Early Modernity in Global Perspective | Newberry

Early Modernity in Global Perspective

Tarih-i Hind-i garbi, Old World, 1600. Newberry Ayer MS 612, map 3.

Tarih-i Hind-i garbi, Old World, 1600. Newberry Ayer MS 612, map 3.

Tarih-i Hind-i garbi, New World, 1600. Newberry Ayer MS 612, map 2.

Research Methods Workshop for Early-Career Graduate Students
Friday, February 14, 2014

9 am - 5 pm

Room 101

Directed by Ellen McClure and Laura Hostetler, both of University of Illinois at Chicago
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Renaissance Graduate Programs

Although the term “early modern” first came to be used in the context of European history, scholars working in other world regions have increasingly come to use the term to describe processes taking place in other parts of the world, from roughly 1350-1800, related to those also playing out in Europe during the same time frame. These processes include imperial expansion, the global integration of space, population growth, migration, and resultant cultural and commercial exchange. This day-long interdisciplinary workshop will introduce participants to debates on the concept of “early modernity” as a global category of periodization and analysis, exploring both its usefulness and its limitations, as well as methodological approaches of scholars who have drawn on the term to emphasize the global interconnectedness of the early modern period.

In addition to broadly framing the issues raised when viewing early modernity in global perspective, the leaders of the workshop will present specific examples of parallel processes unfolding in China and Europe during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, including:

  • the contemporary surveys of both China and France with the resulting production of scaled maps
  • a fascination in China and various parts of Europe with the curious, which fed into cultures of collecting and connoisseurship
  • the emergence of evidence based knowledge
  • the importance of print culture

All of these point to a changing relation between knowledge and power as well as the increasing centrality of human endeavor.

During the afternoon “show and tell” session, participants will have the opportunity to consult a number of works from the Newberry’s rich holdings from the early modern period that bear witness to the aspects of early modernity explored in the presentations.

See the directors’ web pages:

Laura Hostetler, University of Illinois at Chicago and Ellen McClure, University of Illinois at Chicago


8:30: Coffee

9 - 9:45: Overview and introductions

9:45 - 10: Break

10 - 11:15: Input and discussion on:

  • Curiosity and collecting
  • Print culture and evidence-based research

11:15 - 12: Obtain Newberry reader cards; library tour and orientation

12 - 1:30: Lunch break

1:30 - 3: Input and discussion on:

  • Early modern mapping
  • Tribute and diplomacy

3 - 3:15 Break

3:15 - 4:15: Session with Newberry rare books

4:15 - 5: Workshop session 3 and concluding discussion
(note that the building closes at 5 on Fridays)

We encourage participants to plan to return to the Newberry the following Saturday morning, or arrive a day early (or both!) to explore Newberry materials on their own in the Reading Rooms (open 9 am - 5 pm Thursdays and Fridays and 9 am - 1 pm on Saturdays).

Eligibility: Graduate students in a terminal master’s program and those who have not yet completed comprehensive exams in a PhD program in a range of disciplines are encouraged to apply. Enrollment is limited. Students from Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies consortium member institutions have priority, in accordance with the consortium agreement, and fees are waived for them.

Prerequisites: No language prerequisites.

Travel funding: 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 

The application deadline has passed.