The Early Modern Colloquium

A Graduate Student-Run Interest Group at the University of Michigan



Annual Conference

Early Modern Conversions Project

Events Around Campus
Past EMC Events
Past Events 1999-2012


Calendar of Events, 2016-17:


THURSDAY, MARCH 9th, FRIDAY, MARCH 10th and SATURDAY, MARCH 11th: The EMC invites you to attend its two-day annual conference, "Body Language, Bawdy Talk: Sex and Form in Medieval and Early Modern Culture," with keynotes by Jeffrey Masten (Northwestern University) and Zrinka Stahuljak (UCLA). For the schedule of events, see the Annual Conference page.


FRIDAY, February 10th, 2pm: The EMC invites you to workshop a dissertation chapter with Sheila Coursey at 2pm in 3241 Angell Hall. For any questions, email Elizabeth Mathie at


THURSDAY, DEC. 1st, 4pm: At 4pm in room 3154 Angell Hall, please join us for a book proposal and book chapter workshop with visiting faculty Angela Heetderks. More details to come! For any questions, email Elizabeth Mathie at

FRIDAY, DEC. 9th, 2pm: Join us at 2pm in room 3241 Angell Hall for a dissertation chapter workshop with Maia Farrar-Wellman. More details about the pre-circulated draft to come! For any questions, email Elizabeth Mathie at


FRIDAY, NOV. 18th, 12pm: The EMC invites you to attend a panel and roundtable discussion on the writing process with Professors Peggy McCracken, Cathy Sanok, Mike Schoenfeldt, Terri Tinkle, and Valerie Traub. For any questions, contact Charisse Willis at


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12th, 4pm: At this reading group event, the EMC invites you to join us in a discussion of a recent issue of Shakespeare Quarterly focused on rereading early modern race (vol. 67, no. 1). One of the contributors to the volume, our own Kyle Grady, will facilitate the conversation. The conversation will begin at 4pm in the Osterman Common Room at the Institute for the Humanities (202 S. Thayer St.). A late lunch will be served. For any questions, email Kyle Grady at

Calendar of Events, 2015-16:


TUESDAY, APRIL 12th: Join us for a dissertation chapter workshop with Kyle Grady at 3pm in 3184 Angell Hall. Kyle's chapter is titled "Skin Folk and Kin Folk: Afterlives of Alcazar" and engages with George Peele's The Battle of Alcazar and scholarship on the text in order to assess the tension between what appears to be the text's intolerance and its concurrent tolerance, focusing especially on the criteria according to which scholars maintain the primacy of one or the other.


THURSDAY, MARCH 17th.The EMC invites you to attend a lecture by Reid Barbour, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Barbour will also hold a workshop with graduate students on the morning of Friday, March 18th. Specific times and locations tbd.

FRIDAY, MARCH 11th and SATURDAY, MARCH 12th: The EMC invites you to attend its two-day annual conference. This year's theme is "Performance and Materiality in Medieval and Early Modern Culture." Keynote addresses will be given by Andrew Sofer (Boston College) and Jill Stevenson (Marymount Manhattan College).

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9th: At 3pm in 3241 Angell Hall, we invite you to workshop a work-in-progress entitled "Towards a Poetics of the Secular in Middle English Literature" with Professor Cathy Sanok. This draft is a very early attempt to read Middle English poetry for what it might tell us about the medieval experience of secular time. Focusing especially on lyric poems, it analyzes the way that poetic form puts different kinds of time in relation to one another and then seeks to understand how this might serve to articulate the secular "present."


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8th: Join us at 3pm in 3241 Angell Hall for a dissertation chapter workshop with John Paul Hampstead. The Stuart Dynasty perpetuated a cult of Israelite kingship meant to justify their claims to divine right and absolutism. John Paul's chapter, "'I sing the Man who Judahs Scepter bore': Hebraists, Royalists, and Cowley's Davideis," reconsiders royalist Abraham Cowley's epic Davideis (1565), which has been read as part of this house style, by taking seriously Cowley's use of genuine Hebraic learning. It positions Cowley's epic at the intersection of royalist discourse and Judaic studies to show how what 17th century scholars were discovering about ancient Israel confirmed and complicated their ideas about Stuart rule.


