Interdisciplinary Communities of Engagement: The Group for Early Modern Studies

Meg Lota Brown, Professor of English & Director of the Graduate College

The Confluencenter grant funded a successful year-long speaker series of internationally distinguished early modern scholars from a range of multidisciplinary fields. Specialists from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA attracted a diverse and intellectually engaged audience of graduate and undergraduate students, staff, faculty, and members of the larger community-from Sierra Vista and Marana to Nogales and Tucson. The speaker series enriched the impact and visibility of the UA Group for Early Modern Studies (GEMS).

In the 2012 fall semester, Professor Sanjay Subrahmanyam gave a very well attended presentation on intersections of early modern empires in India and France. His interdisciplinary lecture drew on research in languages, art, political science, cartography, military history, literature, and Renaissance commerce. Professor Subrahmanyam is one of the world's preeminent scholars of early modem South Asian and Indian Ocean history. He holds the Endowed Chair in Pre-Modern Indian History and Culture at UCLA, before which he had an endowed professorship at the University of Oxford.

Dr. Alina Payne, Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, also spoke during the 2012 fall semester on Turkish and Italian architecture – which drew on travel narratives, art history, political science, Mediterranean geography, early modem education, and theories of creativity. Over 100 people attended her presentation at the UA Library's Special collections. She is a practicing architect and one of the leading scholars of early modern design.

In the spring semester, the speaker series was enriched by a visit from Dr. David Ruderman, Endowed Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Arguably the most influential and celebrated scholar of early modem Judaism in the world, Professor Ruderman was generous with his time and expertise throughout the visit; students, in particular, appreciated the informal opportunities they had to interact with him and share his engagement with languages, the history of science, early modem magic and philosophy, comparative religions, cultural studies, and social justice.

Another very successful event in the Confluencenter speaker series was a graduate student research panel in spring 2013. Five graduate students from SBS and COH presented their interdisciplinary research to a lively audience of faculty, community members, and students. The opportunity for the presenters' professional development was invaluable.

Last updated on March 15, 2017.