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. 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.

The call for proposals for the 2021-2022 Premodern Studies Seminar is now OPEN. Proposals will be accepted until June 4, 2021. The theme of the 2021-2022 seminars is “Premodern Migration, Diaspora, and Exchange.” Our aim is to examine the experience, understanding, and consequences of migration before 1800. How and why did ancient, medieval, and early modern people cross the borders that define individual and collective identity? In what ways did the exchanges and interactions caused by the movement of different peoples (either voluntary or forced) shape political, social, scientific, economic, and linguistic developments across the globe? How did a global traffic in ideas and objects influence national literary and cultural traditions? Moreover, how might the study of premodern migration help us to confront the persistent legacies of settler colonialism, racism, and imperialism today?

We welcome submissions on these questions from all fields of premodern studies. Global approaches are particularly welcome, and we invite work that is at once archival and theoretical. Papers will be pre-circulated, so that the majority of the seminar session will be devoted to discussion. Due to the continued uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, all 2021-2022 seminar meetings will take place virtually.

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.

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

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

Past Premodern Studies Seminars

Upcoming Events

Friday, February 19, 2021
Thank you for your interest. This seminar is now full. “Everyday Apocalypse: Middle English Literature and Climate Catastrophe,”Shannon Gayk, Indiana University
Friday, March 26, 2021
Thank you for your interest. This event has been postponed. “Epidemics and Epistemologies: Experiencing Illness in Colonial Yucatán,”Ryan Kashanipour, University of Arizona
Friday, June 4, 2021
“Quarantine in the Prague Ghetto: Plague and Public Health between Jews and Christians in an Early Modern City” Joshua Teplitsky, Stony Brook University