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8th: The EMC invites you to workshop a dissertation chapter by Amrita Dhar. The chapter comes for her dissertation, "Writing Sight and Blindness in Early Modern England," which scrutinizes a generically diverse range of canonical texts and primary materials to understand how language registers visual acuity and lack. Informed by disability theory, this work on the rhetorics of vision and its want in England from 1564 to 1674 exists within a growing intersection between early modern studeis and disability studies. The chapter discusses blindness and its relation to language in the work of John Milton.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23rd and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24th. On Friday the 23rd, the EMC invites you to attend a roundtable with Dr. Paul Dingman, project manager for EMMO (Early Modern Manscripts Online) at the Folger Library. The following Saturday, Dr. Dingman and the EMC invite you take part in an all-day transcribathon! Anyone interested is encouraged to drop in for as short or as long as desired and help transcribe early modern manuscripts! More details to come!

Calendar of Events, 2014-15:


MONDAY, APRIL 13th. The EMC invites you to workshop a dissertation chapter by Cordelia Zukerman, "Faustus, Malvolio, and Failures of Reading." Cordelia's dissertation project asks how English attitudes about the relationship between reading and social identity developed over the course of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This period witnessed the rapid expansion of the print marketplace, whose forces challenged traditional assumptions about who could access reading material, how they could engage with it, and how they could influence others. Cordelia argues that as writers sought to make sense of a changing system, the process of reading became a site for their exploration of social change. In this chapter, she analyzes early modern metaphors describing reading in order to elucidate the ways in which reading was understood to influence the body's place in the social world. She then examines two fictional depictions of readers, in Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" and William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," analyzing how their failures of reading are scripted within the context of their social aspirations. She argues that analyzing their stories can reveal a new way of thinking about the social dynamics of textual production, circulation, and reception—a way of thinking based on new kinds of hierarchical difference in which boundaries of status and rank are remade as boundaries of intellectual ability and reading capacity. The workshop will take place at 3:00pm in 3241 Angell Hall.

Cordelia Zukerman is a graduate student in the department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25th. The EMC invites you to workshop a dissertation chapter by Cassie Muira, "John Donne's Voluptuous Laughter: From Skepticism to Holy Joy," at 4:00pm in 3241 Angell Hall. This chapter contributes to work on the cultural history of the emotions by considering the role of laughter in the poetry and prose of John Donne. Although Cassie's approach to laughter prioritizes affect before genre, she argues that Donne employs formal categories like paradox and satire in order to develop a skeptical attitude that transforms doubt into an occasion for introspection, artistic expression, and intellectual play. In both his erotic and his religious poetry, this skeptical laughter moves Donne to celebrate the immediate experiences of the material body while brazenly conflating sensual pleasures with spiritual ones. In later sermons, Donne attempts to reconcile the melancholy figure of Christ “who was never seen to laugh” with Biblical exhortations to rejoice. His surprising defense of laughter as an appropriate means of mitigating despair challenges more somber portrayals of post-reformation culture. Whether laughter accompanies the skepticism of early works like the Catalogus Librorum or declarations of holy joy as in the Sermons, its constant presence throughout Donne’s oeuvre enriches our understanding of early modern intellectual and devotional life.

Cassie Miura is a graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. This chapter is part of her larger dissertation project entitled "The Humor of Skepticism: Laughter in Early Modern Europe."


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20th and SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21st.The EMC invites you to attend its two-day conference, "Mediating the Sacred and Secular in the Medieval and Early Modern Period." The keynote speakers for this event will be Professor Sara Poor (German, Princeton University) and Professor Nancy Warren (English, Texas A&M).

