Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies launches

History Article 5 - Rhinoceros by Edward Topsell from, “The History of the Four-footed Beasts and Serpents.”, 1604On the evening of Thursday 18 April over 40 members of the Arts and Humanities gathered for a roundtable discussion on the limits and opportunities of inter-disciplinary studies. Leading historian Professor Sir John Elliott headed the event, which marked the establishment of the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies (SCEMS).

The University of Sheffield’s new centre brings together over 30 academics specialising in the early modern period (1500-1800), one of the largest communities of early modernists in the world.

The centre’s combined expertise ranges from the late medieval to the late 18th century, from musicology to social history, and from Yorkshire parishes to American colonies; from literary editing and manuscripts, to news-books and novels, to material culture and social practice; from history and literature to linguistics and philosophy.

SCEMS also brings together scholars of the three ‘long’ centuries which make up the early modern period: the long 16th century, the long 17th century, and the long 18th century.

Professor Philip Withington from the University’s Department of History said: “Sheffield has long been a leader in early modern studies, publishing internationally recognised research and also pioneering digital humanities. SCEMS is a reflection of this great intellectual tradition and will facilitate even more collaborative and multi-disciplinary activity and research, bringing together leading scholars from history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, and music.

To mark the establishment of SCEMS we have invited a series of visiting speakers to give a public lecture one day and a masterclass on how and why they study the early modern period the next day.

Sir John Elliott, the eminent historian of Spanish and world history, was our first visitor. He led a roundtable discussion on the possibilities and pitfalls of interdisciplinary study before reflecting on a long and eventful life as an historian. Over the rest of the year he will be followed by literary historians, philosophers, historical anthropologists, and cultural and social historians.”

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