Early Modern Studies Concentration

The Early Modern Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the Department of History.  

The Early Modern Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures (Romance Studies, Spanish and French). Graduate students will continue to be housed in any one of the three departments and must fulfill the requirements of their discipline.  To qualify for the Concentration, students must successfully complete a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in one or both of the other two departments, substituting for courses within their department; and a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in early modern studies within their department. For a full description of the concentration, consult the guidelines on the Center for the Humanities website.


Why an Early Modern Studies Concentration?

The University of Miami’s strength in early modern, transatlantic, and Caribbean studies translates into dynamic learning experiences for our graduate students. In conceptualizing the early modern period in both interdisciplinary and transnational terms, this concentration will better prepare our graduate students as scholars and teachers. As an example, students interested in the early modern English world can take advantage of classes that focus on literature as well as the histories of political and religious thought both in England and its colonies. Likewise, with our faculty’s wide-ranging coverage of the Spanish world, students can draw on literary analyses of the Golden Age as well as histories of Spanish-indigenous encounters, the Spanish colonial system in Latin America, and the Inquisition. The same can be said for students with interests in French colonial systems, given our faculty’s collective strengths in the French Caribbean. With the Early Modern Studies Concentration, students will:

  • gain transcultural and interdisciplinary knowledge for stronger intellectual coherence within their program of study;
    • enroll in courses with various faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences and interact with graduate students in other departments; 
    • apply their coursework in selected courses to their language requirements within their home department;
    • gain the competency to design and teach interdisciplinary courses or comparative courses in one or more disciplines once graduated;
    • be more competitive on the academic job market and in government and international positions. 

Support for Early Modern Studies at the University of Miami

The Department of English enjoys considerable strength in the study of literature and culture of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Scholars who teach and write about this period of English literary history are engaged in exciting and innovative work, particularly in the following areas: Women’s Writing, Gender Studies, and Sexuality; Race, Religion, Ethnicity, and the Transnational; Popular Culture and Cultural Studies; Genre Studies.  The department’s strengths in Caribbean, colonial, and trans-Atlantic studies further complement the courses and research by faculty in the early modern period, fostering a rich climate for the study of early modern European literature and culture in a truly transnational context.

The Department of History has strong representation in the early modern era, with faculty working on colonial Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America as well as England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. As this listing suggests, we conceptualize the early modern world broadly, employing transnational approaches to the study of this era. The  Department of History, moreover, has particular complementary concentrations in cultural, political, and religious history.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures hosts a biannual Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque symposium that invites distinguished faculty as keynote speakers, and attracts from sixty to eighty participants from across the United States and other countries. Several publications have resulted from papers read at the meetings. Its faculty teaches courses in Renaissance and Baroque Spanish and Colonial Studies as well as seventeenthth and eighteenth century French. 

The Center for the Humanities sponsors a thriving interdisciplinary Medieval and Early Modern Studies Research Group.  Participants and presenters come from universities across south Florida, the group meets monthly during the academic year to discuss pre-circulated work-in-progress over lunch.  The group provides an excellent forum for graduate students to participate in the vibrant intellectual community of early modernists in Miami and workshop dissertation chapters and conference papers. The current convener (AY 2019-2020) is Professor Karl Gunther (k.gunther@miami.edu).

The University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum is in possession of a permanent collection with impressive strengths in Renaissance and Baroque paintings, housed in its Kress Gallery, by artists including Lippo Vanni, Guidoccio Cozzarelli, Bernardino Fungai, Battista Dossi, Sofonisba Anguissola, Jacob Jordaens, Nicolaes van Galen, El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera, Thomas Gainsborough, Leonardo Carlo Coccorante, and numerous others. 

Graduate students who have completed at least two courses in early modern studies may submit an essay for the yearly $500 Essay Award in Early Modern Studies.

Library Resources

The Special Collections at the University of Miami’s Richter Library has particular strengths in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish literature and drama; seventeenth-century British political and constitutional history and in eighteenth-century Caribbean cultural and political history. Access to important electronic resources is available through the University of Miami Library website.  Resources include Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), the Brown Women Writers Project, Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers 1500-1700; Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance; the Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts; the Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation; Early American Imprints (Series I, Evans); and the Chadwyck-Healey Individual Literature Collections. The Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Kirsch Rare Book Room at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Campus preserves 3,000 books dating from 1496 to 1900, including the first German textbook on ophthalmology written in 1583, a rare second edition published 100 years later, and a 1613 book on depth perception with drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, as well as books on optics by Johann Kepler (1611), René Descartes (1664), and Sir Isaac Newton (1704).

The Cuban Theater Digital Archive (CTDA) includes materials digitized and filmed in Cuba and outside the island as well as resources and information related to Cuban theater, with a special focus on theater produced by Cuban communities in the United States. Plays staged by Cuban theater repertoires and archived play scripts include those by early modern playwrights such as Calderón de la Barca, Carlo Goldoni, Lope de Vega, Molière, and Shakespeare.

Early Modern Graduate Courses

Students in the early modern concentration may chose from a variety of courses offered each semester. Interested students should consult the course catalog or visit the Concentration’s page on the Center for Humanities.