Registration is free but necessary, and starts at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in 3222 Angell Hall. For any questions, please contact Maia Farrar (, Rebecca Huffman ( or Charisse Willis (

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11th. The EMC invites you to workshop a book chapter by Professor Peggy McCracken entitled "Survival, Skin, and Sovereignty." In this chapter, Professor McCracken makes a claim for the biopolitical grounding of notions of human sovereignty as represented in a series of medieval narratives. She focuses on the use of animal skins, examining a set of medieval texts which represent the technology of human sovereignty in part through the slaughter and flaying of animals, but which also construct animals as actors that may resist the material and symbolic use of their skins in displays of human power. The workshop will take place at 4:00pm in 3222 Angell Hall.

Peggy McCracken in the Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor of French, Women's Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20th and FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21st. Dr. Peter Erickson, lecturer at Northwestern University will give a lecture entitled "The Significance of Shakespeare's Whiteness" on November 20th at 4:00pm in 3222 Angell Hall. The following Friday morning, at 9am in 3184 Angell Hall, Dr. Erickson will hold a workshop with graduate students of a work in progress entitled "Bending toward Justice: From Shakespeare's Black Mediterranean to August Wilson's Black Atlantic."


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th and FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 19th, 2014.A lecture and graduate student workshop with Professor Arthur Marotti. Professor marotti's lecture is entitlted "The Poetry Nobody Knows: Rare or Unique Verse in Early Modern English Manuscripts" and will be given on Thursday, September 18th, at 5:00 PM in Angell 3222. This lecture deals with a selection of (mostly anonymous) rare or unique poems found in surviving manuscript poetry collections of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in relation to the familial, collegial, and other coterie environments in which they were written. This includes verse composed by manuscript compilers, politically dangerous or obscene texts, and texts related to scandals and topical events of local interest. Among the examples chosen are a poem dealing with a case of mother-son incest and verse dealing with a cause célèbre in Oxford, the supposed providential revival of a hanged woman who was unjustly convicted of infanticide. Neglected texts such as these not only need to be acknowledged in literary history, but also studied for what they reveal about the social life of early modern literary texts.

The Q&A period after the lecture on Thursday will be followed by dinner in the English faculty lounge.

Professor Marotti will also conduct a paleography workshop for graduate students on Friday, September 19th, at 9:30 AM in Angell 3184. The materials for this session will be circulated at the workshop on Friday morning, but please RSVP to John Paul Hampstead ( or Cordelia Zukerman ( if you plan to attend so that we can provide plenty of bagels and coffee.

Calendar of Events, 2013-14:


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27th and FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28th. The EMC invites you to attend a lecture by David Wood, "Recovering Disability in Early Modern England" on February 27th at 4:30pm in 3222 Angell Hall. In this lecture, Professor Wood will examine the ways in which early modern disability studies offers a theoretical lens that can spur scholarly dialogue about human variation and early modern selfhood even as it motivates more politically invested classroom pedagogies. In promoting his recent, co-edited essay collection, Recovering Disability in Early Modern England, he will discuss some of the methodological challenges involved in pursuing early modern disability, the canonical possibilities such study reveals, and some of the ways he sees this nascent field developing.Professor Wood will also hold a workshop of a pre-circulated paper "Stigma, Identity, and Difference in Fletcher and Massinger's A Very Woman" with graduate students on February 28th at 9:30am in 3184 Angell Hall.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21st-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd, 2014. The EMC invites you to attend its two-day conference, "Representations of Race in the Early Modern Period." The keynote speakers for this event will be Professor Arthur Little (English, University of California-Los Angeles) and Professor Susan Parrish (English, University of Michigan).

This interdisciplinary conference will engage with the fruitful field of early modern critical race studies, examining the myriad ways in which racial ideologies were represented, deployed, and undermined in the period, and exploring the scholarly possibilities for discussing, theorizing, and historicizing race. Discourses of difference, seen through the art, literature, and historical records of the period, can be both strikingly familiar and entirely alien to a contemporary observer.  Scholars of geo-humoral theory, for example, have demonstrated that to many in the period, physical ethnic difference was, to some extent, a mutable feature, changeable in relation to one’s latitudinal deviation from a central Mediterranean.  Moreover, some early modern scholars contend that contemporary racist discourse was not yet available in the period, as a European notion of fixed and hierarchical racial categories was concomitantly undeveloped.  Despite these arguments, a number of scholars cogently demonstrate the racialized aspect of moral and aesthetic discourse, examining the European, and particularly Elizabethan, privileging of “fairness” and the pejorative moral rhetoric concerning darkness. Such arguments are often also supported by European involvement in the slave trade and Renaissance colonial practices. Another complicating component to the conversation is, as Ania Loomba writes in her introduction to Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism, that “in early modern Europe the bitterest conflicts between European Christians and others had to do with religion.” Thus, we can see how a number of issues including knowledge production, artistic representation, and the construction of identities--national, ethnic, sexual, and religious-- intersect with and are shaped by debates surrounding race.

