our understanding of the period and other geographies.  Students with special interests in cartography, mercantilism, nascent capitalism, race and race theory, the encounter between Christianity and Islam, and/or travel literature are encouraged to design an oral presentation and/or final project that explores any of those areas.  Plays will include Peele’s The Battle of Alcazar, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great, The Jew of Malta and Massacre at Paris, Shakespeare’s Richard IIHamletThe Merchant of VeniceAntony and Cleopatra and The Tempest, Fletcher’s The Knight of Malta, Heywood’s Fair Maid of the West, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.  I am asking all students to make a 20 to 30 minute oral presentation; the presentation could be the germ for final research paper of at least 4000 words; however, I am open to students designing other ways to meet the requirements of the course. 

HIS 713: Medieval Europe Field Preparation

Prof. Hugh Thomas


Like any field of history, medieval history has seen many important works published in recent decades. Indeed, medievalists have made important contributions to many important types of history, including the study of gender and of the body. This class involves reading a number of important secondary works in medieval history. On a practical level, it is designed to help students prepare for comprehensive exams. On a more general level, its purpose is to expose students to various approaches to medieval history and to some important issues in the field. Participation in discussion will be key to success in this course. In addition, students will write 3 reviews of individual books and a historiographic essay on a number of books of their choice.

HIS 763: Science, Magic, and Medicine in the Early Modern World

Prof. Mary Lindemann


The period 1490 to roughly 1730, generally termed the "early modern"era, was, as two highly respected historians of science have described it, "pregnant with expectations of things to come." This sense of anticipation and newness has famously been interpreted in two ways: as Max Weber's the "demythologizing of the world" and as the idea that the "Scientific Revolution" represented the "birth of the modern world" (Herbert Butterfield in 1949). Both argued that the decline of superstition and magic resulted from the impact of the "Scientific Revolution" of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. More recently, however, and certainly since the last third of the twentieth century, scholars have raised numerous objections to the idea of a significant break in how people viewed and interpreted the world about them. Much of this work is reflected in the books and articles that we will be reading this semester.  Steven Shapin, for example, argued provocatively that "there is no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it."  Others have doubted every word in the phrase "The Scientific Revolution" including the definite article. The general thrust of recent scholarship, therefore, has been to downplay, or even deny, the suddenness of the break between a "medieval" and a "modern" worldview, to question the putative differences between science and magic, to expand the idea of where and how science was "done" (that is, the "sites" of science) and to consider the importance of all sorts of actors once ignored by historians of science: women, merchants, artisans, and "magicians" (including alchemists). This course begins with an examination of the more traditional views of the Scientific Revolution before moving on to examine the ways in which the history of science has been transformed over the past thirty years or so. Indeed, this transformation has rendered the history of science absolutely critical to all early modern scholars. Historians of the modern world can do quite nicely without ever reading a work on the history of science; that is now impossible for any well-educated early modernist.

MLL 621/FRE 611/SPA 611: Comparative Medieval Studies

Prof. Susanna Allés-Torrent


POR 322/691 and LAS 520/620 Q: Colonialism, Post-Colonialism, and Decolonization in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Prof. Tracy Devine Guzmán


 Tuesdays & Thursdays

This seminar examines the intellectual, religious, and military workings of Portuguese colonialism and the cultural and political inheritances of the Portuguese Empire in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Working with primary texts, historiography, and a range of cultural products (fiction, film, music, and photography), students will consider key similarities and differences among colonial encounters and their legacies over nearly six centuries, beginning with the Portuguese arrival to the Malabar Coast in the late 1400s and ending in 1999 with the transference of the sovereignty of Macau to the People’s Republic of China. Along the way, we will examine historical and present Portuguese influences in Angola, Brazil, East Timor, India, and Mozambique. The final segment of the seminar highlights twentieth century “post-colonial” debates and present-day “decolonial” movements among the indigenous peoples of these countries.

This course is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students with the ability to read and understand Portuguese. Students wishing to complete the course for the Portuguese minor or to fulfill a language requirement should register for the POR sections and will complete their assignments in Portuguese. Others are welcomed to register for the LAS sections and to complete their work in English.