Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Center for the Study of the Early Modern World

Early Modern World Graduate Colloquium

The colloquium is a forum for all graduate students at Brown who profess an interest in the early modern period (broadly defined as 1400–1800) to meet and exchange ideas on topics of mutual interest in a convivial setting with many different disciplinary and language backgrounds represented.

The group meets in person over snacks and drinks, and the purpose of individual meetings is decided by the group. In the past, meetings have been convened to discuss student work-in-progress, from conference presentations to scholarly articles, as well as the work of faculty and visiting speakers to the center, with papers often circulated in advance. The center’s graduate student representative serves as the group’s main coordinator.

To receive announcements about the colloquium and for questions, please email the current graduate student representatives, Matt Ballance (Anthropology) and Ben Driver (Classics).


  • Thursday, Feb. 8, 12:30 PM, Pembroke Hall, 206.

"An introduction to the Newberry, with Q&A". Meet Lia Markey, director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library.

Past Colloquia

Coordinators: Matthew Ballance and Benjamin Driver 

  • Wednesday, March 22, 3:30-4:30 PM, Pembroke Hall 305: organizational meeting.
  • Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 PMsocial gathering following the lecture by Syrithe Pugh.

Coordinators: Emily Hirsch and Isabel Fariás Velasco

  • April 12: Elizabeth Nielsen (History) will be workshopping a draft of her dissertation prospectus tentatively titled "Motion in the Ocean: Mobility and Medicine on Seventeenth-Century Oceanic Voyages."
  • March 8: Isabel Farías Velasco (Comparative Literature), conference paper discussion.This talk focused on the dynamics of translation in a trilingual dictionary, known as the Vocabulario Trilingüe, from mid-sixteenth century New Spain (Mexico). This text is a pirated copy of Antonio Elio de Nebrija's 1519 Castilian to Latin Dictionary, on which a Nahua scholar added glosses in the Indigenous language. The text, therefore, offers an opportunity to explore methods of self-translation and of decoding from the Nahua point of view in the early stages of the conquest of Mexico.
  • February 15: Emily Hirsch, readings on the language of "mixture" in the early modern world. The question of how to identify, determine, and label "mixture" recurs in the study of the early modern world across disciplines. The two readings for this colloquium meeting: Homi Bhabha's "Signs Taken for Wonders" in The Location of Culture (1996) and Carolyn Dean and Dana Liebsohn's" Hybridity and its Discontents" (2003) take different approaches to the use of "hybridity" as a descriptor in colonial contexts of the early modern period.