For detailed information about the conference, please see the SCHEDULE. Please contact Eliza Mathie ( or Kyle Grady( with any questions pertaining to the conference.


THURSDAY, JANUARY 23th, 2014, 4:00pm, 3241 ANGELL HALL. Please join us to workshop "'Do you believe in fairies?': Thresholds of Performance in the Age of Elizabethan Theatrical Production" by Steven Mullaney. The essay grew out of a talk initially presented at the Forty-first Annual Meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America. Please contact Elizabeth Mathie ( if you would like to receive a copy of it.

Essay Description: Don't worry, "Do you believe in fairies?" is not about short people with wings (except for a brief walk-on by Tinker Bell) or A Midsummer Night's Dream. Delivered at SAA in 2013, the talk/emergent essay is my initial, very much in-progress effort to understand theatrical performance in terms of its dimensionality and not merely its semiology. With some help from Deleuze and Castells, I frame the inquiry in terms of the virtual and actual spaces of production, in an economic as well as a theatrical sense of production. The phenomenology of the audience, considered as (co)producer of "the play" as well as its consumer, interests me as much as (even more than) the semiotics of representation or mimesis. At the end, I take a look (with ears) at the fifth act of The Changeling.


THURSDAY, OCTOBER, 18th, 5:00pm, 3154 ANGELL HALL: The EMC invites you to attend a lecture by Ramie Targoff, professor of English and director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis University. The lecture will be entitled "Posthumous Love in Renaissance England." Professor Targoff is the recipient of numerous awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. Her past research focuses on topics such as the English poet John Donne and early modern devotional poetry's relation to the liturgical practice of common prayer. Her lecture will present work from her current book project, which explores early modern beliefs about why couples wanted to be buried together and whether they might reunite in heaven after their deaths. While poets like Petrarch and Dante depict lovers' heavenly reunions, post-Reformation English writers like William Shakespeare often reject the hope that dead lovers might meet again in heaven. Targoff's project traces religious discourse about what happened to erotic and spousal bonds after death, and how these beliefs produced certain formal possibilities in the poetry of early modern England. The following Friday morning (October 19th), Professor Targoff will hold a workshop with graduate students of a pre-circulated paper, "Limit Cases: Henry King and John Milton," at 9:30am in 3184 Angell Hall.

Calendar of Events, 2012-13:


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2012, 4-5:00pm, 3154 ANGELL HALL.The Graduate Interest Meeting will offer more information about the EMC and discuss the schedule for the 2012-13 academic year. We would love to see current members of the EMC as well as any individuals who might be interested in participating in the EMC at this meeting; we will continue to plan our schedule for the year - a schedule that we hope will appeal to the various and sundry interests of the current early modern studies community at the University of Michigan.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2012, 5-6:00pm, 3154 ANGELL HALL.The Faculty Social Hour will provide graduate student and faculty members of the EMC with an opportunity catch up with each other as the Fall 2012 Semester commences. Because members of the EMC inhabit a variety of departments at Michigan, this event will allow all of us to reconvene again.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7th, 2012, 4-5:00pm, 3222 ANGELL HALL. Jeffrey Masten, Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University, will deliver a public lecture, "Literosexuality: Queerer Book History through Early Modern Examples." Reflecting on how a queer analysis might better inform scholarship on the history of the book, the lecture will focus on the early modern erotics of historiated initials, commonplacing activities, and readerships--especially those of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8th, 2012, 10-11:30am, 3184 ANGELL HALL. This graduate student workshop will center around a pre-circulated paper, "Straightening Out Christopher Marlowe; Or, Marlowe's Vitality," by Jeffrey Masten, Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University. Please contact Cordelia Zukerman ( if you would like to receive a copy of the paper.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, 2012, 4:00pm, 3241 ANGELL HALL. Please join us for a dissertation workshop: "Fooling, Song, and Intelletual Disability in Twelfth Night" by Angela Heetderks (English, University of Michigan). This chapter will be pre-circulated before the workshop. Please contact Leila Watkins ( if you would like to receive a copy of it before the workshop.

