Space and Society in the Past:
Landscape, Power, and Identity in the Early Modern Atlantic World
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute
Pennsylvania State University
July 1 – August 2, 2002
This five-week institute is designed to offer an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of Atlantic history in the early modern period (circa 1550 to 1800). Drawing primarily on the insights of geography, history, and literary and cultural studies, the institute will investigate the formation of new understandings of spatial community essential both to the nation-state and to the mercantile networks that imparted coherence to the Atlantic world as a whole.
We will pursue the following course: (1) draw explicit connections between the recent work of theorists of space and the early modern past; (2) link changes in property law to historical, artistic, and literary representations of land; (3) use the category of landscape to understand the ideological, territorial, and subjective making of new Atlantic polities, their foreign enemies, and their colonial possessions; (4) establish the effects of new technologies, such as systems of surveying, on ideologies of land use and settlement; and (5) examine changing understandings of the nation as a distinctive landscape.
The institute runs from July 1 to August 2, 2002, with each one-week session being led by the co-directors and two visiting faculty. Full-time teachers at two- or four-year colleges or universities in the United States are invited to apply; representatives of all disciplines in the humanities are welcome.
The institute will have as its primary activity the reading of documents and secondary works. Each week a set of texts will furnish the framework for faculty presentations and seminar discussions. Sessions often will focus on a particular microhistorical context, such as the west African coast of Olaudah Equiano’s slave narrative, while recent work such as John Thornton’s Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World will help participants to place this local history in a broader Atlantic perspective. In addition, we will consider important concepts for the study of the Atlantic world in relation to a range of specific texts; one week’s reading might turn from the general nature and political uses of landscape to the significance of estate maps or pastoral poetry for early modern conceptions of property.
Penn State's main campus is located in central Pennsylvania and in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region. Central Pennsylvania is renowned for its natural beauty, and State College is a thriving college town with an array of restaurants, coffee shops and other venues for entertainment. There are numerous cultural opportunities both off campus and on, such as the Pennsylvania Center Stage, the Palmer Museum of Art, Music at Penn's Woods, and the Central Pennsylvania Festival for the Arts, a week-long event that coincides with our Institute and that features poetry readings, special film offerings, musical events and a nationally known arts and crafts fair.
Institute participants will have full access to the Pattee and Paterno libraries at University Park. Overall, the Penn State libraries hold 4.2 million volumes, add nearly 150,000 volumes annually, and have a fully computerized on-line catalogue system that routinely handles in excess of 5 million transactions each month.
Deadline for applications is March 1, 2002. For more information and in order to apply, please contact Professor Dan Beaver, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dept. of History, Weaver Bldg., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.
Daniel Beaver, History, Pennsylvania State University; author of Parish Communities and Religious Conflict in the Vale of Gloucester, 1590-1690 (1998)
Garrett Sullivan, English, Pennsylvania State University; author of The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property, and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage (1998)
Michael Adas, History, Rutgers University; author of Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (1989)
Michael Braddick, History, University of Sheffield; author of State Formation in Early Modern England, c. 1550-1700 (2000)
Michael Craton, History, University of Waterloo; author of Empire, Enslavement, and Freedom in the Caribbean (1997)
Andrew McRae, English, University of Exeter; author of God Speed the Plough: the Representation of Agrarian England, 1500-1660 (1996)
Chandra Mukerji, Communication and Sociology, University of California, San Diego; author of Territorial Ambitions and the Gardens of Versailles (1997)
Lena Cowen Orlin, English, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; author of Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England (1994)
Matthew Restall, History, Pennsylvania State University; author of Maya Conquistador (1998)
John Thornton, History, Millersville University; author of Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 (1998)
Nigel Thrift, Geography, University of Bristol; author of Spatial Formations (Theory, Culture and Society (1996)
Patricia Seed, History, Rice University; author of Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640 (1995)
Penn State University
Department of English
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