Chapter Abstract: In this chapter, I examine three representations of fools in early modern English literature. I show how the work of artificial or vocational fools - who are contrasted with "natural" fools in early modern English texts is often construed as a counterfeit performance of natural fooling. In doing so, I consider both the feats of verbal wit and the renditions of popular song that characterize the vocational fool's performance. I argue that the fool is often depicted as intellectually disabled and that the fool's songs, in particular, are depicted as intellectually disabling - that is, deleterious to the singer and his audience alike. Part I of this chapter lays out these argumentsand closes with a short case studyof the question of counterfeiture in Feste's performace of fooling in act IV, scene ii of Twelfth Night. Part II widens this chapter's topical lens to look at the marginal position of singers in the broader Shakespearean corpus; it then returns to Twelfth Night to show how Feste uses song to blur early modern distinctions between natural and artificial fooling and to perform expressions of intellectual difference.


THURSDAY, JANUARY 17th, 2013, 4:00pm, 3222 ANGELL HALL. Please join us to workshop a book chapter: "Cross-gender Exchange, Civility, and the Foreign: a Ballet and a Barriers, 1605" by Melinda Gough. Gough is a professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Graduate Program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University. The chapter will be pre-circulated two weeks before the workshop. Please contact Leila Watkins ( if you would like to receive a copy of it.


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7th, 2013, 4:00pm, 3222 ANGELL HALL. David Cressy, the George III Professor of History and Humanities at The Ohio State University, will deliver a public lecture, "Trouble with Gypsies in Tudor and Stuart England."

Lecture Abstract:"Trouble with Gypsies" explores the social, cultural, legal and political response to Gypsies in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, and exposes the historical vectors of marginality, authority, and transgression.  It engages three levels of problem: first, historiography and scholarship, as literary, historical, folkloric, and activist scholars have grappled with sources plagued by inadequacies of evidence; second, the problem faced by early modern councilors, magistrates and parliamentarians as they sought to devise strategies for handling Gypsies and the so-called ‘counterfeit Egyptians’ who traveled with them;  and third, the problem of Gypsies themselves, who struggled to thrive in a shifting environment of suspicion, hostility and persecution. Grounded on the interdisciplinary literature on Gypsies in history, with passing reference to 'coney-catching' literature, this lecture introduces evidence from under-explored archives , including  depositions, indictments and commentary from Star Chamber and other courts. The evidence reveals splits and developments within early modern officialdom that shed indirect light on the itineraries, activities and survival strategies of early modern Gypsies. Questions for consideration include the robustness, porosity, and mutability of  of Gypsy identity; the labeling of Gypsies as idle, counterfeit, dissembling rogues; and the problem of retrieving a Gypsy history from non-Gypsy sources.

The Early Modern Colloquium would like to thank the University of Michigan Center for European Studies, Department of English, Department of History, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Institute for the Humanities, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program for genersouly helping to sponsor this event.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8th, 2013, TIME: Noon-2:00pm, LOCATION: 3241 ANGELL HALL.We are happy to invite graduate students to join a colloquium on "Importunate Petitioners," a chapter from David Cressy's current book project on Charles I. David Cressy is the George III Professor of History and Humanities at The Ohio State University. Please contact Sarah Linwick ( with questions, to request a copy of the chapter, or to confirm your attendance. We will attempt to provide lunch for everyone attends, so please confirm your attendance by February 4.

"Importunate Petitioners," explores attempts made by women and men of early modern England to engage with their king, Charles I. Charles I received countless petitions from sundry individuals and collectives during his reign. As Cressy writes, petitions "arrived through every avenue and agency, furthered by courtiers, officers and helpful contacts." This chapter surveys petitions from the "two hundred and ten volumes of appearances and 32,000 bundles of pleadings" processed by the Caroline Court of Requests. Although historians have heretofore neglected this extensive, uncalendared archive, Cressy's study demonstrates how these petitions speak to a nexus of personal and national concerns as well as elucidate "relationships between the crown and the subject, the powerful and lowly, insiders and outsiders, men and women" in early modern England. Further, in highlighting petitions submitted by a motley of groups and figures - the vice-chancellor of the university of Cambridge, an ambitious yet dubious mathematician, aggrieved mariners, exasperated lead miners, discontented parishioners, the famous Lady Eleanor Douglas, a prophetic soldier, a painter, and the remarkable the widow of a Bristol brewer, to name only a few - Cressy illuminates how this rich archive "invites close analysis of political, religious, cultural, epidemiological, urban and gendered contexts in the reign of Charles I."

The Early Modern Colloquium would like to thank the University of Michigan Center for European Studies, Department of English, Department of History, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Institute for the Humanities, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program for genersouly helping to sponsor this event.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15th-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16th, 2013, TIME: PLEASE SEE SCHEDULE, LOCATION: 3222 ANGELL HALL. Conference: "Violence in the Early Modern Period." The keynote speakers for this event will be Professor Melissa Sanchez (English, University of Pennsylvania) and Professor Mitchell Merback (History of Art, Johns Hopkins University). This conference will explore the instances, effects, and functions of violence throughout sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. How we understand violence effectively informs how we understand other far-reaching phenomena in the period--e.g., colonization; performances of ability, class, gender, race, and sex; public entertainment; religious reformation(s); social discipline; and urbanization. Recent scholarship has evinced a renewed interest particularly in the dynamics between violence and power, and this conference will focus on a variety of related questions. When and where did violence serve the interests of hegemonic power? When and where did it thwart the interests of hegemonic power? How did violence shape identities, collectives, cultures? By whom or what was violence practiced and endured? And at what cost?

Please contact John Paul Hampstead ( or Amrita Dhar ( with any questions. The Early Modern Colloquium would like to thank the Rackham Graduate School, the Department of English, the Department of History, and the Institute for the Humanities for generously sponsoring this event.


TUESDAY, MARCH 26th, 2013, 1:00pm, 3154 ANGELL HALL. Please join us to workshop "The Lack of Charity in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene," a book chapter by Doug Trevor. Trevor is an associate professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. He currently holds a position as a University of Michigan Faculty Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities. His current book project is entitled "Radical Charity and the Long Reformation: Literature, Belief, and Transgressive forms of Love in Early Modern England." The chapter will be pre-circulated two weeks before the workshop. Please contact Leila Watkins ( if you would like to receive a copy of it.


FRIDAY, APRIL 5th, 2013, 2:00pm, 3154 ANGELL HALL. Please join the Early Modern Colloquium for "Shakespeare and Disability Subjectivities," a panel discussion with David Mitchell and Tobin Siebers.

David Mitchell is the 2012 Freehling Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan, and associate professor in the College of Education at Temple University.  His background and interests in American Cultural Studies include: U.S. literary history, U.S. minority cultures, representations of people with disabilities in film, media, literature and art, documentary film art, and youth subculture movements. His publications include 3 books: The Body and Physical Difference (1997); Narrative Prosthesis (2000); Cultural Locations of Disability (2006)], dozens of journal and review articles, four award-winning documentary films: Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (1995); A World Without Bodies (2002); Self Preservation (2005); Disability Takes on the Arts(2006), and the five-volume Encyclopedia of Disability (2005).  David has also curated two international disability film festivals and an exhibition for the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum on disability history.  Currently, he is completing work on two new book-length manuscripts; the first, Ablenationalism and the Geo-Politics of Disability, analyses the developments of global disability culture under neoliberalism, and the second, The Capacities of Incapacity: Disability and the the Anti-Normative American Novel, examines shifts in liberal and neoliberal portrayals of people with disabilities in the wake of U.S. Civil Rights Movements.

Tobin Siebers is the V. L. Parrington Collegiate Professor at the Department of English, University of Michigan. His works focus on ethics, literary criticism of the cold-war era, aesthetics and the politics of identity, and disability studies. He has been a fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows and the John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation and a Visiting Scholar at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.  His major publications include The Mirror of Medusa (California 1983), The Romantic Fantastic (Cornell 1984), The Ethics of Criticism (Cornell 1988), Morals and Stories (Columbia 1992), Cold War Criticism and the Politics of Skepticism (Oxford 1993), The Subject and Other Subjects: On Ethical, Aesthetic, and Political Identity (Michigan 1998), Among Men (Nebraska 1999), Disability Theory (Michigan 2008),  Zerbrochene Schönheit (Transcript 2008) and Disability Aesthetics (Michigan, forthcoming 2010). He is also the editor of Religion and the Authority of the Past (Michigan 1993), Heterotopia: Postmodern Utopia and the Body Politic (Michigan 1994), and The Body Aesthetic: From Fine Art to Body Modification (Michigan 2000). His recent work on disability studies has been published in American Literary History, Cultural Critique, Literature and Medicine, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, Michigan Quarterly Review, PMLA, and the MLA volume on disability studies. He is currently at work on a consideration of Shakespeare within disability studies.

Please email Amrita Dhar at with any questions.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10th, 2013, 2:30pm, 3241 ANGELL HALL. (PLEASE NOTE: The location of this event has been changed from 3184 Angell Hall.) Please join the Early Modern Colloquium to workshop "Shakespeare's Sex," a book chapter by Valerie Traub. Valerie Traub is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. A pre-circulated copy of the chapter is available on the Early Modern Colloquium's Ctools site (under the Resources folder). Please contact Leila Watkins ( to be added to the site.

Chapter Abstract:This paper—the final chapter of my book, Making Sexual Knowledge: Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns (forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press)—uses the question of “Shakespeare’s sex” to explore the historicity of sexual knowledge.  Most Shakespeareans now agree that Shakespeare’s sonnets provide evidence of Shakespeare’s own sexual identity.   This lecture asks what this hard-won consensus entails for two questions:  the role of gender and feminism in criticism of the sonnets, and the role of sequence in the consideration of sexuality.  In light of Shakespeare’s “queer moment,” this chapter asks what these two questions might have to do with one another.  It seeks to demonstrate that the contingencies by which we come to “know” Shakespeare’s sexuality provide one avenue for ascertaining what it means to “know” sexuality, not only in the past, but in the present.


MONDAY, MAY 6th, 2013, 1:00pm, 3222 ANGELL HALL. The Department of English and Junior Faculty Forum will host a lecture, "The Future of Academic Publishing & Preparing Book Proposals," by Dr. Linda Bree, Cambridge University Press.

More information coming soon. Please check back in a week or two. Thank you!

For a listing of past EMC events, 1999-2012, please click here.

Events Around Campus:

Links to information about events around campus, including performances of early modern materials:

Institute for the Humanities - calendar of talks presented by the Institute.

University Productions - listing of the current season of drama, dance, opera and musical student performances.

University Musical Society - the UMS offers performances of various musical artists and groups.

University of Michigan Museum of Art - information about current and future exhibits at the museum.

Arts at the University of Michigan - university listing of art events.

Michigan Union Ticket Office - information on tickets for local events.

M-Live - offers a searchable database of events going on around Ann Arbor


The Early Modern Conversions Project:

The EMC is excited to draw your attention to the Early Modern Conversions Project, a cross-institutional five-year project focused on developing an historical understanding of conversion that will enlighten modern debates about corporeal, sexual, psychological, political, and spiritual kinds of transformation. As part of the conversions project, the University of Michigan will be holding a variety of events related to conversion. Events will also be held at participating institutions in Australia, Canada, and other parts of the U.S. You can find out more about the project and its events here:



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